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Length of
Joining

2 Cycles
Delayed Weaning
Marking Heavy Lambs
Sheep

Length of joining

Rams should be joined with ewes for two 17 day cycles (5 weeks).

Extending the joining periods is not recommended on more intensively run farms, as this holds up the completion of important management events such as marking and weaning.

Consequences of extended joining include:

Delayed weaning, making it difficult for ewes to gain body condition (as seen in diagram 1)

Marking heavy lambs, resulting in greater chance of unacceptable welfare risks due to increased blood loss, poor mothering up and higher risk of infection

Long ‘tail’ in the lambs that results in more lambs failing to thrive as weaners and increased mortality

Lambs and ewes pick up high worm burdens from the lambing paddocks, which tend to be highly-contaminated.

Effects on Ewe Recovery and BSC through increased joining length

Cycle Length

Diagram 1 - Comparison of Ewe Joining Length
Reproductive Cycle of Ewes
Stage Average Range
Puberty age 5 to 12 Months
Oestrus cycle 17 days 13-19 days
Oestrus duration 30 days 18-48 days
Ovulation release 20-30 hours after start of Oestrus
Gestation 146 days 135-150 days
Table 1 - Variation in Ewe Reproductive Cycle

Further Reading

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