Edward Earle, Gorey, Co. Wexford, works as a quality engineer and farms over 300 ewes in partnership with his parents.
So, it is that time of year again on the farm when the rams go out with ewes for mating.
Over the years, one aspect we have concentrated on the farm is ram power when it comes to mating. The reason we have focused on this is to compact the lambing season better than in previous years.
Raddling rams is something we find very important from a management point.
We have decided to change the raddle colour every 7 days this year. Our colour path will be yellow-orange-green-red-blue.
Ideally, we will be targeting a high percentage to be covered in the first three colours. Raddling will allow us to better plan our winter feed management of the ewes, especially in late pregnancy.
So as part of the Sheep Welfare Scheme, one of the options we carry out is mineral supplementation of the ewes post-ram turnout.
Selenium and/or vitamin E deficiency
For the last three years, we have been using Turbo Thrive mineral drench.
We have seen a noticeable improvement in lamb scan rate, and high lamb vigour at birth.
The reason we started using Turbo Thrive was that a few years ago we had an issue with our lambs at the end of lambing season lacking in vigour when they were born.
There was just no go in them to get up and suck like normal. So, after consulting with our Teagasc advisor and vet, we took blood samples from ewes and found we had an issue with Selenium and Vitamin E.
As part of our flock management, ewes receive Turbo thrive now at mating and will receive another drench closer to lambing.