Preparing the ram team for mating

// Breeding and Genetics

If farmers haven’t done so already, now is the time they should be giving their ram team a health-check to ensure they are fit and ready for mating in the coming weeks.


Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Senior Biosecurity Advisor Will Halliday says ram preparation is important for good mating performance and sperm production which begins eight weeks before mating.

“Testes must remain cool for best sperm production and survival and this is important eight weeks prior to mating as well as during the mating period.”

He says ideally, rams should be checked 8-10 weeks before mating for general soundness, genital problems such as epididymitis, scrotal mange or pizzle rot, and feet problems.

“Discovering lame or unwell rams the day before they’re meant to go out could have a significant impact on their mating performance and next spring’s lamb crop. A quick health check now leaves time for any veterinary treatments that might be required and will ensure the rams are fit and healthy at this critical time of the year.” 

Will also recommends giving the rams a quarantine drench 7-14 days before mixing them with the ewes. As with all stock, rams should be quarantine drenched upon arrival to the property.

Shearing rams within eight weeks of mating should also be avoided.

He advises purchasing rams from brucellosis accredited ram breeding flocks.

Find out more

For more information about preparing the sheep flock for mating, see our Making every mating count factsheet (PDF, 2MB)