Joining time, also known as “tupping” or mating, is the period of weeks that the rams spend time with the ewes – and hopefully get them all pregnant.
Here at Beersheba Farm we prefer a rather short joining time which delivers a corresponding short lambing time.
The rams are out for 5 weeks and this basically allows the ewes 2 oestrus cycles to get pregnant. Lambing is usually completed in around 4 weeks. This greatly assists paddock and ewe management and keeps one of our busiest times of the year from dragging out.
Ewes are in oestrus for approx 24-48hrs every 16-17 days. When that happens you can often notice that a ram will have separated from the main flock of ewes and will be with 2-3 ewes that are currently in season. Ewes in season will seek out the ram and we’ve had many cases over the years of “illicit liasons”, “not-so-covert breakouts” and “shameless flirting”. Sometimes a ewe will reject the ram she is with and seek out another that she feels is “more her style.”
One way or another they certainly keep us on our toes. 🙂