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Are your tup’s up to the job?

Are your tup’s up to the job?

Reduced fertility performance in tups can have a detrimental effect on scanning percentages and can lead to an extended lambing period. Often subfertile tups are only noticed well into the breeding period when ewes are returning.

A pre-breeding examination can rule out common health problems, assess the genitalia, and check semen quality. It can take 6 weeks for sperm production to recover after a problem (stress, lameness, disease etc), so it is important to schedule the pre-breeding exam at least 8 weeks before the planned start of breeding.

The 5 T’s of the tup exam

  1. Teeth – Check for under or overshot jaw and dental health. It is important that he can eat well during the breeding season to maintain his energy status and body condition.
  2. Toes – Check for any signs of lameness, infectious disease, or arthritis. Assess his locomotion.
  3. Tone – Assess his body condition score. Aim for 3.5-4.
  4. Testicles – Measure scrotal size, check firmness and feel for any lumps.
  5. Treatment – Chance to give any treatments e.g. vaccinations or parasite products.

Assessing the semen quality

If the tup passes the first half of the test then a semen sample will be taken with the aid of an electro-ejaculator and examined under the microscope. The motility and number of abnormal sperm will be assessed.