Managing replacement rams

Replacing rams is an important part of any sheep breeding program. Rams are valuable, both in terms of their initial cost as well as their potential for genetic gain. One ram will pass his genes on to many offspring - they have a major impact on the genetic make-up of your flock.

Leaving rams in the paddock until they physically wear out is wasting genetic potential and costing you potential lambs. Once rams reach 6 years of age, their fertility, libido and serving capacity, can decline significantly. Older rams may also keep younger rams away from ewes.

Replacing rams regularly will keep your ram flock young, and physically and reproductively healthy. It will also maximise your rate of genetic gain.

Replacement rams should be delivered at least 8 weeks before they are required for joining (mating) to get over any stress-induced fertility problems related to handling, transport and relocation.

This guide describes how to manage replacement rams on your property.