Prepare your ewes for tupping



With lambs now reaching target weights we need to think about getting the ewes in the correct condition for mating to optimize ovulation rate and aiming for 75% ewes to hold in their first cycle.


To achieve the correct body condition score at mating allow 10 weeks from weaning to mating.



Targets for the lowland ewe

Ewe Body Condition Score



* If lower than this wean early and supplement with Hogget Nuts



* If below this continue increased plane of nutrition otherwise maintain this BCS through early pregnancy.

 Key Points

  • To increase condition score by 1 unit = 12% of bodyweight (8kg)
  • Dry matter intake can be as much as 30% higher in ewes with BCS 2 compared with 3.
  • If ewes are below BCS 2, or if grazing is limited, us Heygates Hogget Nuts to increase energy density of diet.

Flushing 21 days before the ram goes in will increase ovulation rate in the lower BCS ewes. But ewes in optimum body condition score shouldn’t need the higher rising plane of nutrition to improve ovulation rates. Flushing should be used as a secondary tool if ewes have failed to get to BCS.

For information on how to BCS please see the AHDB advise on condition scoring.

To wean or not to wean?

If the ewes are below BCS 2.5 when the lambs are 10 weeks old, wean and put the lambs on to the best pasture.  This will allow the ewes time to regain condition before tupping.

If the ewes are in good condition, there is plenty of grazing or if the lambs are being creep fed, then there is no need to wean.

If lamb growth is below 200g per day, this should trigger weaning and lambs should be moved on to better quality forage.

Rams Pre Tupping

Rams should be in a BCS of 4 pre tupping and this should be maintained from 6 weeks pre tupping for maximum quality sperm production. Rams should also undergo full Ram MOT.

Ram MOT the 5 T’s – 10 weeks pre tupping


Check for locomotion and feet problems- Lameness would limit his movement


Check for gaps, abcesses – would affect feed intake


Measure, check firmness and check for lumps


Aiming for BCS 4


Vaccinate + Worm

The scrotum of the ram hangs between the back legs is to keep them cool by releasing sweat that evaporates in the breeze. When rams are hot in July and August they lie down in the shade which means the scrotum over heats and the immature sperm cells may not develop correctly, having consquences on fertility. Keep rams sheared and cool at least 10 weeks pre tupping to reduce testicular degeneration.