Unique progesterone sheep breeding device helps to improve flock management

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Last year Zoetis Inc. launched CIDR® OVIS, a unique progesterone breeding device for sheep which has been proven to both synchronise oestrus and ovulation, as well as advancing the breeding season.

CIDR OVIS has a unique ‘T shape’, which has been found to have low levels of local irritation meaning there is less discharge and removal issues when compared to a fluorogestone acetate (FGA) sponge.

It also contains the natural hormone progesterone instead of the synthetic hormone fluorogestone acetate used in sponges, which has been shown to result in better fertility, pregnancy and twinning rates.

CIDR OVIS can benefit farmers wishing to induce and synchronise oestrus and ovulation in non-cycling ewes during seasonal anoestrus and can also be used in cycling and non-cycling ewes to advance the breeding season.

The benefits of using such a device can easily outweigh the costs, explained Zoetis vet Dr Dave Armstrong.

“By using CIDR OVIS to bring forward the breeding season to the summer, therefore, lambing in late December or early January means farmers can get lambs away by April and May. Figures from the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) show lambs sold in April and May generate on average 21% greater return over those sold in the summer months, giving a possible extra £18 per 45kg lamb. This far outweighs the cost of the device.

“Farmers can also take advantage of the spring grass to finish lambs off. It also gives the ewes time to get back into condition before breeding,” he said.

Dr Armstrong added: “By condensing the lambing period farmers can reduce one of the biggest fixed costs in a sheep enterprise; lambing labour costs.

“In addition, synchronising oestrus and then using artificial insemination (AI) gives farmers access to superior rams without the initial purchase costs and accelerate flock genetics. A top terminal sire can add £3.50 extra sale value per lamb per year,” he said.

CIDR OVIS is easy to use and can be administered by a farmer or a vet. One device is inserted into the vagina of each ewe to be treated.

This should be left in position for 12 days followed by an injection of equine chorionic gonadotrophin (eCG) administered at removal. The onset of oestrus occurs within 1-2 days after removal of the device.

CIDR OVIS adds to Zoetis’ established Fertility Solutions portfolio, which combines outstanding ruminant technical support with a product range consisting of the market leading progesterone device CIDR®, the GnRH Acegon®, and prostaglandins Prellim® and Lutalyse®.