It is well known that the optimal preparation of the ram produces good fertility results.
Two-three months before the mating season the following steps should be adopted:
- veterinary check of the reproductive apparatus: testis, penis and with a trans rectal echography the urethral bulb glands;
- veterinary semen evaluation especially if you buy a new ram: let the ram mounts a ewe on heat and then collect the semen from the vagina with a speculum, dilute (1:1) with commercial semen media (Ovixcell) and evaluate it with a microscope;
- evaluation of ram’s libido: bring to the ram a female on heat and observe its sexual behavior, if the male comes close and mounts the female within a few minutes then the test is positive;
- evaluation of body condition score in order to modulate the ration;
- if feasible, ask the veterinary to take a sample of faeces to control parasite infestations;
- control of hoofs trim a few weeks before the mating period;
- isolation of males (8 weeks before mating period) from females in a separate pen, far from sight, hearing and smell.
Prerequisites for the success of this protocol are: specific areas for male isolation, technicians and veterinarians with sufficient expertise on male and semen evaluation. A limit of the protocol is the increase of costs due to the veterinarian assistance.