A farmer who paid top price for a pedigree Cheviot ram has allegedly been left at a loss after the animal apparently refused to serve his ewes.

The farmer, who wishes to remain anonymous for legal reasons, purchased the ram last year and then let him in with a batch of ewes.

In the two months between purchase and breeding, he said the ram was kept with a small number of other new rams, getting well fed and that there was no fighting.

All the farmer’s ewes had been with teaser rams for two weeks prior to breeding. He said when the new Cheviot ram was joined with his small group of ewes, he was raddled to monitor breeding activity.

Several other tupping groups, in fields adjacent to the new ram and his ewes, saw lots of mounting over the first few days of breeding, according to the farmer.

However, he alleges that “not a single ewe” was marked by the new ram, who was found to always be away from the ewes, grazing and disinterested.

Frustrated, the farmer said he quickly purchased two new rams to join the Cheviot ram’s group in order to “encourage” him. He said these rams were raddled with a different colour to distinguish their activity from the problem ram and that they immediately began to breed and mark ewes.

The sheep farmer observed as the ram remained disinterested in the ewes.


Concerned and frustrated due to the big money he had spent on the ram, the farmer sought veterinary advice. The ram was tested and found to be semi-fertile, with “some good and some bad swimmers”.

The vet’s analysis was, in his opinion, that the ram was “not infertile but just lazy”, said the farmer.

Fall back

The sheep farmer has contacted the ram’s breeder to explain the situation and seek a solution, but has not been able to resolve the matter.

He said in legal letters between the two parties, the ram breeder has contested that he did not sell the ram as “correct and working”.

However, the farmer asserts he saw video evidence from the ram sale where the auctioneer stated exactly this. Contacted by the farmer, the auctioneer has said it is an issue between the breeder and ram owner themselves.