Pre-tupping decisions

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Column Woods gives an update on his extensive flock of mainly Blackface-Lleyn cross ewes, with New Zealand Suffolk and Texel, which he runs just outside Hilltown, Co Down.

I will be putting my Tups out with the ewes mid-November, for lambing to start first week of April onwards. So three weeks beforehand, on around October 22nd, I will be flushing my ewes onto good grass. At the same time I will Bolus them, give a mineral/vitamin drench, and worm them.

The Mournes is one of the many areas in Northern Ireland that is deficient in Cobalt and Selenium.

My choice of long-term supplementation is based on which bolus has the highest level of Cobalt and Selenium. Cobalt is responsible for energy production and without an adequate level of cobalt, I would be putting my ewes in an energy starvation mode.

Again, this year, I will use the ‘All Guard Ewe 5 in 1’ bolus. It has nearly double the cobalt of any other sheep bolus. The iodine and selenium were jointly the best spec I could find compared to other boluses. It helps that it has Zinc included as well.

I now use a mineral drench with Propylene Glycol as the main carrier.

Secondly I made sure the drench has high levels of minerals and vitamins. Propylene glycol is a great form of energy and apart from encouraging better fertility rates, it helps to get the rumen function going. I found it gives a good quick bloom, and I used it on my lambs every two-three weeks this year too.

The All Guard Ewe bolus, gives me my long term insurance policy of the main trace elements I need on my farm.

The high energy mineral drench I use is ‘TUPMASTER’ which comes from Mayo HealthCare.