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Country: Italy

Dairy or/and meat sheep: both

Source of information:

Level of solution: Practical

Aim: Improving the fertility and concentration of lambings


     What and  How  to  do: Application  system:

    • Step 1 Isolation of males from females in a separate pen (far from sight, hearing and smell) for at least 8 weeks.
    • Step 2 (Day 1) Rams introduction (no shearing) (1Male/20Female) 17-20 days before mating.
    • Step3 (Day 10) Sharing according  to weather
    • Step4(Day14-16) Organization of the mating group (4-6Male/100 Females). In the case of controlled natural mating with just one ram, it is suggested to use the teaser rams with marking crayon or use small mating groups with 1M/20F.
    • Step5 (Day 17-18) Put marking crayon in rams to better control mating behavior.
    • Step6-(17-25) Starting of the heat and mating days.

When to do: The ram needs  to  be introduced  according to  the reproduction plan (May-June) in  the  Mediterranean region, the  ram removal should  be done at the end of the reproduction  season (July) for  adult ewe  and  (November – December) for  ewe-lamb (Dairy sheep management).

Expected benefits: Increasing fertility rates and concentration of lambing

Prerequisites and/or limits

Suffcient manpower to manage groups

Areas for male isolation.      

Sufficient number of males.      

Teaser ram for farms of the selection program      

Increased costs of males management


more information on Booklet “ram management” AGRIS-ARA


Dattena, M., & Mayorga, I. (2011). Innovative biotechnologies of reproduction on sheep management. Options Méditerranéennes. Séries A. Mediterranean Seminars, (97), 89–94.

Cox, J. F., Jeria, E., Bocic, A., Vera, N., Soto-Saravia, R., & Dorado, J. (2015). Characterization of the productive performance of Highlander sheep in Southern Chile. II. Male reproductive traits. Small Ruminant Research, 130, 189–192.

Van Metre, D. C., Rao, S., Kimberling, C. V., & Morley, P. S. (2012). Factors associated with failure in breeding soundness examination of Western USA rams. Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 105(1–2), 118–126.

Dattena, M., Mayorga, I., Mara, L., Gallus, M., Meloni, G., Cabiddu, A., … Dattena M et al. (2012). An example of reproduction management in organic sheep farming. In EAAP Scientific Series (Vol. 131, pp. 223–227). LB – Dattena2012

Dattena, M., Mara, L., Falchi, L., Meloni, G., Facchin, F., & Gallus, M. (2012). Artificial Insemination and Reproduction Management in small ruminants with special regard to future perspectives. EAAP European Association Animal Production.

Gouletsou, P. G., & Fthenakis, G. C. (2010). Clinical evaluation of reproductive ability of rams. Small Ruminant Research, 92(1–3), 45–51.

Scaramuzzi, R. J., Oujagir, L., Menassol, J. B., Freret, S., Piezel, A., Brown, H. M., … Fabre Nys, C. (2014). The pattern of LH secretion and the ovarian response to the “ram effect” in the anoestrous ewe is influenced by body condition but not by short-term nutritional supplementation. Reproduction, Fertility and Development, 26(8), 1154–1165.

Tips & Tricks

Ram’s foreskin crayon marking

Anti-mating apron for rams

Ram’s chest crayon marking

Harness with crayon

Home-made shadowing sheds

Use of unshorn rams

Measuring tape to assess the testicular perimeter of rams

Expected impacts

Stakeholder Perception for Implementation of Solutions

1. Level End-User Assessment (Partner)









ram management

Solution No/Name

15 – Optimized use of rams

Service provider/technicians+vet or farmers




Benefit expected




Is the solution suitable for various production systems


all types define in the first survey

If no – for which system




What are the asset costs

materials to manage rams


What are the maintenance costs

materials to manage rams


Any limits to its applicability

Sufficient manpower to manage groups, facilities for male isolation, sufficient number of males

Work Load



Service provider/tech.-vet-others

How much time is required to prepare and implement the solution

learning of the procedure

1 day – 1 week

How many people is needed to implement the solution?

depend on farm organisation



How long it takes to get results?

2 months

How long it takes to see  an effect on sheep productivity?

next production period





Service provider/technicians-vet-others

What kind of equipment/tool are necessary?



Skill/Knowledge-Training (farmer)

Does the solution need any specific skill/knowledge or training?

learning of the procedure

How much time will be required for training

1 day

Wider Environment

Is there any particular regulation link to the solution?


Does the solution need any particular structure or organisation?



Users’ evaluation:




Solution No/Name

A12- Ram management during reproduction season

Farmer/Service provider/technicians-vet-others



Why did you select this solution?

Low fertility and need to increase the economic profitability of the activity

Was it easy to implement?

more or less

If not say what are the identified drawbacks?

Rams in the flock are usually the forgotten ones

Did you need to adapt it?


If yes, how?

Homogenize the classification criteria

Were you happy with the outcome of the solution?


What were the outcomes?

Culling old males (>5 years-old)

Cull between 13-18% of rams due to poor seminal quality

The fertility of the batch varies depending on the number of non-valid rams used:

0 infertile rams ………..85% fertility of the batch

1 infertile rams………..67% fertility of the batch

2 infertile rams……….. 61% fertility of the batch

Score the solution

Interesting but needs adaptations to be better implemented

(minimum requirements for the rams)

Will you continue to implement it?


If not, for which reasons?



The first evaluation must be at least when rams are 8 months old.

Seasonal variations in the testes size and seminal quality require in some males the implementation of 2 analysis.

Cold weather conditions in the field may generate doubts about the result of the evaluation of sperm quality.


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