Empty shearlings at scanning

twizzel

Member
Just interested to see what others do with empty shearlings at scanning. Closed flock and started toxo and enzovax this year, my head says to cull any that aren't in lamb, but the cost of the vaccines is a bit offputting. I've got a few nice ewe lambs running on for next year. My shearlings this year have been hit quite hard with orf just as the tups came out, most of them have had it to varying degrees yet the mature ewes they are running with seem relatively unaffected. Scanning next week but just interested to see if people give shearlings another chance or get rid.
 
Just interested to see what others do with empty shearlings at scanning. Closed flock and started toxo and enzovax this year, my head says to cull any that aren't in lamb, but the cost of the vaccines is a bit offputting. I've got a few nice ewe lambs running on for next year. My shearlings this year have been hit quite hard with orf just as the tups came out, most of them have had it to varying degrees yet the mature ewes they are running with seem relatively unaffected. Scanning next week but just interested to see if people give shearlings another chance or get rid.
We are lucky that we have a hill to kick empty shearlings out onto so they are kept cheap enough, they get a management tag though and will go to a terminal ram the next year, needless to say if they are empty again they go down the road. The Enzo and Toxo cost and cost of replacements is the reason we keep them.
 

unlacedgecko

Member
Livestock Farmer
Just interested to see what others do with empty shearlings at scanning. Closed flock and started toxo and enzovax this year, my head says to cull any that aren't in lamb, but the cost of the vaccines is a bit offputting. I've got a few nice ewe lambs running on for next year. My shearlings this year have been hit quite hard with orf just as the tups came out, most of them have had it to varying degrees yet the mature ewes they are running with seem relatively unaffected. Scanning next week but just interested to see if people give shearlings another chance or get rid.
I've had tack customer that would run roun an empty 2th. Means you could have kept an animal till 4th for no income?! Never made sense to me.

I'd like to kill all empty ewe lambs tbh. Will have to see what the scan is though.
 

twizzel

Member
Think that pretty much confirmed my thoughts then :woot: anything empty needs gone. It was just the vaccine cost sticking in my mind but with a self replacing flock there’s always someone to take their place.
 

yellowbelly

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
N.Lincs
I reckon I spotted a gimmer jump off the scanner crate with an empty mark last week. She didn't appear to be marked by the sweeper tups either :facepalm:

If she scans empty when we scan the late mob she'll be joining the queue to get on @Man_in_black 's kebab thigummynob.

That'll be her 'two strikes and yer out'
 

neilo

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Montgomeryshire
Hmmm. Whilst I would ordinarily kick anything empty off to the kebab shop, I do make a few exceptions sometimes. Pedigree terminal sire sheep that have exceptional conformation & index would likely get another chance, albeit with a black mark recorded. They have cost a lot to get to that point, so the best might get a pass.

Similarly crossbred ewes, if there has been a severe management c*ck up that has resulted in a load of problems, I would be lenient on some of the best shearlings, if it wasn’t really their fault, but down to the incompetence of the shepherd.
Anything older than a shearling doesn’t have any excuse though, and the vast majority of empty shearlings would go too.

When the Hogg price was good a couple of years ago I did out all the barren ewe lambs in the Spring. It felt good having everything on the farm producing something, but it also made me short on numbers the following year. In hindsight, I should have kept them back, or most of them at least.
 
I'd like to kill all empty ewe lambs tbh. Will have to see what the scan is though.

A policy a lot of ram breeders are now doing in NZ with very positive results. To have dependable results reflecting genetics, the relevant abortion diseases must be vaccinated against. Also the sires of the breeding ewe flock must come from either that flock or a like flock under the same selection pressure for onset of early fertility.
Such selection pressure will advance pregnancy rates by 2 to 5% per generation depending upon the flock's selection starting point for this trait. NZ Romney flocks have reported advanced ewe lamb pregnancy rates from about 80% to 95% in 15 years by selecting sires from female lines achieving 1st cycle pregnancy as ewe lambs and culling empties.

The use of mating harnesses on teaser rams will also identify cycling ewe lambs for priority selection, but it doesn't identify those that become pregnant, another issue in young maiden ewes. There is plenty of trial evidence showing lifetime performance favours early ewe fertility.

With shearlings being more advanced on the maturity curve than ewe lambs, I would expect the lifetime difference between those that became pregnant vs those which remained empty to be more extreme. Therefore the cost of retaining them gets greater if the difference is purely genetic.

If abortion disease is present on a farm it doesn't take many saved lambs to pay for the vaccine.
 
Like most things in stock management its all about figuring out why.

If you've got 200 ewe lambs and 150 get in lamb, why didn't the others? If you've got 200 ewe lambs and 190 of them are clean arsed, why arent the other ten? If you've got 200 ewe lambs and 100 scan empty, or 100 are dirty arsed etc, maybe its not the sheep.

If they have no reason not to perform, then they go, if they cannot perform because of physical limitation where others on equal footing have 'got there', then they go.

Its like selling your fastest growing lambs and always running the smallest tail enders to shearlings as they dont make fat size in time. They could all be triplets . . . . . or twins out of ewe lambs, but they could also as easily be out of ewes with poor milk, could be poor growers, suffer more with parasites, bad forage converters or out of ewes that only conceive at end of last cycle etc.

Keep the best, eat the rest.

Having said this, I think we all, when building numbers give a lot more leeway than we do when we are at capacity.
 

Henery

Member
Location
South shropshire
A good policy is that they must lamb, not necessary to rear a lamb, that’s a bonus... otherwise your encouraging lower fertility in the flock... simples....👍
 

twizzel

Member
Its still not to late , cant you put a ram out now with a harness and sell as couples later on for one cycle ? , will be worth a bit more than cull , the orf could have given them a temp (or the ram) its rare to get more than odd few that are barreners at that age . might not always be genetics
To be honest I don’t want to be lambing in May due to other work. Hoping the orf hasn’t affected them too much- the ram wasn’t affected and used a sweeper too, and it only really got bad in the weeks after the ram came out. Scanning on Wednesday so will see what the score is then.
 

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