Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Dock Length Has No Effect on Rectal Prolapse

At Texas Tech, researchers investigated the effects of sex, breed, docked tail length, and the expression of the callipyge phenotype on the incidence of rectal prolapse in lambs.

To test whether these factors influence rectal prolapse in a controlled feedlot environment, lambs (n = 382) representing both sexes and four breed types were assigned randomly to one of three docking treatments. In short-docked lambs, the tail was removed as close to the body as possible. In medium-docked lambs, the tail was removed midway between the attachment of the tail to the body and the caudal folds to the tail. Long-docked lambs had their tails removed at the attachment of the caudal folds to the tail.

Incorporating the callipyge phenotype into the study design assessed the effect of enhanced muscle development on rectal prolapse. The overall incidence of rectal prolapse in the study was 2.1 percent. Ewe lambs were no more likely to experience prolapses than male lambs. Seven of the eight (87 percent) lambs that prolapsed were hair sheep. No lambs expressing the callipyge phenotype prolapsed. There was no difference in rectal prolapse occurrence among the three docking treatments.

In the study, sex, tail dock length, and muscling did not appear to contribute to rectal prolapse in lambs. However, there may be an over-looked genetic component that influences the occurrence of prolapses in response to the practice of docking.

Source: Sheep & Goat Research Journal, March 2014

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Penn State Offers Home Study Courses

Penn State Extension offers several home study courses:  sheep, meat goats, beef, and livestock grazing. All are six week courses.

The next sheep, meat goat, and beef courses are scheduled to begin on February 4, 2015. The registration deadline is January 26, 2015. Registration is now open. Unfortunately, the livestock grazing course has already begun (October 15).

There are six lessons in each course.  Lessons are mailed weekly for six weeks. The first lesson will be mailed or emailed on February 6. Postal participants will receive a CD of materials. Participants read lesson materials and complete a worksheet. The worksheet is returned to the instructor for comments and suggestions for ways to improve the participant's own operation.

The cost of each course is $50 via internet/e-mail and $85 via the postal service.

Sheep Home Study Course
Meat Goat Home Study Course

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Effects of Preslaughter Diet Management

Researchers at Fort Valley State University (in Georgia) used 16 crossbred goats and wether sheep to investigate the effect of preslaughter diet management on physiological responses and microbial loads on skin and carcass.

Experimental animals were fed either a hay or concentrate diet for 4 days and then deprived of feed for either 12 or 24 hours prior to slaughter. Blood samples were collected to measure physiological responses. pH was measured in the Longisimuss dorsi muscle. Skin and carcass swabs were obtained to access microbial loads.

Skin swab samples collected from the sheep showed higher bacterial counts than goats. Behavior observations may have accounted for the difference, as sheep tended to spend more time lying down. Sheep fleece may also be responsible for picking up more fecal material in the holding pen. However, diet and feed deprivation did not influence skin contamination. Diet, species, and feed-deprivation also had no effect on E. coli and total coliform counts in carcass swabs.

Access full article from J. of Animal Science and Biotechnology

Other research regarding the effect of diet on bacterial loads has been contradictory. A 1998 Cornell University study demonstrated that cattle fed grain had much higher coliform and E. coli counts than cattle fed forage diets. The reverse was observed in a 1997 study at the University of Idaho, as artificially-innoculated sheep fed grass hay shed more E. coli and for a longer period of time than sheep fed a concentrate diet.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Fall 2014 Wild & Woolly

The Fall 2014 issue of Wild & Woolly has been published to the web at http://www.sheepandgoat.com/news/Fall2014.html.

A printer-friendly (PDF) version of the newsletter can be downloaded from http://www.sheepandgoat.com/news/PDF/Fall2014.pdf.

The newsletter is also now available on ISSUU, a digital publishing platform at http://issuu.com/mdsheepgoat/docs/fall2014/0.

Dorper sheep are featured in this issue of the newsletter.
Subscribe to the newsletter listserv to receive an e-mail message when a new issue of the newsletter had been posted to the web. To subscribe, send an e-mail message to listserv@listserv.umd.edu. In the body of the message, write subscribe sheepandgoatnews.

Wild & Woolly is a quarterly newsletter for sheep and goat producers and anyone else interested in small ruminants. It is published by University of Maryland Extension.

Access past issues of newsletter

Monday, October 13, 2014

Maryland's Beginning Farmer Program

University of Maryland Extension is proud to provide the Beginning Farmer Success program across the state. The Beginning Farmer Success program is targeted towards those who have been involved in agriculture for ten years or less. Special focus is paid to helping potential and new farmers establish business plans, scaling up their operations, and making smart production decisions for both crops and livestock.

Hannah Shear
These important topics are taught through workshops, conferences, and hands-on mentorships supported by the University of Maryland Extension, the Southern Maryland Agriculture Development Commission (SMADC), University of Maryland Eastern Shores (UMES), and Future Harvest.

In August, the Beginning Farmer Success Team welcomed Hannah Shear to the group to serve as program coordinator. Hannah was born and raised in Kentucky on a family farm that focused primarily on beef cattle and burley tobacco.Throughout her childhood she was surrounded by the rolling bluegrass pastures of central-eastern Kentucky. This access to plentiful pasture and a love for all things livestock led to Hannah’s desire to raise sheep.

If you have been farming for ten years or less and are interested in being a part of the Beginning Farmer Success Program you should sign-up and check out their website: http://extension.umd.edu/newfarmer.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Online Sheep Management Education

Continuing with providing various delivery methods of educational information, the Pipestone Lamb and Wool Program launched online courses so sheep enthusiasts can keep current in the comfort of their own home or office.

The most popular course is the Introduction to Sheep Management course (LWMP 1001).  This course is the online version of the successful home study course that provides an overview of annual sheep management. 

Other online course offerings include:
•    Equipment and Facilities (LWMP 1202)
•    Introduction to Sheep Health (LWMP 1300)
•    Ewe Ration Formulation (LWMP 1502)
•    Wool Characteristics and Properties (LWMP 1701)

Online sheep management courses are an excellent opportunity for youth and adults to learn more about sheep production within their own home or community.  These courses are offered each fall.  Registration continues until the middle of October. 

The Pipestone Lamb and Wool Program is a sheep management education/consulting program offered by Minnesota West Community and Technical College located at Pipestone, Minnesota.

For more information visit the Pipestone Lamb and Wool Program web page at www.pipestonesheep.com or contact one of the Lamb and Wool instructors: Philip Berg at  philip.berg@mnwest.edu or  (507) 825-6799; or Mike Caskey at mike.caskey@mnwest.edu or (507) 825-6808.

To register for one of the on-line courses contact Sue Lovell at (507) 847-7929 or sue.lovell@mnwest.edu.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Sheep Management Basics Workshop

On October 24-25, 2014, Virginia Tech will host a Sheep Management Basics Workshop. The workshop will be held at the Virginia Tech Jack Copenhaver Sheep Center in Blacksburg, Virginia.

The workshop is designed for individuals with a limited amount of experience in the care and management of sheep. Special emphasis will be placed on the management practices required during and around the time of lambing. Participants will get hands-on experience with a group of ewes that will be lambing during the two-day workshop. A one-day shortened version of this workshop is held in conjunction with the Shepherd's Symposium in January.

The cost is $40 per person. Registration is limited to 25 people.

Download program flyer

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Webinar on Antiparasitic Resistance

Emerging resistance to dewormers among internal parasites is a global problem in sheep, goats and other livestock that is now beginning to affect cattle production in North America. Scientists believe though, that the industry can limit the development and impact of resistant parasites through changes in management and control strategies.

Toward that goal, the FDA and American Veterinary Medical Association will present a webinar titled “Resisting Resistance: FDA’s Antiparasitic Resistance Management Strategy,” on Tuesday, October 14, 2014, from 11am to 12pm EST (10-11am CDT). The one-hour webinar is free of charge and open to the public.  It will focus on antiparasitic resistance in U.S. grazing livestock, FDA’s response to this animal health threat, and the current science related to slowing down further development of resistance.

To help combat this emerging problem, the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) started the Antiparasitic Resistance Management Strategy (ARMS), which promotes sustainable use of approved antiparasitic drugs in grazing animals.  Last year, CVM outlined its strategy in a publication titled “Antiparasitic Resistance in Cattle and Small Ruminants in the United States: How to Detect it and What to do about it.”


Friday, October 3, 2014

NSIP Needs Your Opinions

NSIP is seeking your input.

We need your opinions. If you click on the following link, it will take you to the survey. The survey should take less than 10 or 12 minutes to complete. Your answers will not be reported individually nor associated with your personal identity in any way.


This survey is being conducted by the National Sheep Improvement Association (NSIP), a non-profit group led by industry volunteers, whose sole purpose is to improve the quality of sheep and goats in the U.S. As a result of the American Lamb Industry Roadmap Project, which concluded that a major barrier to growth and prosperity in the U.S. sheep industry is quality, NSIP is taking a fresh look at how it can better serve the U.S. sheep and goat producer.

As a way of thanking you for your participation in this important project, we will draw the names of 10 participants who complete the survey and provide their contact information at the end of the survey to win a $50 VISA gift card.

Please provide your input today and thank you very much for participating!

Questions can be directed to research@nsip.org.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

What About New Dewormers?

Why does it take so long for new dewormers to become available on the market for small ruminants?  Some producers may be wondering: when are the drug companies going to bring out some new dewormers (anthelmintics)?  What is the problem?  Why are we having to rely on “old” drugs that, in many cases, are no longer working as they should?

To learn more, read the latest Timely Topic from the American Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control. It is written by Dr. Adriano Vatta, a veterinarian from Zoetis. Dr. Vatta was involved with the initial testing of the FAMACHA© system (in South Africa).

Read full article

Monday, September 29, 2014

Pen-fed vs. Pasture-Raised Goats: 2014 Results

For the past four years, the health, performance, and carcass characteristics of pen-fed vs. pasture-raised meat goats has been compared at the University of Maryland's Western Maryland Research & Education Center in Keedysville.

This year's results were similar to last year's, in which the pen-fed goats were healthier, performed better, and produced superior carcasses as compared to the pasture-raised goats.You can read the results of this year's study at http://www.sheepandgoat.com/programs/GoatTest/2014/2014PenPastureStudy.html.

The Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board has funded the pen vs. pasture study for the past three years.

Summary of 2014 Pen vs. Pasture Study

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

11th UMES Small Farm Conference

-- updated entry --

Organizers are pleased to offer two full days of conference activity for the 11th annual Small Farm Conference, slated for Friday and Saturday, November 7 and 8, on the campus of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. On-site registration begins at 11 a.m. on Friday with workshops starting promptly at 1p.m. Saturday’s program is set to begin at 9:15 a.m., with opening remarks. Registration will open at 8:30 a.m.

Along with diverse and informative agriculture-based sessions, conference highlights include a continuation of the new and beginning farmers track, another installment of the children’s AGsploration program, the popular home food preservation course, and a number of standout sessions that are sure to enhance farming activity on the Shore.  

For more information or to register online, visit www.umes.edu/1890-mce. Registration fees are $30 per person, $50 per couple, and $10 for each child who is registered without a registered parent.  Youth who attend with at least one accompanying parent may register and attend for free.  All registrations must be received no later than Monday, November 3.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sell Lambs for Upcoming Muslim Holiday

Muslim holidays have become increasingly important to the lamb (and goat) market. Typically, the demand for lamb (and goat) increases prior to major Muslim holidays.

Eid al-Adha (or the Festival of Sacrifice) is one of the two most important festivals in the Muslim calendar. Eid al-Adha is not to be confused with the other major festival, Eid al-Fitr, or festival of breaking of the fast, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Eid al-Adha marks the occasion when God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son, and at the last minute God replaced his son with a lamb. There is a similar story in the Jewish Torah and Old Testament.

To commemorate the story, Muslims usually sacrifice an animal. Usually, it is a sheep, but it can also be a goat, bull, or camel. The sacrificial animal must meet certain age and quality requirements. An intact male is usually required.

The meat from the sacrifice of Eid al-Adha is mostly given away to others. One-third is eaten by immediate family and relatives, one-third is given away to friends, and one-third is donated to the poor.

Eid al-Adha occurs on the same day of the Islamic calendar, but occurs 11 days earlier each year in the Gregorian calendar. This is because the Islamic calendar is lunar based and the Gregorian calendar is solar based. In 2014, Eid Al-Adha will fall on or around October 4.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Recap of 2014 Buck Test

This was the 9th year of the Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test, which is conducted at the University of Maryland's Western Maryland Research & Education Center in Keedysville.

The purpose of the test is to evaluate the post-weaning performance of meat goat bucklings consuming a pasture diet, with natural exposure to internal parasites, primarily the barber pole worm (Haemonchus contortus).

Two top-performing bucks:  California-bound
While on test, the bucks are evaluated for growth, parasite resistance, and parasite resilience. They are also scanned to determine their rib eye muscling and evaluated for reproductive soundness and structural correctness.

Read the recap of 2014 buck Test