We believe that annual ram soundness testing is an important part of ensuring that you get the best from your sheep flock. Any ram soundness test should involve two parts – palpation and blood sampling. Palpation ensures that there are no abnormalities that will affect fertility of the ram; some abnormalities the ram may be born with while others can develop with time so may be seen in older rams. Abnormalities we see (feel) commonly include cryptorchidism, abscesses, scrotal hernias and testicular atrophy. Blood samples are taken from the neck and ensure that rams are not infected with Brucella ovis. B. ovis causes poor fertility of affected rams and can spread rapidly through a ram flock – in some instances where B. ovis is found in a flock, the whole ram flock needs to be replaced making it an expensive exercise. Knowing that your rams are ready to go should give you confidence that you don’t need lots of spares.