Have You Prepared Your Barn for Lambing?

Dr. Gary E. Ricketts, University of Illinois, Department of Animal Sciences Emeritus Professor
(Previously published with University of Illinois Extension, Illinois Livestock Trail, Sheep and Goats: January 29, 1999)

Although this piece was originally published over 20 years ago, it still holds a lot of valuable information. As we enter the new year, lambs will be soon arriving and with the business of life it’s easy to forget some of the basics. No worries though, this piece will be sure to assist!

Having the barn ready before the first lambs arrive is one way to get the lambing season off to a good start. Not all ewes have a 150-day gestation period. There is considerable variation in gestation length and it may range from 143 days on the short side to 157 days on the long side. Gestation length is affected by many things such as breed, age, season of the year, and number of lambs, just to mention a few. A good rule of thumb is to have the barn ready by at least 140 days after the ram was turned in or the first ewe was marked. Consider the following in getting your barn ready: Continue reading

Barn Cameras: A Shepherd’s Saving Grace

By: Jacci Smith, OSU Extension Educator ANR/4-H, Delaware County

Just imagine: It’s the middle of February, minus 4 degrees outside, and 3:00 am. You roll out of bed, put on your coveralls and boots. Open the door to go check that ewe that wasn’t acting quite right at chore time. That bitter cold hits you in the face and boom you are wide-awake. Once you get to the barn, you look around and there is no lambing action. So you trek back to the house, take off your winter gear and try, and fail, to get back to sleep.

This is why the invention of barn cameras was so vital. Lambing season is a time of year that we all need to be on the top of our game. When you are run down without the proper sleep, this might not be the case. Barn cameras can be an amazing tool that shepherds can have if the right steps are taken. Continue reading

Do Sheep Really Need Hay?

By: Brady Campbell, Program Coordinator, OSU Sheep Team, Dr. Ale Relling, Assistant Professor, Department of Animal Sciences, The Ohio State University, Clif Little, OSU Extension Educator, Guernsey County

This question has been commonplace this year, especially with the inability of many producers to make hay at a reasonable time. However, this isn’t to say that there isn’t hay to be purchased, because there is, but rather that hay of acceptable quality at a reasonable price is nearly non-existent.

With this in mind, we challenge you to think about how generations before us fed low quality hay. It was simple right? Feed more of the lower quality material and allow the animals to choose which parts of the bale are the best. Then once they have eaten what they want, pitch the rest of it on the ground for bedding. This may be true, but what happens when we aren’t feeding enough of the ‘good stuff’? Continue reading

Lamb Industry Requires Further Change, says American Lamb Summit

Source: American Lamb Board
(Previously published in the ASI Weekly Newsletter – September 6, 2019)

Outcomes from the inaugural American Lamb Summit were clear: all segments of the industry need to further improve lamb quality to keep and attract new customers and become more efficient to recapture market share from imported lamb. Yet, it was just as clear that production technologies and product research put industry success within grasp. Continue reading

APHIS Announces Updates To Scrapie Regulations

From: Ohio Ag Net

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is updating its scrapie regulations and program standards. These updates include several major changes, which are needed to continue the fight to eradicate scrapie from American sheep flocks and goat herds. Scrapie is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy disease that affects the central nervous system in sheep and goats, and is eventually fatal. Continue reading

Event Notice – Buckeye Shepherd’s Symposium

By: Roger A. High, OSIA/OSWP Executive Director

The 2018 Buckeye Shepherd’s Symposium (BSS) will once again concentrate on a diversity of topics related to the success of the sheep operation both now and in the future.

This event is Nov. 30 through Dec. 1 at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC), Shisler Conference Center, 1680 Madison Ave., Wooster, OH 44691. Continue reading

Feeding Strategies to Increase Lamb Performance, Carcass Characteristics, and Consumer Acceptability

By: Brady Campbell, Program Coordinator, OSU Sheep Team

For most producers, maintaining high standards of animal welfare and increasing production efficiencies rank among the most important factors involved in livestock production. While focusing on production efficiencies, what can producers do in order to help make their livestock more efficient? Continue reading

Making Sense of Sheep

By Garth Ruff, OSU Extension Educator Henry County
For OSU Sheep Team

Last summer when my younger brother moved out of our parents’ house and on to a 25-acre farm just six miles down the road, we decided to get into the sheep business together. Growing up we had experience with beef cattle and hogs and quite honestly sheep were an afterthought until the purchase of this small farm. The previous owners had had a couple of horses and had row cropped the majority of the farm. After some research and number crunching, here are 6 things that we considered as first time shepherds. Continue reading

OSU Extension Sheep Team creates blog

Ohio’s shepherds now have a place to find all the latest information on sheep production, industry research conducted at Ohio State, and daily management tips. The recently rebuilt The Ohio State University Extension Sheep Team blog page can be found at http://u.osu.edu/sheep/.

The site is managed by the Sheep Team Program Coordinator, Brady Campbell, and includes contributions from the more than 25 Ohio State faculty and staff who each have unique interests in sustaining Ohio’s sheep industry. Continue reading