Ohio Coyote Ecology and Management Project

OSU Coyote Project,

Few animals elicit such strong, and opposing, emotions as the coyote. But love ‘em or hate ‘em, after decades of range expansion across the United States, coyotes are an established predator throughout Ohio. So, the question we can all agree on is: How do we minimize potential conflicts with coyotes in this state? And to answer that question, we need data.

Livestock production is a cultural and economic staple in Ohio but it differs in many ways from production in the western US, where most of the coyote research has been done. Although Ohio produces more sheep and lambs than any other state east of the Mississippi River, the average flock size is 36 head, which means the loss of even a single animal exacts a disproportionate financial toll from local operators. Additionally, ecosystems in the Midwest are vastly different than those in the west. For any management strategy to effectively protect against coyote predation in Ohio, we need to know more about Ohio coyotes. Continue reading

Lamb and Goat Production Seminar: Facility Design

Although a bit lengthy, this video highlighting concepts for improved feeding systems and converting existing structures to house small ruminants by Mike Caskey from Southern Arkansas University is worth the listen. If there is a topic that you are more interested in, feel free to select that section within the video using the Youtube app. Trust me, there are some note worth pieces shared here. Enjoy!

Keeping your Vaccines Viable

Tracey Erickson, former South Dakota State University Extension Dairy Field Specialist
(Previously published online with South Dakota State University Extension: November 18, 2021)

Vaccines are a vital part of keeping all livestock healthy. Vaccines help in the prevention of disease, which results in less utilization of antibiotics due to fewer sick animals. Vaccines provide protective immunity approximately 21 days following the initial vaccination in the majority of livestock. Some vaccines may require a booster vaccination(s) to ensure immunity for the period designated by the manufacturer. There are multiple factors influencing immunity, including but not limited to, medical history, vaccine type, method of administration, age, and species being vaccinated. A valid Vet-Client-Patient relationship will help you as you select the vaccine of choice for your livestock health program.

Vaccine Types
You are probably utilizing one of two types of vaccines: inactivated (“killed”) vaccines, which contain bacteria or viruses that have been inactivated by heat or chemicals, or modified-live virus (MLV) vaccines, which contain whole viruses that have been altered in such a way that, while they are able to multiply within the body, their ability to cause disease has been taken away.

So how do vaccines become worthless? Continue reading

Using Ram Lambs for Breeding

Ted H. Doane, Extension Sheep Specialist, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
(Previously published online the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension: August 1986)

Although this publication is a bit dated, it still provides quality content as it relates to the use of ram lambs for the upcoming breeding season. As producers begin to search for their next sire for 2022, remember not to discount some of the younger stock. As with anything else, diligent management and attention to detail will be of great benefit in the long run when it comes to the potential use of ram lambs in your operation.

This NebGuide explains how ram lambs can be most efficiently used in a breeding program and provides management suggestions for a successful program.

Are you planning to use a ram lamb this breeding season? If so, you should consider the capabilities and limitations of ram lambs.

It may be true that some well-grown, aggressive, vigorous, highly fertile ram lambs can settle 50 ewes and maybe more. However, these rams are exceptions. A good rule to follow for practical ram management is Continue reading

Solar Grazing 101

Currently, Ohio is slated to have approximately 85,000 acres of land put into photovoltaic (solar) energy production over the next decade. As our society continues to investigate alternative energy solutions, the face of agriculture will too. Although some see this opportunity as a loss of land, sheep producers have saw the silver lining as it relates to increased animal and forage production. For those that are interested in pursuing opportunities related to solar grazing and power generation, please reach out to your team at The Ohio State University as we are currently working in this field of work.

Broomsedge is Talking: Are you Listening?

Mike Rankin, Hay and Forage Grower managing editor
(Previously published in Hay & Forage Grower: June 14, 2022)

(Image Source: Hay and Forage Grower)

Among humans, most communication is accomplished by speaking or writing. However, there’s a whole world of science that studies what is called nonverbal communication. This is communication we convey simply by making certain body movements — a raised eyebrow, a slouched posture, a hand gesture, or a purposeful facial expression.

Unlike humans, plants have no choice but to speak to us using nonverbal communication. They wilt, turn various colors, contort with abnormal growth, or grow by leaps and bounds. As a farmer, analyzing our crops to see what they are telling us is an inherent and necessary activity.

There are some plants that speak to us simply by being present. Broomsedge is one of them.

It’s rare that you find broomsedge, a warm-season perennial grass, in Continue reading

How Do Sulfates in Water Affect Livestock Health?

Robin Salverson, South Dakota State University Extension Cow/Calf Field Specialist
(Previously published with South Dakota State University Extension: November 18, 2021)

Water sources that are often assumed to be safe, such as spring fed reservoirs and clear appearing water, can still be high in salts/sulfates. The visual appearance of water should not be used to determine if the water is good or bad. The only way to know if water is suitable for livestock is through testing.

Health Considerations
Poor-quality water will cause an animal to drink less. As a result, they also consume less forage and feed, which leads to weight loss, decreased milk production, and lower fertility.

Sporadic cases of polio can be Continue reading

Summer Grazing with Winter Confinement (Intensive Management) of Sheep

Marie S. Bulgin, DVM, MBA, DACVM, University of Idaho
(Previously published in the Merck Manual – Veterinary Manual: June, 2016)

These types of sheep enterprises tend to use veterinary services the most. Smaller backyard producers may use veterinarians to perform procedures such as vaccinating, docking/tailing, castrating, and hoof trimming as well as to treat sick animals. However, larger producers in many countries often perform these routine procedures themselves, using veterinarians for such things as cesarean sections and help with disease control.

Wool production is usually a minor concern on the smaller production units; the number/pounds of lambs marketed per ewe joined/bred is the major determinant of economic return. The greatest potential loss is caused by neonatal lamb mortality, resulting from abortion, mismothering, starvation, and hypothermia. Second to that may be lack of growth weight due to internal and external parasites, protein deficiency, and lack of highly digestible and palatable feed for young lambs. Intensive management and Continue reading

Need More Hay or Silage Storage? Consider a USDA Farm Storage Facility Loan

Eric Richer, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Fulton County

For many farmers and ranchers, on-farm storage is a key part of a comprehensive commodity marketing plan and improved feed storage. University research and practical experience has shown that forage feed quality is significantly better and storage losses are much lower when stored inside out of the weather (see Hay Storage Considerations, OSU 21-96 Fact Sheet). A unique farm program administered through the Farm Service Agency (FSA) is the Farm Storage Facility Loan (FSFL) program.  FSA is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) which uses this program to provide low-interest financing for producers to store, handle, and/or transport eligible commodities they produce. Many livestock and/or forage producers do not realize that flat storage and bunker-type storage structures are eligible as well as the associated trucks and handling equipment. Overall, the list of eligible commodities, facilities, equipment, and upgrades is quite impressive. Generally, they include the following: Continue reading

Respiratory Disease in Sheep

Dr. G.F. Kennedy, Pipestone Veterinary Services
(Previously published online with Ask a Vet – Sheep: January 13, 2018)

I posted a short article about Raspy Lambs and added a tag, pneumonia, and that tag has been constantly viewed so we decided we should broaden the scope. Respiratory disease is probably the most important disease in sheep and it can range from the insignificant such as OPP or the widely used term “barn cough”. It affects all ages and breeds and all differently. The OPP zealots would say its all OPP and guys like me would say its all Pasteurella. The Pasteurella, that doesn’t exist anymore, its now Mannheimia. Basically with respiratory disease in sheep we are working with gram negative bacteria that respond to drugs like Nuflor, Oxytetracycline, Draxxin and others. Penicillin doesn’t help. My method of administration is Continue reading