Culling ewes is vital to flock profitability. No ewe should be retained for breeding if they are not producing lambs that reach target either for slaughter or breeding.
Throughout the year ewes should be marked or tagged that have problems. Records and identification are key to successful culling.
Six reasons to cull ewes:
1. Body Condition- (Body condition score less than three a month after weaning are unlikely to regain condition before tupping). Over fat ewes (Body condition score 4-5 at weaning may be barren or may not have reared their lambs.)
2. Udders- Mastitis, lumps or hard udders or current infections should be culled. They will not yield enough milk. Low or slack udders or large teats will also cause problems as lambs will struggle to suckle.
3. Reproductive problems- Barren (including abortions) and prolapse are the most common.
4. Teeth- ewes may not be able to retain their own body condition let alone rear two lambs.
5. Feet-Lameness- Ewes that are consonantly taking sore feet should be culled. Footrot can spread through the flock very rapidly.
6. Lambing score- If ewes had a very difficult lambing they should be culled or poor mothering ability which makes it difficult for lambs to suck.