Obtain the ideal body condition score prior to tupping
Tupping time is an important event on the calendar of the sheep farmer, and it is essential that nutrition and body condition of both the ewes and tups is right before the tups are put in. Trace element levels for grazing sheep will need supplementing.
Ideally, ewes should be at 3, and tups should be 3.5 on the body condition scoring scale. Tups will lose some condition over this period, due to the effort they will be exerting, so it is important they carry slightly more condition. One condition score is equivalent to around 12% of body weight, so a 70 kg ewe scoring a 2.5 would need to gain 8.5 kg of weight. The earlier you can identify under and overweight ewes, the easier it is to manage nutrition.
Importance of vitamins and trace elements
The other important issue pre-tupping is the reproductive health of the tups. Sperm takes seven weeks to produce, so if sperm testing is carried out four to six weeks prior to tupping, there will not be enough time to remedy any problems which may be identified.
As for trace elements during tupping time, there are several which are especially important for reproductive health. Selenium aids with fertility, as a deficiency can lead to conception failure or abortion in early pregnancy, or poor sperm production. A deficiency in zinc compromises sperm production and quality, and cobalt promotes egg and foetal production, and lamb vigour after birth.