Preparing a ram for mating

Tips & Tricks from Italy

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.

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