This post is also available in: French Spanish

Country: Romania

Dairy or/and meat sheep: Dairy and meat

Source of information: Industry and research

Level of solution: Knowledge/Practical


Aim: Achieve high fertility of rams and an increase of the overall conception rates


  • Body condition score (BCS) of rams to be between 3.5 and 4 at the onset of the reproduction season (avoid under and over feeding of rams).
  • Scrotal circumference of rams when joined to the ewes should be higher than 29 cm in yearling rams and at least 33 cm in adult rams.
  • To increase the sperm production, especially during out of season breeding 1 to 3 melatonin subcutaneous implants can be used (18 mg/implant) with 35-40 days before joining.
  • Rams should not be used for mating continuously longer than 2 estrus cycles (34 days), they need to removed from the breeding flock for at least 5 to 7 days, before reintroduction.
  • Ram libido and mating behavior should be monitored at the onset of the reproduction season.

Expected benefits: 5 to 10 % higher fertility rates within the flock.

Prerequisites and/or limits (knowledge, training, capabilities, cost, management, facilities, equipment, etc.)

  • Training on how to BCS the rams and to evaluate scrotal circumference
  • Designated stock person to observe mating intensity in the flock and monitor the body condition of the rams during entire mating system.
  • Ram harness is a useful tool to monitor ram libido.
  • Melatonin implants costs range between 2 to 3 EUR.

Scientific publications:

Meilán, J., & Ungerfeld, R. (2014). Does introduction of rams during the late luteal phase promote the estrus response in cyclic ewes? Small Ruminant Research, 120(1), 116–120.

Hawken, P. A. R., Evans, A. C. O., & Beard, A. P. (2008). Short term, repeated exposure to rams during the transition into the breeding season improves the synchrony of mating in the breeding season. Animal Reproduction Science, 106(3–4), 333–344.

Chanvallon, A., Scaramuzzi, R. J., & Fabre-Nys, C. (2010). Early sexual experience and stressful conditions affect the response of young ewes to the male. Physiology and Behavior, 99(4), 457–465.

Ridler, A. L., Smith, S. L., & West, D. M. (2012). Ram and buck management. Animal Reproduction Science, 130(3–4), 180–183.

Al-Gubory, K. H. (1998). Effects of the presence of rams during pregnancy on lambing performance in ewes. Animal Reproduction Science, 52(3), 205–211.

Ungerfeld, R., Forsberg, M., & Rubianes, E. (2004). Overview of the response of anoestrous ewes of the ram effect. Reproduction, Fertility and Development.

Tips & Tricks:

Expected impacts:

Benefit expected Increase productivity:
Is the solution suitable for various production systems Y
If no – for which system dairy & meat
What are the asset costs <100
What are the maintenance costs <50
Any limits to its applicability No
Work Load
  Farmers Service provider/tech.-vet-others
How much time is required to prepare and implement the solution >=1week  
How many people is needed to implement the solution? 1 person (the farmer)  
How long it takes to get results? >=1week
How long it takes to see  an effect on sheep productivity? current production period
  Farmers Service provider/technicians-vet-others
What kind of equipment/tool are necessary? Concentrate feeders, melatonin implants, tape for scrotal circumference assessment  
Skill/Knowledge-Training (farmer)
Does the solution need any specific skill/knowledge or training? Yes
How much time will be required for training 1 day training
Wider Environment
Is there any particular regulation link to the solution? NO
Does the solution need any particular structure or organisation? NO

Users’ evaluation:



Solution No/Name

 16. Ram management during reproduction season

Farmer/Service provider/technicians-vet-others



Why did you select this solution?

 Having higher conception rates in the  

Was it easy to implement?


If not say what are the identified drawbacks?


Did you need to adapt it?


If yes, how?

To meet all the requirements mentioned in the solutions

Were you happy with the outcome of the solution?


What were the outcomes?

Score the solution

Interesting, needs adjustment

Will you continue to implement it?


If not, for which reasons?



Using rams with harnesses it helps identifying the ewes that were serviced, and having them removed from the reproduction flock.

Testicular circumference is less relevant and changes throughout the reproduction season, hard to monitor under commercial extensive conditions.

This post is also available in: French Spanish