Be a better breeder: Here are our four tips when for pre-joining ewes.
Here are four things you need to know for a successful joining and to give you healthy and productive sheep. As we like to stress – treat your flock like your crop.
1 – Maiden ewes need to be a minimum of 85% of the average flock weight of older existing ewes.
It is vital to get your ewes in good condition before joining, but did you know it’s even more important to get your maiden ewes in their best condition for their first joining? Whether your maiden ewes are in top condition or not in their first year will determine the quality of their breeding for the rest of their lives. Across your farm, you should be aiming to get your maiden ewes weight up to a minimum of 85% of the average weight of your flock before joining. This will help set them up for life. If the average weight of your flock is 100kg, the maiden ewes should be a minimum of 85kg at joining, or if the average weight is 65kg, the maiden ewes need to be at a minimum of 55kg. The reason this is important is that puberty is brought on by weight. Once the maidens have reached the required weight level, you will know that they are ready to breed and will be able to fall pregnant successfully.
2 – Get ewes into good body condition score (BCS)
Of course, the weight of all ewes is also essential when joining. For the best results, it’s vital to get your ewes into a body condition score of 2.8 to 3.0 at five weeks before joining. Then at the point of joining, ideally aim to achieve a BCS of 3.0-3.3. Having them at a score of 3 or above and gaining weight when going into joining is essential for their brain to tell them it’s a good time to breed.
3- Use B12 and Stay Dry Beta Breed
B12 is an essential vitamin that is used by every cell in the body and necessary for energy metabolism and the production of red blood cells. The problem is that B12 comes from cobalt, and a lot of South Australian areas are cobalt deficient. Therefore, we recommend that B12 should be given to animals at pre-joining and pre-lambing when they are in the yards.
From at least five weeks before joining in you want to ensure a positive energy balance (MJ intake) i.e. 20% above maintenance, but you also need to make sure they are getting essential nutrients. Bayers’ Stay Dry Beta Breed gives them the complete boost of essential trace minerals and vitamins to ensure quality breeding. It’s a fixed-dose product of 300g per head over the 6 weeks, so you know upfront what it will cost you to get improved results. Stay Dry Beta Breed is also important for your rams sperm production.
Key reasons for using Stay Dry Beta Breed include:
• Follicle development, ovulation and CL formation
• Embryo quality and sperm health
• Uterus lining health for successful embryo implantation
• Support production of hormones to maintain pregnancy
Beta breed is given out as a loose-lick in tubs as a fixed dose.
4 – Make sure the blokes are in good nick and not stressed.
It is also essential to check rams before they go in with ewes to ensure they are in working conditions. Check them 6 weeks out from joining, and again just before they go in with the ewes. At six weeks out, give them their annual booster, B12 – Colbalife, and also make sure to give them Stay Dry Beta Breed for sperm health (fixed rate at 300g/hd for the 6 weeks). Make sure they’re getting enough protein, ideally 500g/hd/day from a high protein source (e.g. lupin), and get the ram’s into a soundness examination (5 T’s).
Also, ensure you are not putting them under any stresses during the weeks leading up to joining, such as moving or shearing/crutching. If they need to be shorn, try to do it eight weeks before joining.
It is also important to slowly adjust the rams onto the same feed as the ewes at least two weeks before joining. If ewes are being fed grain, slowly adjust them onto the same feed so that they don’t go and gorge themselves and become sick.
For more information on Bayer’s Stay Dry Beta Breed and other products click here.
If you have any questions, give our staff a call. Have a chat with Ash about the new Bayer Grow loose lick products.