Trace element bolus key to exceptional fertility in pedigree sheep flock

A pedigree Texel breeder, who is accelerating flock improvement and capturing high sale prices by flushing embryos from his best female lines, says a trace element bolusing programme is key to exceptional flock fertility.

Padraig Treacy runs the pedigree Gailey Texel flock and a commercial flock at Gailey, Knockcroghery, Co. Roscommon, with his son, Michael.

To maximise genetic gain he has an embryo flushing programme, flushing his own ewes to implant in recipient ewes and also implanting frozen embryos sourced from other breeders.

‘Benefits are evident’

Padraig had been struggling with conception rates before he was introduced to the AllGuard bolus system by Leo Forkan of Mayo Healthcare.

He bolused the commercial flock with AllGuard 5 in 1, a bolus containing cobalt, iodine, selenium, zinc and copper, and the Texels with AllGuard 4 in 1, which doesn’t contain copper.

Ewes are bolused pre-tupping and again before lambing, which gets underway at the end of January. The benefits are evident in the results, says Padraig.

“We bought frozen embryos from a breeder in Scotland and implanted these and achieved 100% success. We can’t ask for better than that.’’

He flushed three of his own ewes and each produced an average of 10 embryos.

The main reason for using embryo transfer is to produce the best progeny from the best female lines he has invested in.

Padraig suggests that embryo transfer is also a means of recouping investment in an expensive ewe. “Embryo transfer is a means of allowing her to pay her way.’’

Introducing the AllGuard bolus system has allowed him to capture the benefits of that, he adds. “I am getting better thrive in the sheep, better performance,’’ he said.

As well as consistently averaging good prices for the offspring, Padraig has had some notable successes, including the sale of his first Texel ram lamb, ‘Gailey Yesterday’, at Blessington Mart, Co. Wicklow, for €8,000 in 2016.

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