Opportunity to Weigh in on Wildlife/Coyote Management in Ohio

(Image Source: Ohio Department of Natural Resources)

Researchers at The Ohio State University are inviting interested rural residents and producers to participate in an online survey on wildlife management. Specifically, this study seeks to gather opinions on coyote management in the state of Ohio, with a focus on describing how rural residents and producers feel about a variety of human-coyote conflict scenarios.

For those interested in supporting this research endeavor, please follow this link or the one provided above to access the survey. Your contribution to this research project is appreciated and will greatly benefit all small ruminant producers of Ohio!

OSU Extension Mid-Ohio Small Farm Conference – Sowing Seeds for Success

Carri Jagger, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Morrow County

OSU Extension Mid-Ohio Small Farm Conference – Sowing Seeds for Success scheduled for March 12, 2022 at the Mansfield OSU Campus.

No need to feel alone in the field. Our new and small farm conferences provide connections that will last long after the event.

  • Do you own a few acres that you want to be productive but you’re not sure what to do?
  • Do you have a passion for farming and turning your piece of this wonderful earth into a food producing oasis?
  • Do you own land or forest that you’re not quite sure how to manage?
  • Do you raise or produce products that you would like to market and sell off your farm but you’re not sure how to make it successful?

Continue reading

Indoor Housing Systems for Sheep and Goats

Dr. Brady Campbell, Assistant Professor, State Small Ruminant Extension Specialist

“What type of barn do I need to raise XXX ewes/does indoors?” This question and many others similar to it have been common place over the past year and for good reason. Take a look at the market price for any type of sheep or goat on the auction block today. Feeder lambs, fat lambs, and finished kids are bringing record prices and have continued to sustain these values well beyond the holiday season. These unique opportunities present our industry with some interesting challenges as higher feeder lamb prices make it difficult to buy and feed lambs for the finished market. It also makes it difficult to hold onto a group of replacement females when you could capitalize on the profits of the slaughter market. Additionally, cull ewes prices are up which makes culling this year easier than ever. However, what hasn’t been immediately considered is the effect of culling a large number of ewes. My question is – will this decision further complicate supply chain issues in the near future? With this background, its no wonder why my leading question is of great interest to producers from across the nation. Raising small ruminants indoors improves overall animal management, thus leading to improved efficiency resulting in more lambs and kids available for market. Continue reading

Winter Management Timeline and Strategies for Sheep and Goats

Presented by the University of Idaho and Utah State University, this 2-hour webinar covers management strategies for sheep and goats both pre- and post parturition. Understanding that 2-hours can be a chunk of time to view all this information, the presenters have provided excellent slide titles that allow for producers to seek out the information that they are specifically in need of. Whether you raise, sheep, goats, or both, this complete and comprehensive presentation is well worth the investment of time. Enjoy!

What to do with Compacted Pastures?

Erika Lyon, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Jefferson and Harrison Counties

During the last couple of weeks in December and into early 2021, eastern Ohio saw warmer-than-usual temperatures and a lot of rain. What does this mean for our pastures and hay fields?

With rain comes the mud, and with mud often comes compaction. Compaction in forage crops often occurs within the top 3-4 inches of soil, but it can also appear at deeper levels, forming “hard pans” that restrict the movement of water.

Compacted soils mean reduced pore space to house water and air — two important components of healthy soils. Nearly half of soils should consist of pore space, whether macro- or micro-pores to allow roots to develop deeper and water to better infiltrate downwards.

Compaction can ultimately lead to Continue reading

Winter Feeding Guidelines for Sheep and Goats

Rory Lewandowski, Retired OSU Extension Educator ANR

The number of sheep and goats, especially sheep, has grown in recent years in Ohio. Several of these flocks and herds are pasture-based enterprises and the sheep and goats have limited access to an indoor barn or shed. Both sheep and goats are capable of adjusting to winter temperatures by maintaining a wool fleece or growing a thick, insulating hair coat in the case of goats and hair sheep. In fact, these animals most often prefer to be outside on a winter day, even if they have access to a barn or shed. The caveat to this statement is that the ration must meet the nutritional requirements balanced to the production stage. The energy content of the ration must increase when winter weather results in a temperature condition below the animal’s lower critical temperature. In addition, animals should have access to a shelter to protect from winter winds and resulting wind chill and hair coat animals should have access to protection from rain/sleet, or wet snow events.

Sheep and goats, like all livestock, have a temperature range in which the animal is most comfortable, and provides optimum conditions for body maintenance, and health. The lower boundary of that temperature range is termed the lower critical temperature (LCT). That LCT is dependent upon the animals insulating hair coat and weather conditions. When weather conditions result in temperatures below the LCT, the animal’s metabolism must Continue reading

Improving Reproduction in Sheep

With lambing season on the forefront of every shepherds mind, I think that it is timely to have some discussion revolving around the reproductive efficiency of our flocks. Nationally, the average lambing rate is slightly over 100%. For those operating small flocks, we both know that those types of numbers won’t cut it. So, what can we do as managers and producers to improve the reproductive efficiency of our flocks? Supported by the Let’s Grow Program sponsored by the American Sheep Industry, Dr. Paul Kenyon from Massey University discusses tools for producers to use to improve the lambing season. In this video, Dr. Kenyon reviews topics such as nutrition management, ewe and ram care, weight and condition score targets that should be met, and much more. I know you have time this winter while observing your flock anxiously awaiting the next set of lambs. Put your earbuds in to have a quick lesson while you keep shepherding away.

Are You Ready for Birthing Season?

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, College of Veterinary Medicine
(Previously published online with the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, College of Veterinary Medicine: January 2, 2019)

You’ve worked hard to get your livestock bred and maintain a normal production cycle. It’s almost time for that amazing event: giving birth (or, in veterinary terminology, “parturition”).

It’s understandable to be a little nervous about birthing season. After all, a year’s worth of work is at risk.

The good news is that the process works as it was intended to about 90% – 95% of the time.

Remember the ’30 minute rule’: Cows should make significant progress towards delivery every 30 minutes. Sheep and goats should deliver within 30 minutes. Allow 30 minutes to correct a problem if the labor is not progressing normally. Call a veterinarian sooner rather than later if the problem cannot be corrected quickly!

For the 5% – 10% of animals that Continue reading

Neonatal Lamb Management: Intraperitoneal Injection of Dextrose (Glucose)

Adapted from ‘What You Need to Know About Lambing’ presentation by Dr. Ileana Wenger.
Article, Text, and Tables provided by: Alberta Lamb Producers Factsheet
For additional information: Consult with your local veterinarian and/or additional neonatal management resources provided by Alberta Lamb Producers.

(Image Source : Farm Advisory Service)

As you have heard me say many times in the past, repetition is the key to learning. The reposting of this detailed article on the topic of intraperitoneal injection is no different. In talking with some shepherds as well as viewing comments and videos online in the past few days, this invaluable technique has already been implemented this season to save a number of young lambs as shepherds face challenges with the extreme fluctuations in temperatures. I can attest that this protocol works. Last year I used this article to follow the step-by-step process of this procedure. In our specific case, the lamb made a full recovery. This isn’t to say that this is a surefire way to save lambs, but it is a tool to consider to improve your odds when all other options have been exhausted. Who knows, a few minutes of reading may end up saving you a chunk of change this lambing and kidding season.

Most lamb deaths that occur shortly after birth are due to starvation and/or hypothermia (low body temperature). These losses are most often preventable, and lambs can be saved if problems are identified and treated quickly.

Why is timing important? Continue reading

Reduce Labor at Lambing Time

Supported by the American Sheep Industry Let’s Grow Program, instructors from Pipestone Lamb and Wool Program provide their insight on identifying keys factors that may reduce labor during the lambing season. Labor saving suggestions revolve around watering, feeding, and bedding systems in addition to barn layouts to improve animal flow throughout the system.

Ryegrass Staggers Affects Unusual Number of Animals in Ohio

Dean Kreager, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Licking County

(Image Source: Lugtenburg et al., 2016)

In2021 we were able to live by the motto, “if it can happen, it will.” Back in August and September, I heard reports of area farms having animals diagnosed with ryegrass staggers. Not being familiar with this condition, I did some research and went out to visit one of these farms.

Just as a reminder, this was the same time that many farms in this part of the country were also battling fall army worms in hayfields and pastures. These are both uncommon occurrences in our area, but appeared at nearly the same time.

If you have never heard of ryegrass staggers, I’m not surprised. This issue is usually reported in Continue reading