Ram Breeding Soundness Evaluation

By Julie Hansmire

(Campbell Hansmire Sheep)

On our range sheep operation, we didn’t always test our rams. One year, in the early 1980’s, we didn’t semen test and B. ovis testing was not commonplace. We started lambing 1 April, and in our 3,000 ewe flock, by May 1 we still had 800 ewes yet to lamb. June 1 there were still 300 droppers. Because of the wide variety of age classes, our herds were difficult to manage. We had increased predator loss, and it was difficult to move to the forest with such young lambs.

Now we conduct a BSE on all rams annually. We use 1 ram/60‐70 ewes (sometimes more) on fenced alfalfa pastures. We range lamb and are essentially done lambing is 20 days. Our docking % has averaged between 130 & 140%. We can manage our herds better and lambs are heavier. We COUNT ON EACH RAM. We use rams that have large scrotal circumferences and have excellent or satisfactory semen quality. We use the B.ovis ELISA test for new introductions (if not tested) and rams that show white blood cells in the semen. We have appreciated Dr. K’s candid ram advice.

For further information or to schedule your flock’s ram breeding soundness evaluations, contact Geri Parsons at (970) 231-2477 or by email at geri.parsons@OptimalAg.com.