Health Care

Score3.8 (8 Votes)

Target Sheep - Pre-joining

Optimising the health and productivity of your livestock

Pre-joining management considerations

Reproductive performance is a key determinant of profitability. Merino ewes are typically joined to coincide with their peak natural cycling activity between March and May to lamb one month before peak pasture production. First-cross or meat breed ewes are typically joined one or two months earlier.

Ninety percent of Merino ewes and 95% of crossbred ewes should conceive in the first two cycles (35 days) of the joining program to ensure a tight lambing period.1 The objective, therefore, is to optimise fertility (i.e. the ability to conceive) and fecundity (i.e. the number of embryos per ewe) in this short period.

Increasing pregnancy and overall conception rates can have a significant and lasting beneficial impact on the productivity of your flock. More lambs will be born earlier and will reach market specifications and/ or critical joining weights sooner. Likewise, ewes will have more time to regain body condition before the next lambing.

Animal health considerations

A comprehensive animal health program before joining can optimise the health and reproductive performance of ewes by:

  • ‘Topping up’ levels of essential trace minerals in ewes and rams to boost the immune system and optimise fecundity, embryo survival and sperm quality.
  • Protecting ewes against internal parasites, including roundworms and liver fluke, and helping to create low worm-risk pastures for lambs.

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    • MULTIMIN® is a unique trace mineral injection that makes replacement and mature ewes and rams ‘performance ready’ by improving immunity and fertility2-11:

    - Rapidly-absorbed ‘top up’ of essential trace minerals.11*
    - Optimises the reproductive and immune systems.2-11
    - Prolonged antioxidant activity.4
    - Contains no cyanide, an ingredient which may reduce antioxidant synthesis.21
    - Scientifically-proven to improve health and performance.

    • An Australian study has shown MULTIMIN optimises the number of lambs born by improving fecundity and reducing embryo loss.12

    • The provision of trace minerals can have a positive effect on sperm concentration, motility and morphology in rams.13,14


    OVASTIM is a vaccine that blocks the effect of androstenedione, a naturally occurring hormone that regulates ovulation. It allows more ova to be presented for fertilisation, increasing the number of twin-bearing ewes. OVASTIM may also produce a small increase in the number of triplet-bearing ewes, particularly in flocks where fecundity is already high.

    Australian trials have confirmed OVASTIM can significantly boost ovulation and lambing rates. A series of 10 trials involving nearly 2100 crossbred and non-Merino ewes (1052 control and 1025 treated) showed treatment with OVASTIM increased lambing rates by 10 to 43% and averaged 23% across all trials.19


    CYDECTIN® LONG ACTING INJECTION FOR SHEEP provides persistent protection against the three most economically-significant parasite species in sheep:

    - Barber’s pole worm (91 days).
    - Small brown stomach worm (91 days).
    - Black scour worm (49 days).

    CYDECTIN LONG ACTING INJECTION FOR SHEEP delivers the power of moxidectin, potency and persistency in a low volume formulation.15

    • Alternatively, consider TRIDECTIN® for fast, powerful and lasting broad spectrum control of worms in sheep:

    - Delivers the trusted power of moxidectin in a unique three-way formulation.
    - Controls worms with single, double or triple resistance to white, clear, ‘mectin’ or monepantel drenches.15
    - Patented micellar formulation technology for rapid absorption and improved stability.16-19
    - Helps to protect the efficacy of all active ingredients.

    Cydectin LA Sheep Tridectin


    • Liver fluke can kill sheep acutely but mostly cause production losses through blood loss, ill thrift and loss of appetite that’s not always apparent.
    • All sheep in endemic regions should be treated with an effective flukicide in autumn and spring (and other times as required).
    • Most flukicides do not protect against two week old fluke, which causes severe damage to the liver.
    • There is widespread resistance to triclabendazole drenches that may require adding Closicare to the management program.20
    FLUKAZOLE® C is registered for the control of early immature (including two week old stage), immature and adult liver fluke in sheep.15
    • If triclabendazole resistance is confirmed on your property, Closicare can be used to control mature and immature liver fluke including six week old fluke.

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1. Making more from sheep. Module 8: Wean more lambs. Meat & Livestock Australia, 2008. 2. Mundell, L. et al. (2012). Effects of prepartum and postpartum bolus injections of trace minerals on performance of beef cows and calves grazing native range, Professional Animal Scientist, 28:82-88.# 3. Teixeira, A. et al. (2014). Effect of an injectable trace mineral supplement containing selenium, copper, zinc, and manganese on immunity, health, and growth of dairy calves. J. Dairy Sci., 97:4216-4226.# 4. Machado, V. et al. (2013). Effect of an injectable trace mineral supplement containing selenium, copper, zinc, and manganese on the health and production of lactating Holstein cows. Vet. J. 197:451-6.# 5. Berry et al. (2000). Oklahoma State University Animal Science Report, 980:61-64.# 6. Richeson, J. et al. (2006). Supplemental trace minerals from injection for shipping-stressed cattle. AAES Research Series, 574: 85-88.# 7. Arthington, J. et al. (2014). Effects of trace minerals on measures of performance and trace mineral status of pre- and post-weaned beef calves. J. Anim. Sci., 92:2630-2640. 8. Roberts et al. (2015), J. Anim. Sci., 93:S3.# 9. Palomares, R. et al. (2016). Effects of injectable trace minerals on humoral and cell-mediated immune responses to Bovine Viral Diarrhea Virus, Bovine Herpes Virus 1 and Bovine Respiratory Syncytial Virus following administration of a modified-live virus vaccine in dairy calves. Vet. Immunol. Immunopathol., 178:88-98.# 10. Ball, M. (2016). Trace mineral injection enhances antibody response to botulism vaccination. AVA Proceedings, Adelaide. 11. Hansen (2007), Iowa State University, Department of Animal Science. 12. Swaney, S. (2014). Increasing conception rates in sheep by using an injectable trace mineral product prior to joining in diverse regions across Australia. Virbac data on file. 13. Ghorbani, A. et al. (2018). Influences of dietary selenium, zinc and their combination on semen characteristics and testosterone concentration in mature rams during breeding season, J. Appl. Anim. Res., 46(1):813-819. 14. Piagentini, M. (2017). Effect of selenium supplementation on semen characteristics of Brazil’s ram. Reprod. Domest. Anim. 52(3). 15. Refer to registered label. 16. Porter, C.J., et al. (2007). Lipids and lipid-based formulations: optimising the oral delivery of lipophilic drugs. Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, 6(3):231. 17. Torchilin, V.P. (2001). Structure and design of polymeric surfactant-based drug delivery systems. Journal of Controlled Release, 73(2), pp.137-172. 18. Rangel-Yagui, C.O., et al. (2005). Micellar solubilisation of drugs. J. Pharm. Pharm. Sci, 8(2):147-163. 19. Virbac data on file. 20. Kelley, J. et al. (2016). Current threat of triclabendazole resistance in Fasciola hepatica. Trends in Parasitology, 32(6):458-469. 21. Pezacka, E., Green, R., & Jacobsen, D. W. (1990). Glutathionylcobalamin as an intermediate in the formation of cobalamin coenzymes. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, 169(2), 443-450. #The Multimin formulation in this study contained different levels of minerals compared to the registered formulation in Australia. Benefits outlined in these scientific studies are not all registered label claims. ®Cydectin, Eweguard, Flukazole, Multimin, Tridectin and Weanerguard are registered trademarks of Virbac. *Registered trademarks.