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The Country Enterprise Handbook
Analysing your assets|Land use|Vegetables|Soft fruit|Flower & herb growing|Orchard & vineyard|Woodlands Sheep|Beef|Pigs|Rabbits|Hens|Ducks|Geese|Dairying|Kitchen|Bees|Wool|Water|Home|Contact us

Keeping sheep
...Slaughter practicality
...Jacobs crosses
>..Ram management
...- Feeding
...- Castration & strike
...Summer & autumn

If you intend to buy or hire a ram, look carefully at his records.

If he is unproven (in his first working year), look at his parents' records. Make sure he is healthy, of a good build and, if possible, see that he knows what the job is about.

Putting a ram in with your flock in November will give you lambs in April. When you want your lambs depends on two factors: the first concerns whether you are lambing indoors or out and the second concerns the usual weather conditions in your area. If you live on top of a mountain and are not prepared to feed mother and lambs until Spring really comes it is better to lamb late. If you live in a delightfully sheltered spot with early Springs, you can lamb very early and catch the premium lamb market.

Ewes come into season in the autumn and if not successfully mated, they return every 16-18 days. The ram should run with them for at least six weeks to cover two seasons.

It makes life a lot easier if the ram wears a raddle. This is basically a coloured marker tied to his chest that rubs off on to the ewe when she is served. Changing the colour after a couple of weeks means that you can follow the progress. When a ewe is coloured twice it means that she has not held to the first service. With a few sheep you can work out pretty closely when the lambs should arrive. With more, the lambing is spread over a longer period.