When it comes to reproductive success in the livestock business, it’s no secret that good management coupled with high-quality nutrition program pays in high returns. With the goal of a 200% lamb crop, keeping the flock reproductively sound is a top priority, especially when utilizing the latest in advanced technologies like A.I. and embryo transfer.
Harrell Club Lambs, Indiahoma, Oklahoma, raises lambs that they sell to young exhibitors from coast-to-coast. With a demand for club lambs from California to West Virginia, Washington to Florida and places in between, it is vital to have plenty of high-quality, healthy lambs to meet their customers’ needs.
“I really like the overall health and appearance the sheep are getting from the DuraFerm®. Their consumption is right. It is a mineral that I can see they are eating, and I feel good about that. I know if they are eating it, they are getting the things they need in their system to perform,” said Tyler Rhoads with Harrell Club Lambs.
Rhoads uses the DuraFerm program on his breeding flock, which includes about 400 black-face crossbred ewes and 100 dorper ewes that he uses for recips. Of those crossbred ewes, nearly 50 of them are used for donor ewes in an extensive embryo transfer program. Rhoads will begin breeding around July 1 and has begun his ewes on the newest DuraFerm product that was just introduced in June, DuraFerm Sheep Concept•Aid® HEAT®. This is his third breeding season on the DuraFerm program.
Typically, while preparing to breed, and all year through, Rhoads will offer his ewes the DuraFerm Sheep Concept•Aid to keep them in top reproductive shape. He points out that individual embryos are expensive to put in, so anything he can do to prepare his donors and the recips is vital.
“From a reproductive standpoint, I’ve seen an increase in conception rates since starting them on DuraFerm. The best improvement is in my recips’ retention rates. Their preg rates are better, and they are carrying both embryos. I’ve seen that increase substantially the last two years, so I feel like they are getting the trace minerals that are tied to reproduction,” Rhoads said. “I’ve gone up almost an embryo per donor since switching to DuraFerm. I can contribute that to the mineral.”
He offers his ewes the DuraFerm Concept•Aid free choice year-round; however, when he is getting his donors set up to flush, he will add the mineral to their ration. He mixes the DuraFerm into his rams’ feed as well.
DuraFerm Sheep Concept•Aid is free-choice vitamin and mineral supplement for sheep specifically designed to target cycling, embryo production and conception when fed 30 days prior to lambing through breeding and is especially beneficial in A.I. and E.T. breeding programs. DuraFerm Sheep Concept•Aid contains Amaferm®, a precision-based prebiotic that impacts intake, feed digestibility and nutrient absorption for amplified breeding performance. This breeding supplement includes organic trace minerals for more stability and higher bioavailability, the balanced levels of high-quality vitamin and minerals required for growth, breeding and lambing and organic zinc and manganese, selenium yeast and high levels of vitamin E to support maximum reproduction and health.
“Overall, our sheep are just healthier thanks to DuraFerm,” Rhoads said.
When trying to increase the productivity of your flock, because every lamb counts, it’s nice to have a nutrition program you can count on.