Pre-tupping decisions: The best crop of lambs we have ever had

We run a flock of pedigree Lleyn ewes, just outside Ballymena, County Antrim.

Heather and Alex Robinson
Heather and Alex Robinson

We have always used a mineral drench pre-tupping.

In the past we had stuck to just one certain brand. It was fairly pricey but it seemed to do a good job.

Last year, August 2018 was the first time we came across Mayo Healthcare’s TUPMASTER. Like our old brand, it had chelated minerals. Though after buying a drum from our merchant Steele Farm Supplies, a comparison showed the Tupmaster was vastly stronger in terms of having the optimum level of chelated minerals and vitamins. The major factor we really liked about the Tupmaster was that propylene glycol is the main carrier ingredient.

The instructions on the label says to give the Tupmaster to the ewes just three weeks before tupping. We tried a different method and gave the ewes a slightly lower dose of the Tupmaster twice before going to the tup. First drench was six weeks pre-tupping, and second drench was three weeks pre-tupping. We also gave the drench to our rams as well.

Our results were very impressive. It was the best crop of lambs we have ever had. The ewes got a fantastic bloom straight after getting the Tupmaster. We had a shorter lambing period.

A liquid drench only stays in the system for two to three weeks. By targeting the ewes at this vital period of time with a large amount of energy coupled with vitamins and minerals, this gives a massive boost to the system and the ewes will be more likely to have a higher ovulation rate.

We decided to also give all the ewes a drench of Tupmaster straight after lambing. Previously, the ewes would lose condition after lambing, but this boost meant that they held their condition. We carried this mantra forward with our lambs as well, and from three weeks of age, all our lambs got a small drench of Mayo HealthCare’s similar drench called “Thrivemaster Ovi”.

Our Forthcoming bolus trial

Three years ago we had tried to use a certain mineral bolus pre-tupping. It was a pretty big chunky awkward bolus. One ewe choked on the bolus, and some were spat out.

It was a bad experience that put us off bolusing, but this year, after talking to two friends we are going to trial out the Mayo HealthCare “All Guard Ewe” bolus. We really like how heavy/dense the bolus is, but more importantly it is really compact and small in size. It is a lot stronger than any other ewe bolus we have researched. With the small size and density, our friends, had reported no problems with the Mayo Healthcare bolus being spat out. We are going to randomly bolus half of our flock, to see the difference. We are hoping that it lives up to the claims our friends were boasting about.