Beginning 2 months before the mating season, keep an extra careful watch over your ram to ensure it’s calm and in good health. After regression of a normal CL, most ewes display estrus (~19 days after ram introduction). Ovulation rate is a polygenic trait showing marked breed difference; heritability estimates are moderate (0.3%–0.5%). Breeding is most successful in fall, when the length of the days decreases. During the normal ovulatory season and without synchronization, a ram to ewe ratio of 1:40 is usually sufficient, although if the rams are young, or the environment is rough, then the number of ewes per ram should be lowered. Factors affecting fertility after estrus induction include breed, season, lactation, nutritional status, and postpartum period, as well as the ewe's dry/suckling status, ram to ewe ratio, time of ram introduction, mating by natural or artificial insemination, and number of inseminations (one or two). You can purchase both hay grasses and legumes at a local feed store. Good hay choices include timothy, bermudagrass, bromegrass, Kentucky bluegrass, orchardgrass, and ryegrass. And what age should I breed them? Decreasing photoperiod after the summer solstice causes secretion of melatonin, which triggers the hypothalamus to produce gonadotropin-releasing hormone. Once you’ve succeeded in buying a ram, speak to the former owner again. However, it can vary from 14 to 19 days. Care should be taken to confirm the breeding date of the mare so that these 18-day unilateral... Overview of Mechanisms of Antimicrobial Resistance, © 2020 Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ, USA, Routes of Administration and Dosage Forms. When breeding out of season, ram fertility is usually lower, and if estrus is synchronized the ram to ewe ratio should be ~1:5 to 7. Although by selecting replacement animals born as twins or triplets will slowly increase prolificacy within a flock, using more maternal breeds is recommended because their offspring will also have desirable traits of better mothering and milk production. If the rams are housed under similar conditions, scrotal circumference and breeding capacity will increase. How do you know if a sheep is pregnant? Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. It’s perfectly normal to talk to the rams’ owners and ask a few questions regarding their breeding history. Try applying raddle paint to the bellies and chests of the rams with different colors so you know which ram mounted which ewe. wikiHow is where trusted research and expert knowledge come together. So, if you live in the U.S. or Canada, breed your sheep in either October or November. Regression of this CL results in estrus (~25 days after ram introduction). Estrous periods that occur in the autumn are longer and more intense, and maiden ewes have a shorter and less intense estrus than mature ewes. If the ram still has his horns, you must be very careful when interacting with the animal. From developing new therapies that treat and prevent disease to helping people in need, we are committed to improving health and well-being around the world. Estrus commonly is seen 1–3 days after progestagen removal, with a shorter interval during the autumn or with the use of CIDRs, or within 3 days of the second PGF2α injection. Ewes are seasonally polyestrous, cycling every 16–17 days during the breeding season. Research source. Ewes show no overt signs of estrus, and heat detection requires the presence of a ram, a teaser ram (made infertile by either vasectomy or epididymectomy), or a testosterone- or estrogen-treated wether. The progestagen used may be either natural progesterone delivered intravaginally in a controlled intravaginal drug-releasing device (CIDR), or melengestrol acetate (MGA) fed at 12-hr intervals at a dose of 0.125 mg/head. Please confirm that you are a health care professional. Most breeds of sheep are seasonal breeders i.e. (Also see Hormonal Control of Estrus.) In sheep, the length of the estrus cycle ranges from 13 to 19 days and averages 17 days. wikiHow's. Last Updated: March 28, 2019 The diet should be balanced for protein (not >14% crude protein) and have a good availability of energy. Due to the large number of sheep breeds, the average weight of ewes can widely vary. Find out if the ram’s father and grandfather have produced healthy offspring. This is also true if estrus is synchronized, in which case the ram to ewe ratio should be ~1:10 to 15. Ewes’ fertility is tied to the length of days, so the season in which you breed your ewes is important. There are four phases to the estrous cycle: proestrus, estrus, metestrus, and diestrus. Estrus and ovulation can be induced in anestrous ewes by the introduction of rams (ram effect) or by treatment with exogenous progestagen or equine chorionic gonadotropin (eCG), or through the effects of melatonin either by manipulating the photoperiod in housed sheep or through the use of exogenous melatonin in the feed or as an implant.