We are able to offer a range of sheep fertility and breeding services to help ensure maximum fertility in your flock and to ensure a compact lambing block to help keep your costs down and best manage you farm facilities such as clean lambing space and staff.
Services we offer:
• Pre-breeding advice on management of ewes and bespoke worming, fluking and trace mineral management plans.
• Infection disease screening of flocks.
• Tailored abortion, mastitis and joint ill vaccination plans.
• Pre-breeding fertility assessment of tups.
• Tup vasectomies.
• Advice on the best use of treatments to create a tight lambing block.
• Pre-lambing assessment of ewes.
• Laparoscopic artificial insemination using fresh or frozen semen.
Achieving optimum conception rates and ideal colostrum/milk quality at lambing requires careful management of ewe condition throughout the summer months and through weaning. There are numerous factors that can influence this – please speak to ones of the vets about creating a bespoke farm gut worm and liver fluke control plan. It may also be advisable to ascertain the trace mineral status of you flock/ground – this is best done by collection blood samples in the late summer/early autumn. No farm of system is the same so please call to discuss how this should be done.
Infectious disease screening
We offer a comprehensive infection disease screening service – usually through taking blood samples for antibodies. Working in partnership with Axiom Veterinary Laboratories or the SAC we can tell you the most cost effective way to do this. Certain subsidised schemes are also available for screening barren ewes etc – we will keep you updated of these.
Pre-breeding Examination of Tups
Next year’s lamb crop relies on keen, fertile tups! We test many tups in the run-up to breeding and it is amazing how many are sub fertile/infertile!!! We recommend fertility testing all tups well in advance of breeding (including testing teaser tups to ensure they are definitely teasers). Newly purchased tups have undergone a change of diet and environment so need purchasing and testing ideally 6 weeks ahead of breeding. We can visit you farm to examine tups and collect semen for immediate analysis – whether you have 2 or 20 to test this can be done very efficiently giving you immediate results.
Using a teaser tup can really help to improve conception rates and tighten a lambing block either used alone or in conjunction with synchronisation protocols. Teasers are also essential to improve conception rates when doing laparoscopic artificial insemination.
Vasectomies and be done quickly and painlessly on farm and need to be done by 2 months before use. We would recommend having teasers tups semen tested prior to use if done in previous years.
Laparoscopic Sheep Artificial Insemination (AI)
We have the facilities to AI your ewes with either fresh or frozen semen.
Laparoscopic AI effectively means that ewes are inseminated directly into the uterus providing far superior conception rates compared to cervical or vaginal AI. This is usually done on farm and can be done very efficiently with minimal stress on the ewes – we are currently able to AI up to 100 ewes per day using this technique.
Fresh semen can be used to inseminate a large number of ewes using your preferred tup on a single day (or over a few days) – this can ensure the maximum number of strong progeny in a very tight lambing block which enables you to better manage lambing staff and facilities. The semen is collected on the day of AI and assessed – if it is of good enough quality it is diluted and used immediately. Normally we would only require one collection per tup – a good sample could be used to AI 300 ewes!
We also have storage and transfer facilities for frozen semen. You can purchase semen from high genetic merit tups as a way of quickly improving the genetic makeup of your own flock. We thaw the semen on the day of AI and use it in the same way as fresh semen if it is deemed to be of good enough quality. Please ensure that you have spoken to us about you frozen semen requirements well in advance of breeding to ensure availability.
All females need to be synchronised for AI – when you have a lambing date in mind please ring to speak to us about what if involved.
Conception rates for laparoscopic AI can vary due to the many factors involved but are generally between 50-85% with better results expected when using fresh semen.
We can also AI ewes for embryo flushing working in conjunction with a sister practice who have plenty of experience and facilities to perform embryo transfer– if this is off interest to you please ring to discuss.