Sheep: Fine-tuning the breeding season essentials
With the breeding sales coming to a close for this year, the end of September marks the beginning of the breeding season for us.
We finish the breeding sales with the Mayo Blackface sale and the Bluefaced Leicester Premier sale, both in Ballinrobe. The cycle begins again and both ewes and rams are prepared for the mating season.
All ewes on the farm are plunge dipped and dosed for fluke and given a mineral drench pre-mating. I do this before the season begins as I don't like disturbing the flock during the breeding season.
The flock is split into manageable groups for rams. The number of ewes per ram and the type of ewe per ram varies depending on the age of the ram but also on the characteristics the ram has to suit the ewes.
For example, ewes with more white are let with darker coloured rams and darker ewes are let with brighter rams in order to produce a more consistent coloured Mule ewe lamb.
It might seem like a lot of work but it does make a difference when selecting lambs for sale.
The Pedigree Bluefaced Leicester ewes are the first to be prepared as these will lamb at the end of February. These ewes are ready for AI and will be served with either fresh or some frozen semen that was purchased.
The progesterone impregnated sponges are removed at 12 days after insertion and ewes receive 400 IU of PMSG.