It's Time to get your Tups Tested!
It may seem a bit premature to be talking about the rams going in (not for the early lambers!), but it's not too early. Spermatogenesis takes 6 weeks, so any insult, be that lameness, sickness, fever, etc., can have a detrimental effect on sperm production. For this reason, we should be thinking about the health of our rams from now. Remember it takes a minimum two weeks for a sheep to put on a BCS (body condition score).
Testing the ram involves forcing ejaculation with an electric probe and then examining the ejaculate under the microscope. We assess generally for movement and more specifically for directional movement, to see if the swimmers are going in the right direction. Then we assess with a stain to see if they get there – whether they can fertilise the egg. It is extremely useful to identify rams that are potentially not working to their full potential, as this could lead to a drawn out lambing season and more barreners, thereby decreasing profit. It costs just £60 to test a tup, however the cost of empty ewes and an extended lambing season is far greater.
Phone the farm office on 01491 651479 if you would like to know more, or to arrange for one of our vets to carry out this testing.