Factories must show more commitment on ewe numbers
We put the rams out with all the ewes on October 29 to pick up repeats after AI.
The good news is that not many ewes are raddled yet, maybe 5pc, but we will have to wait and see how many are raddled after the second cycle.
The day we inserted the sponges all the ewes were weighted and condition-scored. Ewes' body-condition score was 3.5 on average, but some ewes - particularly younger ewes that lambed for the first time last spring - had a lower body score. Our average ewe weight was down nearly 5kg from last year's 73kg. Again, the younger ewes were light, probably due to the difficult spring and summer just gone.
With good supplies of grass for ewes since mating, we should be able to increase weight and body condition score before housing. Ewes are in two groups, with the thinner ones on the best meal for now. Rams will be removed in early December.
When mating is finished the rams will get a complete health check and will get plenty to eat so they recover lost body weight.
I find ram-lambs need special attention after mating; a good dose for worms and some meal is money well spent.
Rams are expensive but a few simple steps can make sure they are around for next year's mating.
We are not putting any ewe-lambs to the ram this year. They are a bit behind in weight.