Preparing two-tooths for mating

How to make the most of your mating stock carrying your newest genetics.

Unless you are mating your hoggets, your two-tooths carry your newest genetics and you want to make the most of them. Here is a wee checklist for preparing them for mating to make sure they perform well:

  • Condition/weight. They need to be well-grown before they go to the ram. Your two-tooths should be fully grown by mating and weigh the same as your Body Condition Score (BCS) 3 M/A ewes. If they aren't there, it is important to put a plan in place now to achieve this.

  • Nutrition. Pasture can be reproductive by the time mating comes around. At this time, the nutrient value lowers, so be mindful of this and plan feeding for two-tooths so that they are on a rising plane of nutrition for best performance.

  • Parasites. Mating happens at a time where larval challenge can be very high. A Faecal Egg Count (FEC) to see what's happening in the two-tooths just before mating is useful. This is now part of the revamped OviGOLD programme.

  • Toxoplasmosis vaccinations. These need to be done at least 4 weeks before mating. Hopefully, you already have this planned and your vaccines ordered. Two-tooths require one vaccination into the muscle, with a natural booster by exposure to cat faeces for long term immunity.

  • Campylobacter vaccinations. These consist of 2 shots, 3-8 weeks apart, ideally completed 4 weeks before mating, with an annual booster for full, long term immunity.

  • Selenium levels. If these have not been tested on your farm within 12 months, a quick test is highly recommended. Low selenium levels can have massive impacts on farm productivity. A test can be done on 5 animals on a trailer brought to the clinic, if that's helpful to you.

  • Iodine levels. These are most important for lamb survival and lowest in animals that are on brassicas for more than 6 weeks. Long-acting supplements can be given before mating, or over the winter.

Animals that have been mated as hoggets MUST PERFORM AS TWO-TOOTHS! If you have any concerns about this, please get in touch so we can help you to come up with a plan to make sure this happens.


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