One of the major preconditions to increase the success is first choosing the strain of sheep according to our region and then starting sheep reproduction with a good stud. An ideal stud must:
- have a regular and flawless body
- It must have the specifications of its own strain
- not have any diseases, have high productivity, fertility and long life span
Body structure of a prospective meat sheep to be selected as stud must be as big, large, sturdy and meaty. The head must be stumpy and large and the neck must be short and thick. Large chested ones with extraverted ribs are preferred. For the reproduction of meat sheep, it is desirable that studs should have a straight and as large as possible line of back, belly and rump.
Stud ewes of dairy sheep are with thin bones, long necks, long and tall bodies. They should have long rumps and the space between back legs should be large as to make room for a large breast. They have relatively overgrown abdomen, adequately big glandular breasts. The head should be dry and of noble and elegant structure. Ears are large and relatively pendulous. The strains known for the productivity of milk are generally polled or have elegant horns.
The bigger a ram’s testicles are, the better his breeding capability is.
SHEEP THAT NEEDS TO BE SEPARATED FROM THE FLOCK
- Those with distorted teeth and toenails
- Too old and skinny sheep
- Infertile sheep and those producing little milk
- Those with short, rare and falling out wool
- Especially if Merinos and Kıvırcık strains have spots
- Those having wool disorders
IMPORTANT POINTS IN THE SELECTION OF RAM STUDS
- The ram must be strong and healthy
- The ram must display all the features of his strain
- The ram must look and be lively
- The testicles of the ram should be placed down in the scrotum
- His wool must carry the aspects of his own strain
- Legs must be short and straight
- The ram must be able to kneel when his rump is pressed down.
If fed well, a mature ram is able to mate approximately 35-40 ewes if fed well.
BREEDING OF EWES AND FERTILITY
Success with sheep breeding depends on being able to get many lambs on a regular basis. The higher the number of the obtained lambs is, the faster of the improvement of the flock. This depends on the strain and feeding of the animal.
MATING EWES WITH RAMS
Yearling ewes should not be older than 18 months old when they are first mated with rams. Ewes in the flock could be used as studs until they are 6-8 years old and rams could be used such until they are 4-5 years old.
ESTRUS OF EWES
Oestrus of ewes generally depends on the season. Oestrus continues for about 28-30 hours. Oestrus is repeated every 14-19 days. If the introduction of rams into the flock is made freely, then keeping the ram in the flock for at least 35 days is recommended. The important factor in the introduction of rams into the flock is that ewes have oestrus. One ram for 20-30 ewes is the standard calculation.
SIGNS OF ESTRUS WITH EWES
Signs of oestrus in the ewe can usually not be detected unless a ram is present. When mature ewes are in heat, they will seek out the ram and stand still for him to mount them. They may nuzzle the ram around the belly or scrotum and even try to mount the ram by bleating.
At this phase the vulva is swollen and there is a flux.
MILKING OF EWES
45% of the revenue obtained from sheep is from meat, 15% is from wool and 40% is from milk. For this reason, milking has a place in milk production.
The points below must be paid attention;
- Ewes which have just returned from pastures must not be directly milked. They must be left to rest for about an hour.
- No tough treatment is applied on the animals during milking process.
- If ewes are milked twice a day, there must be at least 10 hours between the sessions of morning and evening.
- On cold and frosty day, morning milking session is at later times while on hot days it must be done earlier.
- If ewes are on far pastures, they are milked in situ.
- Milking must be fast and done in a short while. 100 ewes may be milked in 2-2.5 hours.
- Ewes’ breasts and milk churns must always be cleaned before milking.
Feeding ewes can be analysed under four sections:
1- Feeding when ewes are mated with rams
2- Feeding during pregnancy
3- Feeding during milk production period
4- Feeding during unproductive period
1- Feeding when ewes are mated with rams:
This type of special feeding must be composed of factory feed, barley and oats and should be started with 400 grams 2 weeks before the introduction of rams into flocks and go on for 6 weeks up to 700-800 grams of the said feed mixture.
2- Feeding during pregnancy:
Additional special feed is not required if ewes graze on good pastures during the first trimester. Additional feeding is started 45 days before the delivery by 300 grams and the amount goes up to 800 grams until the birth.
3- Feeding during milk production period:
Ewes with one lamb are fed on 700 grams of wheat grain feed mixture and those with twin lambs are fed on 1 kg of wheat grain mixed feed.
Feeding during unproductive period does not require special feeding; pasture and straw grazing would suffice.
TAKING CARE OF STUD RAMS
-About 1 kg of oat
- Some greens every day
- Enough activity
- A fresh egg before morning feeding
If these rules are followed, mating capacity of rams will increase and the expected productivity is obtained.
POINTS TO BE TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION WHILE RAISING LAMB
-Floors of lamb rooms must be clean and dry and air currents must be avoided
- Lamb rooms must not be cramped.
- Whether a lamb is milked by the mother or not must be watched.
- 15 days after their birth, lambs should be given hay and lamb grower.
- When lambs start to be released onto pastures, they must be injected with enterotoxaemia vaccine and given some hay.
INTENSIVE FEEDING OF LAMBS
First of all little amounts of fattening feed is added into the grower feed for lambs. Then both types of feed are put in separate feeders and after a week lamb grower feed is quit.
Lamb to be fattened is not breastfed any more. Fattening capacity of rams is higher. Therefore it is more profitable to work with male lambs.
FEEDING OF SUCKLING LAMB
While being breastfed, a lamb is fed on a big amount of compact feed. After lambs are 2 weeks old they must be given as much compact feed as they can eat in addition to breast milk.
POINTS TO BE TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION WHILE FEEDING EWES
1-Change of feed must be done gradually in periodical steps.
2- The hours of releasing ewes onto the pasture must be increased gradually since the start of the pasturing season.
3- In periods of extreme dew and frost, ewes must first be given some fodder or hay and afterwards released onto the pasture.
4- Whatever the kind of given feed is, it must not be mouldy or rotten.
5- Mother ewe must not be given cold water immediately after the delivery of lamb(s).
POINTS TO PAY ATTENTION IN THE SELECTION OF SHEEPFOLD LOCATION
1-Groundwater level must not be high.
2- It must be near pasture(s)
3- It must not be located on slopped land
4- It must be away from residential areas
5- It must not be exposed to northern winds
POINTS TO PAY ATTENTION IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF SHEEPFOLDS
1-It must be suitable for the climate of the region
2- It must be well preserved from dominant winds and the cold
3- It must be convenient inside for the works to be done with ease.
4- It should be big enough for the number of sheep
5- It must be cost efficient
CALCULATION OF SHEEPFOLD AREA
For a pregnant and breastfeeding ewe: 2, 25-2, 5 m2
For a male or female yearling lamb: 0, 5-0, 6 m2
For a ram: 1, 2-1, 5 m2
For an ewe: 0, 8- 1 m2
For a suckling lamb: 0, 3-0, 4 m2
Airing yard must be twice as large as the area of the sheepfold and surrounded by 1 m high fence.
Sheep must be kept in a completely dry sheepfold; dampness must be avoided both from the floor and the ceiling.