Reproductive management of the ram (Ovis orientalis aries)


Francisco Cruz-Espinoza
Jaime Gallegos-Sánchez
Tamara Alejandra Mendieta-Galán
Christofer I. Márquez- Hernández
Juan Salazar-Ortiz


stud, fertility, sheep, reproduction.


Objective: To describe briefly the physiology, the anatomy and the reproductive management of the ram.

Design/Methodology/Approach: Review of the anatomy, physiology and general considerations for an adequate reproductive management of the ram.

Results: The ram presents a less seasonal reproductive activity than the female and its reproductive behavior is easier to observe. However, it is in the fall, the reproductive season of seasonal sheep, when their behavior is much more complex and complete. It begins with smelling the external genitals of the female, goes through the flehmen response and ends with mating, intromission and ejaculation. It is necessary to consider the anatomical and physiological aspects of the ram and its meticulous management to avoid reproductive failures in the flock. Frequently, the rams are less important for the flock’s handler during the season of reproductive rest. Monitoring their diet and parasite and disease control is necessary to keep them apt for reproduction. The evaluation of the reproductive aptitude of the ram before mating is convenient and can be planned as part of its management; and once mating begins, considering the adequate proportion of rams/females, in addition to monitoring their performance during this event.

Study Limitations/Implications: To consider that the ram shows a good capacity for mating, capacity for service, libido, quality of semen, since it is responsible for a proportion of lamb production.

Findings/Conclusions: Reproduction in sheep is regulated by the photoperiod, genetic potential, nutritional status, health status and other factors, which are important both in the ram and in the female. Some sheep breeds have potential of prolificacy; a good reproductive management of the ram can influence these factors and increase the reproduction rate in the flocks.

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