One of the keys to successful sheep breeding is ensuring your tup is in peak condition. To improve your chances of a successful breeding season, rams should be given an MOT 10 weeks before tupping.
This health check should include the “Three Ts”: teeth, testicles and toes.
Read our step-by-step guide on checking the Three T’s and watch the video below.
1. Open the ram’s mouth to see the teeth clearly and check for missing teeth.
2. The teeth should be touching the dental pad at the top.
3. Feel along the cheeks, for the molar teeth. There should be no spikey or missing teeth and no lumps along the jaw-line – this might be a sign of a tooth rot abscess.
The ram’s testicles need to be in good working order to maintain fertility.
1. With someone to help, turn the ram on to its back and feel its testicles.
2. The two testicles should look evenly matched in size. They should be firm but not hard.
3. The testicles should feel freely mobile within the scrotum. The scrotum skin should not be thickened or have any scabs – this could be a sign of mange.
4. At the bottom of each testicle you should feel a hard nobble, the epididymis – where sperm is stored. There should be no painful lumps at the top of the testicles.
1. Turn the sheep on to its back.
2. Check the area between the front legs. Foot problems can lead to brisket sores and the ram will be unlikely to serve ewes, as the area will be painful.
3. Look at each foot individually.
4. Check there are no interdigital growths or scald.
5. The cleats should be evenly matched in width and there should be no apparent swellings.
6. The horn should not be overgrown. If the ram has been lame there may be a long toe, which needs to be cut off.
This article is based on a video produced by Farmers Weekly with XL Vets. Watch the video below.