Daddy why do we paint the rams belly?

Growing up on a farm they’re always questions to be asked by our young family and its daddy’s job to answer them.

So why do we paint the Rams belly? It’s the start of the early breeding season on many sheep farms across Ireland. Rams are about to be set loose to do their annual work.

‘Raddling’ the ram is where you paint the rams breast done with a vegetable oil based bright marking fluid. Bright pink, purple, blue, red, green or yellow. When the ram successfully mates a ewe, he leaves his mark for the farmer to see. Then we know what ewes are have been served. The raddle colour is changed after 16 days so we can tell if any ewes have repeated their cycle and if the ram is in full working order.

Both our rams Hamilton our New Zealand Romney and Harney our Vendeen ram are on active duty this week. They look like participants in the Holi Festival, where Indian Hindu devotees throw colored powder during celebrations. Some thing tells me they are happy out.

As you drive around rural Ireland this autumn take a look at the bright colours on the back of the ewes, this is the start of the work which brings the fields full of lambs in springtime.

Share this story