All serious sheep producers will have goals for the flock. Flock goals will determine how the flockmaster selects breeding rams. Breeding rams can be selected from among lambs or obtained from outside the flock. Irrespective of other attributes, all breeding rams should be selected to maximize growth rate, thriftiness, and breeding drive. These attributes are associated, and tend to be a package. Rams with less drive for breeding are often smaller, less dominant, and less fertile.
A strong, aggressive breeding ram can be the pride of the flock. The attributes that make him a valuable breeding ram can also leave the ram compromised by the end of the breeding season, and flockmasters need to take steps to preserve the strength and vigor of a valuable ram to maximize his productivity and longevity.
No special diet or formula exists to keep rams in top condition through the breeding season, and the best thing for breeding rams is for flockmasters to be aware of physical demands on breeding...
Late spring is the hardest nutritional time of year for sheep. Even though it is a little warmer, there is still little nutrition on the landscape. Plants from last year are bleached of nutrients and this year's growth is yet in its earliest stages. High elevation landscapes are still cold, windy and dry, further retarding new plant growth. This leaves our sheep still relying heavily on stored nutrients and stored energy from last year. The situation for the ewes is further complicated by pregnancy. So feeding has to be done carefully.
Over conditioning ewes with too much nutrition and too much fat, can result in metabolic disorders during the final phases of pregnancy. As a sheep shearer, I see many a backyard sheep that is too fat. However, too little conditioning before lambing leaves a ewe with not enough milk to nurse the new-born lambs. So proper feeding is heavily dependent on the ability of the flockmaster to evaluate and judge the condition of the sheep, especially ewes.