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Pre-joining ram preparation and hoof health

By Leesa Flanagan - Ruminant Technical Services
Published 6th November 2023

As joining approaches, it is important to ensure that rams are in the best possible condition. Ram joining preparation should begin at least 8-6 weeks before introducing rams to ewes, as it takes around 7 weeks for sperm to fully develop. During this stage the nutrition and management of the rams will significantly influence the quality and quantity of semen. Rams should be checked for the 4 T's, torso, teeth,  testes and toes. Rams should be in a body condition score of 3-4 to ensure they can perform well during joining, and avoid a large drop in condition once removed from the ewes. The mouth should be checked for loose or broken teeth.  Teste health is crucial to monitor and can be checked by palpation, and should feel firm without any lumps or sores. 


Hooves need to be checked for any abnormalities or injuries, and treated if necessary, as lameness will be extremely detrimental to joining performance. It is important that hooves are trimmed and healthy. Hoof supplements can be given, especially if there are concerns and stock have been in a particularly wet environment. Prolonged standing in wet paddocks can cause abscesses and weakening of the hooves, making them particularly susceptible to infections.  Trace minerals zinc and biotin (Vitamin H) both play a significant role in the keratinisation and integrity of the hoof. Additionally, zinc is crucial for normal immune function and supporting the health of the hoof during challenging environments. Research trials supplying both zinc and biotin in combination have ben shown to reduce hoof lesions and improve overall hoof health.

National Feed Solutions Elite Sheep Green Feed Lick with Organic Zinc + Biotin provides stock with 8mg/head/day of biotin, and 400mg/head/day of zinc, of with a proportion is organically bound to amino acids for the most effective utilisationFormulated with a blend of additional essential vitamins and minerals, Elite Sheep Green Feed Lick with Organic Zinc + Biotin is an excellent addition to pre-joining ram management to ensure optimal performance.

For more information regarding nutritional requirements for your rams, feel free to contact the NFS Ruminant Team or ACE Consulting to have a chat.

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