In a recent Beef + Lamb New Zealand podcast Massey University’s Dr Paul Kenyon described how ram harnesses can be used to identify ewe lambs that ovulate early in flocks where hogget lambing is not practiced.
Studies have shown that these early-cycling animals will be more fertile and fecund during their lifetime.
“There is a genetic link there.”
In a bid to increase the productivity of their ewe flock, some farmers are keeping more ewe lambs back than they need as replacements, then running a harnessed teaser (vasectomised) ram with them in late April and May.
The marked lambs are retained as replacements as these are likely to be the most fertile as adult ewes.
“It’s an early screening tool and it does work.”