Today I went with John to learn about synchronizing sheep. We went to a neighbouring farm just up the road and joined a few other farmers. There I learnt to sponge a ewe. Sponge a what?
You take a sponge( one buys them prepackaged, with hormones and string), and insert in the huge plus/minus 25cm syringe, rub some antiseptic lubricant around the tips, inject .5ml of penicillin, and then with your right hand covered with a latex glove, one takes ones finger taps it on the vulva, insert a finger in the vagina, to relax the sheep and then you insert the syringe about two-thirds of the way (like a Tampon) and use the plunger inside the syringe to push the sponge into the sheep. It then dangles a piece of string half way out (like a Tampon) to be pulled out in two weeks time. At first I was horrified and then once I’d done one, I loved it. So interesting AND I learnt something new. You have to work in clean conditions and sterilise the syringe between each application.It isn’t at all painful or uncomfortable for the ewes. It is a little tricky to do the maiden ewes (virgins or ewes that haven’t given birth yet).
The sponge releases the hormone and starts synchronizing the sheep to cycle at the same time. The farmer then puts in “Teaser” rams that tease the sheep. These rams shoot blanks and they are used purely to make the ewe horny, for lack of a better word. After a few days the farmer puts in the real rams. By this time the ewes are climbing the walls and the rams are able to cover the ewes with very little effort! The sheep fall pregnant and lamb down at the same time….thus the technique is called synchronizing!
So you’ve learnt something and I’ve learnt something. Next time John speaks about this I’ll know what he’s talking about!