Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: Complete our 2-minute survey and tell us what information you need to help your business during COVID-19. Find assistance and support for coronavirus affected businesses and industries.

Maximising ram fertility through nutrition

The health and wellbeing of your rams will directly affect their fertility, so you must make sure they are well nourished (but not over-fed), and generally healthy.

Trimming horns, hooves and shearing are also important in keeping sheep healthy.

Nutrition and fertility of rams

Nutrition has a direct and dramatic effect on testicle size and sperm production. Improving nutritional intake of protein and energy during the 2-month period before joining can increase, and sometimes double, sperm production.

You should aim to have rams at a condition score of 3.5 at joining. Don't allow rams to become overweight, with a condition score of more than 4. Overweight rams tend to be less sexually active and are more prone to heat stress.

Vitamins and sperm production in rams

Vitamin A is important to sperm production, so you should ensure your rams have access to green feed. Rams deficient in vitamin A have soft testicles and produce poor quality sperm. Where rams have gone for 6 months or more without access to any green feed, supplements containing vitamin A may be needed (e.g. green hay or vitamin concentrate).

Mature sheep have sufficient stores of vitamin A to survive for 8-12 months without green feed and without showing signs of vitamin A deficiency.

Also consider...