Monday, January 26, 2015

Workshop: Controlling Unwanted Vegetation

Use of Small Ruminants to Control Unwanted Vegetation is the title of a workshop to be held Saturday, February 21, 2015, at the University of  Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES).

The workshop will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Richard A. Henson Center on the campus of UMES. Several speakers will describe their practices, accomplishments, and challenges.

The cost of registration is $25 per person or $40 for couples.

View flyer

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

2015 Tennessee Small Ruminant Conference

The 2015 Tennessee Small Ruminant Conference will be held on July 30 - August 1 on the UT Ag Campus in Knoxville at the Brehm Animal Science Building. The conference will count for Tennessee Advanced Master Meat Goat and Sheep Producer certification, if needed.

The conference this year will be highlighted with a tour of the UT College of Veterinary Medicine, Portable Fencing Demonstration and Trade Show. This year's trade show vendors will give away door prizes including a tilt table and gates valued at $1450.00 donated by Ketcham's Sheep Supply, $250 in livestock supplies donated by Estep Livestock Show Supply and $250 in feed from Tennessee Farmer's Cooperative.

Pre-registration is required. The cost is $100 per individual or $160 per couple which covers the costs of the training sessions, educational manuals, other teaching/instructional materials and lunch all three days.

Download program brochure and registration form

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Winter 2015 Wild & Woolly

The Winter 2015 issue of Wild & Woolly has been published to the web at

A printer-friendly (PDF) version of the newsletter can be downloaded from

The newsletter is also now available on ISSUU, a digital publishing platform at

Savannas are the featured breed in this issue.
(image courtesy of North American Savanna Association)
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 In the body of the message, write subscribe sheepandgoatnews. You can also follow ISSUU to receive notification of new newsletters.

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.

Newsletter archive

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Vaccine Proving Effective

One of the most damaging and prevalent roundworm parasites in the world is now being seriously challenged by a new vaccine developed by the Moredun Research Institute in Scotland.

The barber pole worm or Haemonchus contortus is a voracious blood sucker which causes anaemia in sheep and goats and can quickly cause fatalities.

Barber pole worms (image by Ray Kaplan)
The long road to producing a commercially available vaccine started at the Moredun several years ago with the identification of the proteins in the intestines of the barber pole worm. Extracting and purifying these proteins and then incorporating them in tiny quantities in a vaccine has turned out to trigger a reliable immune response in sheep. Essentially the antibodies produced circulate in the bloodstream and then block the digestive system of the invading worm. It will eventually die and should produce far fewer eggs before its demise.

“We have noted a 90% reduction in egg laying on pastures,” said David Smith, project leader at the Moredun. Initially, Mr Smith considered using molecular biology to reproduce the proteins but soon discovered that it would be far cheaper and easier to harvest barber pole worms from the intestines of infested sheep and then extract the proteins.

Remarkably, no pharmaceutical companies are involved allowing profits to be recirculated back to the Moredun for further research into animal diseases.

Read full article

Friday, January 9, 2015

2015 Maryland Shearing School

The 2015 Maryland Sheep Breeders Association (MSBA) Sheep Shearing School will be held Friday and Saturday, April 17-18 (Friday and Saturday), 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Ridgely Thompson's farm at 1942 Uniontown Road, Westminster, MD 21157.

The school is open to anyone in Maryland, Delaware and surrounding states who wants to learn to shear sheep. The New Zealand method of shearing will be taught. Shearing machines will be provided. Blade shearing will not be taught. Instructors are Aaron Geiman and Emily Chamelin-Hickman. Aaron is an Agriscience teacher at North Carroll High School. Emily is a professional shearer.

The registration fee is $80 per person and includes a copy of ASI's Sheep Shearing Notebook and an instructional DVD. Pre-registration is required. No registrations will be accepted after April 5. Participation is limited to 20 people. The minimum age is 16. Checks should be made payable to the Maryland Sheep Breeders Association, Inc. and mailed to Aaron Geiman at 429 Hook Road, Westminster,  Maryland  21157.

Download registration form

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

2015: Year of the Sheep (Goat or Ram)

According to the oriental zodiac, 2015 is the Sheep. Depending upon the translation, 2015 is also called the Year of the Goat or Ram.

The Sheep (goat or ram) is the 8th sign of the zodiac, which consists of 12 animal signs. The animals follow one another in an established order and are repeated every 12 years: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig.

Each animal has particular characteristics and people born in a certain year are believed to take on those characteristics. People born in the Year of the Sheep are creative and have great artistic talent. They are easy-going and have good manners and charm.

Many traditions and celebrations are associated with the zodiac signs.

Monday, January 5, 2015

New Lambing & Kidding Resources

With the help of additional sponsors and partial funding from Northeast SARE, Cornell University has created two valuable resources for sheep and goat producers.

Kidding With Confidence is a Kidding Season Mentoring Program for Northeast Meat Goat Producers.

The Low Input Lambing & Kidding Guide is a Resource Guide for Managing Lambing and Kidding Without Sacrificing Animal Well Being. 

Additional copies of these publications can be ordered through the Cornell Sheep & Goat Extension Program, Room 114, Morrison Hall, Dept. of Animal Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2015 Regional Hay & Pasture Conferences

January 13 - 14 - 15 

Three regional Hay and Pasture Conferences across Maryland and Delaware will provide opportunities for farmers as well as agribusiness and agency personnel to obtain practical and quite useful information that can make a difference in the farm’s bottom line.  This winter’s series of Hay and Pasture Conferences will take a slightly different program approach, says Les Vough, University of Maryland Forage Crops Extension Specialist Emeritus and conferences coordinator.

Featured speakers this year will be Dr. James Green, Professor & Extension Forage Specialist Emeritus, Dept. of Crop Science, North Carolina State University, and Dick Kaufman, Regional Manager, W-L Research, Columbia, PA. A variety of other topics and speakers will round out the programs at each location.

Certified crop advisor, pesticide and nutrient management, and Conservation Planner certification credits will be offered. For more information or to obtain the complete program agenda and registration materials, contact your local extension or soil conservation district office or go to Upcoming Forage Events

Delmarva Hay & Pasture Conference
Southern Maryland Hay & Pasture Conference
Tri-State Hay & Pasture Conference

Monday, December 29, 2014

2015 Maryland Small Ruminant Expo

The first-ever Maryland Small Ruminant Expo will be held Saturday, February 28, 2015, at the Frederick County 4-H Camp & Activities Center in Frederick, Maryland.

The all-day event will feature separate educational programs for adults and youth. The adult program will be divided into four educational tracks: 1) Forage/pasture; 2) marketing; 3) production and health, and 4) alternative enterprises. Two tracks will be held concurrently.

Dr. Lindsay Lane
The youth program will include sessions related to fiber, dairy, meat, and science (wet lab). Activities will be mostly hands-on. Lunch will be a taco bar, with a choice of lamb and/or goat meat and sheep and/or goat milk cheese. Meats and cheeses will be sourced locally.

Speakers will include extension experts, as well as producers. One of the featured speakers will be Dr. Lindsay Lane. Before attending veterinary school in the Cayman Islands and Minnesota, Dr. Lane was the farm manager for the University of Maryland College Park. She managed the campus farm, which includes a flock of mostly Katahdin sheep.

Pre-registration is required by February 14. The registration fee is $35 per adult and $25 per youth (ages 8-18). You can register online line via EventBrite at You can pay by credit card, but there is a small fee to do so. Alternatively, you can mail your registration information and payment to the Maryland Small Ruminant Expo, Western Maryland Research & Education Center, 18330 Keedysville Road, Keedysville, Maryland 21756. Checks should be made payable the University of Maryland.

For more information, contact Susan Schoenian at (301) 432-2767 x343 or or go to

Download registration form

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Zactran® Eliminates Footrot

Gamithromycin (Zactran®) is macrolide antibiotic licensed for cattle in the treatment and control of bovine respiratory disease. It is not approved for sheep (or goats); however, it may be prescribed by a veterinary for extra-label use.

Foot rot is caused by the anaerobic bacterium Dichelobacter nodosus. D. nodosus does not survive for long in the environment, so the main reservoir of infection is in the animals. In theory, foot rot can be eliminated from a flock, through a combination of vaccination and/or antibacterial treatment (parenteral or topical) and/or culling of infected animals, coupled with good biosecurity.

In a German flock with a high prevalence of foot rot, 184 sheep were given the standard dose of Zactran® (6 mg/kg). The injection was given subcutaneously in the axilla. On day 23, 19 sheep were re-treated with Zactran®. On day 45, no lame sheep or positive lesion scores were observed.

In a Danish study, 48 flocks comprising around 9000 sheep were given the standard dose of Zactran®, subcutaneously on the side of the neck. Of the 48 participating flocks, 44 remained free of foot rot and D. nodosus more than one year later

The results from both studies showed that whole-flock, systemic antibiotic treatment can eliminate foot rot and D.  nodosus. In the Danish study, a single treatment with gamithromycin was sufficient. In the German flock, two treatments at an interval of 22 days were required to eliminate foot rot in some sheep.

Source:  Short Communication, Veterinary Record, January 2014

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

2015 Virginia Shepherds' Symposium

The annual Virginia Shepherds' Symposium will be held Friday and Saturday, January 9-10, 2015 at the Augusta County Government Center in Verona, Virginia.

The Symposium is open to all sheep producers from the Mid-Atlantic Region. It provides in-service training opportunities for extension personnel, educators and other professionals in sheep and related agribusiness industries. Youth are an important segment of the sheep industry and are invited to attend. The Symposium in accompanied by an industry trade show.

The pre-registration deadline is January 5. Full registration is $25 and includes lunch, breaks, and materials. Full registration for youth is $10. Registration fees increase after the January 5 deadline.

Download program brochure and registration form

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

2015 Winter Webinars: Pasture Management

Each year, the University of Maryland Small Ruminant Extension Program conducts a winter webinar series (short course). The theme of the 2015 webinar series is Pasture Management. The instructors will be Jeff Semler and Susan Schoenian.

The webinars will be held for five consecutive Wednesday evenings in February and March. All the webinars will begin at 7 p.m. EST and last for approximately one hour. An additional 30 minutes will be allotted for questions. Interaction will be via a chat box.

February 4
7 p.m.
Planning a pasture system
February 11
7 p.m.
Pasture plants, including alternative forages
February 18
7 p.m.
Pasture and grazing management
February 25
7 p.m.
Pasture nutrition
March 4
7 p.m.
Pasture health problems

The webinars will be conducted via Adobe Connect. Anyone with a connection to the Internet may participate in one or more of the webinars. A high speed internet connection is recommended. While pre-registration is not required, participation is limited to the first 100 people who log onto

All webinar participants are asked to subscribe to the University of Maryland webinar listserv. The webinar listserv is used to communicate with webinar participants and notify users of other webinars. To subscribe, send an e-mail message to In the body of the message, type subscribe sheepgoatwebinars.

2015 Winter Webinars: Pasture Management for Small Ruminant Producers

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Wise Man's Alfalfa

by Dr. Tom Terrill
Fort Valley State University

Because of its ability to tolerate infertile, acidic soils and grow well on sloping land with minimal lime and fertilizer inputs, the perennial warm-season legume sericea lespedeza (SL; Lespedeza cuneata) has earned the nickname "Poor man’s alfalfa." With recent research on the potential health and environmental benefits of including SL in the diet of ruminant animals, it may be time for a new nickname:  "wise man's alfalfa."

Dr. Tom Terrill
Like other forages that contain condensed tannins (CT), a compound that binds to protein when the plant is chewed and digested, SL is non-bloating. It also lowers the production of methane from the animal’s rumen, reducing the contribution of this powerful greenhouse gas to global warming.

However, for farmers trying to keep their livestock healthy during a period when anthelmintic drugs are rapidly losing their effectiveness, the excellent anti-parasitic properties of SL in fresh (grazed) or dried (hay, leaf meal, pellets) forms in the diet of sheep, goats, and other ruminants may be most important.

Read full article at

Be sure to read other Timely Topics from the American Consortium For Small Ruminant Parasite Control (ACSRPC). The consortium was formed in response to the critical state of the small ruminant industry associated with the emergence of anthelmintic resistant worms.