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Feeding Rams Pre-Tupping

11 October 2019

With tupping time approaching, you may be starting to feed some concentrates to your rams. At the start of tupping you are aiming for a body condition score of 3.5-4.0 for these males. Overfed rams can be lazy with a reduced libido and fertility. It is, therefore, important not to be too good to them pre-tupping. If you are buying in breeding rams ideally ask the seller what they have been eating in the run up to the sale. If you buy in a ram that has been fed a lot of concentrates they will lose weight rapidly when turned out to grass. A combination of a new diet, stress of the sale and a new environment can all effect the ram.  Ensuring a transition, by obtaining some of the previous concentrate, can aid in reducing loss of condition post sale.

Make sure that if you are providing concentrates you are using a specialist ram compound (18% crude protein) which has the correct mineral balance. Ewe feeds are unsuitable, due to their mineral balance, which if fed to rams, can lead to urinary calculi (stones or gravel). The main reason for the formation of these stones, is a high level of phosphorous and magnesium from concentrate feeding. Feeds, for rams, should have a Ca:P ratio of at least 2:1 but preferably nearer 3:1. Ammonium chloride is an additive you might see in ram feeds which makes the urine more acidic to stop stones forming. Ensure there is a fresh, good supply of water and providing salt in the diet can also help boost water intake, diluting the urine.

Mary Young

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