Single sire joining certainly puts pressure on the mating process. We’ve used small paddocks for joining for many years, but 2020 was the first year we have single sire joined in dedicated containment areas. Due to the drought we had been using containment areas for the 3 months leading up to joining for all our ewes so the ewes were very much used to the system and the wheat and silage we were feeding.
It is important to make sure that feeding is regular and that there isn’t any chance of grain poisoning. If the ram gets acidosis from grain feeding he will probably become infertile.
Our containment areas have excellent natural shade from mature tree-lots on the northern fencelines. This reduces the risk of any heat related conception issues.
Containment area joining maintains close contact between ram and ewes, and provided there are no grain feeding issues, should result in excellent conception. Our results were marginally better in containment than in paddocks. We put this down to larger paddocks lending themselves to ewes being isolated from the ram for a large part of the day. Shade in two parts of a paddock may lead to the mob splitting in two, and with temperatures + 35 degrees, the stay separated all day. Maidens in particular may only be on heat for a shorter periods and so miss exposure to the ram.
Bouyed by the success of containment joining we are in the process of increasing to 5 containment areas. This will give us more options for both feeding and joining. The number of individual rams we can use is always limited by the number of available paddocks.
Planting trees on the northern side of containment area for shade and shelter.