Breeding Supplies for Sheep and Goats
Breeding Tools for Better Livestock Management
Knowledge of what happens during the breeding season is critical for making decisions: When to vaccinate pregnant ewes, when to feed gestation rations and knowing when lambing should occur. Use the breeding supplies described below to ensure maximum profitability.
Why mark at breeding?
Marking aids allow for quick identification. With a glance, a shepherd can determine:
- Which ewes/does have been bred. Un-bred females ride the cull truck at the end of the breeding season. (We give some first year breeders a 2nd chance.)
- Birthing date (145 days after breeding). Know the last day to have supplies ready.
- Newborn’s sire—track sires that offer the most profit.
- Identify poor performing or inactive males.
Marking Harness & Crayons Tips:
Wrestling with a rambunctious ram to put on a harness is not the easiest of jobs but ensuring the harness is properly fitted can help avoid situations like this one:
- Put on the marking harness a few days before the ram goes out with the ewes. This allows time for the rams to adapt to wearing the harness and allows you time to adjust it for a proper fit.
- Adjust the harness frequently. Rams lose weight during breeding season. If the forelegs begin to chafe, adjust harness or add padding. The crayon fits below the brisket, between the forelegs. Not below the neck.
- Switch crayon colors throughout the breeding season. This helps us to narrow down if/when a ewe was bred. Use this information during lambing season so you’ll know which ewes or does to bring into drop pens or barns.
Marking Harness Comparison Chart
|Harness||Strap||Buckle||Shoulder Strap||Girth Strap||O Ring||Brisket Padding|
|Cross Your Heart||1"||.10"||1.25"||.5"||36"||62"||.33"||2.3"||.22"|
- Marking Harnesses & Crayons—Marking harness hold a crayon holder between a ram/bucks forelegs at the bottom of his brisket. A colored marking crayon is held there in order to mark the female when the male mounts. Crayons are easily changed (via cotter pin) throughout the breeding season/during breeding cycles. By switching crayon colors the shepherd is able to know during when the ewe/doe was bred and when she is expected to lamb/kid. Different colors are also used to differentiate between sires. Premier’s crayons are all-temperature crayons.
- Raddle Powder—Raddle marker is a colored powder mixed with either vegetable oil or mineral oil to make a paste that is spread on the rams/bucks brisket. When the male mounts the female, a large smudge of raddle is left on her back end. Only three colors are available: red, blue, and green. It’s difficult to change colors since the material is spread onto the animal. If change is desired, start with red at the beginning of the season, then green and end with blue.
Other Breeding Supplies
- Sheep Management Wheel a useful tool that maps out the year’s management based on when the shepherd wants to lamb/kid.
- CIDR Inserts encourage estrus during seasonal anestrus. Useful for “syncing up” ewes/does for AI, rented rams or a tighter lambing/kidding season.
- Ram Ejaculator enables rams to be checked for sperm quality before a breeding season, thus avoiding costly mistakes.