While some farmers consistently achieve good results with hogget mating, for others it can turn into a disaster.
Poor scanning percentages, lambing difficulties, effects on future performance and longevity in the flock can be reasons why hogget mating is not for every farm or should be performed every season. However, hogget mating does have the potential to greatly improve your on farm productivity, with extra lambs on the ground. If you are considering hogget mating for the first time, or if you are wanting to improve your hogget mating performance, here is a list of some do’s and don’ts.
- Use hogget’s who are at least 60% of their mature weight. We previously recommended a minimum of 43 kg, but in reality you might even want to aim for 48 kg. We have some big ewes down south!
- Consider the use of teaser rams. It has been shown that teaser rams advance hogget’s first oestrus as well as increasing the number of hogget’s mated in the first 17 days.
- Use mature rams for your hogget’s, ram lambs can be too shy.
- Aim for a ram ratio around 1:50 for your hogget’s, especially if you have used a teaser.
- Feed, feed, feed! Not only do their lambs need to grow, but the hogget’s themselves still have a lot of growing to do. Make sure that there is enough good quality feed available throughout pregnancy and after lambing.
- Carefully select what ram breed you are putting across your hoggets.
- Ensure your vaccinations (Toxo, Campy, 5 in 1 and possibly Salvexin) are all up to date.
- Mate hoggets that aren’t up to target weights. Not only do they have a higher chance of being dry, if they do get in lamb they are likely to lamb later, have lambing difficulties, grow slower lambs or perform worse as a two tooth.
- Decide to do hogget mating if you can’t provide enough good quality feed for them.
- Let the hogget’s compete with the older ewes, mate them in a separate flock.
- Hesitate to ring the clinic if you have any questions. We are happy to help!
Happy hogget mating!
- Femke Bluemink