Top tips for buying Border Leicester tups
It's that time of year when sheep breeders are heading to the sales to purchase new tups, hopefully Border Leicesters, the "sheep industry's great improver", for their flock. There are so many tups about, sometimes it's difficult to make the right choice so we've put together a little list to help.
1. Remember fat Border Leicester tups are not fit tups. They need to be able to go out and run with their ewes. You don't see many fat men with a beer belly catching attractive young females! A body condition of between 3.5-4.0 (spine well covered) is right.
2. Check their feet-if they can't walk well how are they going to run after their ewes? Have their feet been trimmed well? Have they got foot rot?
3. Check their teeth. They need to have good teeth, no overshot teeth, no gaps and no abscesses. No mouth, no sheep
4.Testicles! Measure and check the firmness of their testicles. Make sure there are no lumps and bumps. A shearling ram should have testicles of at least 35cm scrotal circumference- in fact the bigger the better. The testicles should be of even size.
5. The penis must be healthy and free of injury or growths.
6. Check with the vendor that the rams have been treated for Clostridia, Pasturella, Parasites, lameness etc.
Libido, the desire to tup, is also important. Colour and smell give an indication of libido. A tup should have dark, purplish colouring at the top of the inside of his hind legs and a strong "tuppy" smell, the stronger the better, from his underside and crown of his head.
Ideally purchase rams well in advance of the breeding season. This will give them time to acclimatise to your system. It will take 3 weeks for their rumen to adjust to a new diet.
Obviously the above tips refer to all types of tups!