Time to conduct your ewe pre-breeding ‘NCT’

Are your ewes ready for breeding 2018 was the question posed by Teagasc’s Cathal McAuley at last weekend’s SHEEP 2018 open day in Athenry.

McAuley informed farmers that they really need to assess their ewes 10 weeks prior to breeding. This is essential to achieve the best results when it comes to lambing next spring and to ensure that no problem ewes are carried over.

The four key areas that warrant consideration, he said, are: body condition score; teeth; feet; and the udder.

Ideally ewes should be “fit, not fat” and they should be in a body condition score of 3 at mating. Once farmers have identified any thin ewes, they will be able to provide them with priority treatment to ensure that they hit this target come mating.

A focus should also be placed on the ewe’s teeth; ewes with under or over-shot mouths, missing teeth, worn/long teeth or uneven molars should be earmarked for culling.

As part of the ‘NCT’, attention should also be given to the ewe’s feet and udder. When it comes to feet, problem ewes – which do not respond to treatment – should be culled out of the flock.

Attention, he said, must also be given to ewes with mastitis, pendulous udders, blind teats or ewes with lesions or sores on the teats.