NEW tupping crayons! Improve flock management

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Nettex Marksman Ram Crayons

When it comes to tupping crayons, consistency and reliability are essential to determine which rams are working and which ewes are cycling, says Nia Williams, technical and marketing manager for Nettex.

“Tupping crayons are effective tools to allow shepherds to make flock management decisions for things like which cycle a ewe was bred in and if she didn’t hold a pregnancy,” explains Ms Williams. “This information can help forecast busier periods during lambing and offer huge cost savings by determining which ewes are barren and may be considered for sale.”

Combining quality with versatility, Nettex is launching Marksman Ram Crayons ahead of the 2020 tupping season. Manufactured and tested in the UK, Marksman Ram Crayons are available in  all weather and cold weather formulations to fit any geographical and tupping season need. Formally on the market as Sure Sired Marker Crayons, Nettex redesigned the product to be compatible with any harness, including a cotter pin system or click in and out design. Available in six different colours and approved by British Wool, crayons last an average of two weeks depending on temperature and ram prolificacy.

“Our unique formulations for the UK climate give shepherds product consistency throughout varying weather conditions,” explains Ms Williams. “While the Marksman Ram Crayons are available with specific Nettex harnesses, the design allows them to be utilised in any brand of harness a farm may already have.”

 

Tupping crayon top tips

According to Ms Williams, crayon colours should be changed out every 17 days to differentiate between cycles. Marked ewes can also be drafted out every 8 days and run with a ram that has a different colour of crayon. To determine which rams are working, she also recommends each receives its own individual colour.

“By using crayon colours in sequence, it is possible to identify when ewes will lamb and group them in accordance. Paler coloured crayons are used first and then darker crayons for subsequent cycles. For example, start with yellow, then move on to red or orange, followed by green or blue, and finished with black,” she says.

To fit harnesses to rams, secure it loosely at first and then tighten each buckle in turn until the harness is firmly positioned with the crayon sitting on the brisket. While shepherds should readjust the harness each time they change the crayon, Ms Williams recommends more frequent adjustments for rams rapidly losing body condition to avoid injury.

“Very prolific rams will lose body condition quickly, which increases the risk of chaffing or feet being caught in a loose harness, so adjustments may be required between crayon changes,” she says.

When best practice is used in conjunction with a quality and diverse tupping crayon, shepherds can make strategic management decisions that can improve the profitability of their flocks.

“Crayon markings are a great early indicator of which ewes should be grouped together so that in conjunction with scanning, nutritional requirements can be effectively targeted leading up to lambing. They also help reduce any unnecessary expenses by showing which ewes and rams are unproductive,” she concludes. “All of this works together to optimise flock performance for improved profits.”