Poisonous Plants to Livestock

J.M. Luginbuhl, Extension Specialist (Goats and Forage Systems), North Carolina State University
(Previously published online with NC State Extension: September 17, 2020)

As winter feed supplies run low and with producers eager to turn livestock out to pasture this spring, do yourself and your stock a favor by scouting for poisonous plants in your pasture this spring.

Factors contributing to plant poisoning are starvation, accidental eating, and browsing habits of animals. Starvation is the most common reason. Most woodland or swampy-ground pastures contain many species of poisonous plants. These are usually eaten only when animals have nothing else to eat.

Animals accidentally eat certain plants as they graze. A notable example of this is water hemlock. This plant emerges in wet areas, which are the first to become green in early spring. Animals eager to eat Continue reading

7 Ways to Maximize Manure as Fertilizer

Tom Bechman, Editor, Indiana Prairie Farmer
(Previously published in Indiana Prairie Farmer: April 6, 2021)

Corn Illustrated: Timing of applications and management of manure are important factors.

Big livestock operations produce lots of manure. In fact, some producers sell it to neighbors. More people are recognizing the value of manure in high-yield corn production systems.

If you want to get the most value from manure, Jim Camberato suggests understanding the basics of manure management and applying common sense. “It can be a good source of nutrients, but you need to handle it correctly and account for application timing and method, among other things,” says Camberato, a Purdue University Extension soil fertility specialist.

Camberato shared basic manure management guidelines virtually with Indiana Certified Crop Advisers recently. Here are seven tips based upon his suggestions. Continue reading

2021 Small Ruminant Webinar Series: Commercial Sheep Culling Criteria

In Webinar #3 of the 2021 OSU Small Ruminant Webinar Series, Dalton Huhn, Research Assistant at the OSU Eastern Agricultural Research Station, gives viewers an overview of the culling criteria used to maintain the flock at the research farm.

Thank you all for joining us for the 2021 OSU Small Ruminant Webinar Series! If you have any comments on how we can improve or ideas for future webinars, please contact Brady Campbell at campbell.1279@osu.edu or Christine Gelley at gelley.2@osu.edu

Lamb Creep Area Design

In Webinar #1 of the 2021 OSU Small Ruminant Webinar Series, Tim Barnes presented on the development, design, and importance of providing a creep feed area for young lambs and kids. This is an important management tool that can be used to maximize lamb and kid growth. Location, feeder design, entry gate options, and ventilation are considerations for commercial or purebred flocks. For those interested in following the remainder of our 2021 OSU Small Ruminant Webinar Series, be sure to register here.

Care of Newborn Kids

Dr. U. Karki, Cooperative Extension Program, Tuskegee University
(Previously published with eXtension – Goats: August 14, 2019)

Survival and increased performance of newborn kids significantly improves goat producers’ likelihood of success in the goat industry. The objective of good care and management of newborn kids is to minimize death and enhance health and performance. In most situations, does take care of their kids and minimal attention may be required by owners. Does with good mothering ability — the capability to care and raise kids successfully — and experience clean their kids by licking immediately after kids are born. Does bleat time to time to communicate and get the kids’ attention. Kids in good health and condition stand up, seek teats, and suckle within half an hour or so after birth. These actions of does and kids develop a maternal bond. Early development of a maternal bond is crucial for the survival and growth of newborn kids. Does keep their kids nearby and protect them from other animals in the herd. Does nourish their kids by producing and feeding colostrum and milk. Well-fed does provide sufficient Continue reading

Colostrum and Milk Management for Newborn Lambs and Kids

In Webinar #1 of the 2021 OSU Small Ruminant Webinar Series, Brady Campbell presented on Small Ruminant Management: Colostrum and Milk. This ten minute segment covers the importance of colostrum for newborns, sourcing and storing colostrum and milk, and choosing appropriate methods of administering aid if young need assistance. For those interested in following the remainder of our 2021 OSU Small Ruminant Webinar Series, be sure to register here.

Newborn Lamb Care Management

Jeffery Held, Professor Emeritus of Animal Science, South Dakota State University
(Previously published online with South Dakota State University Extension: December 19, 2018)

Proper newborn lamb care is a critical component of flock profitability. In the U.S. lamb mortality from all causes is approximately 20% with more than 80% of those losses occurring in the first two-weeks following lambing. Yet a solid lamb care management plan coupled with a few key tools in the lambing barn can sharply improve the number of lambs reared per-ewe. Generally, the top causes for newborn lamb losses are starvation, hypothermia (cold stress), respiratory disease, and scours followed by injury. Theoretically, these categories each stand alone, however the reality is often two-or-three of these occur simultaneously. Producers that develop a lambing time-management plan to incorporate appropriate lambing tools and gain key skills on newborn lamb care will benefit from less labor input and expense with a greater number of lambs weaned.

In the winter, lambing management systems common to the Upper Midwest have simple lambing tools that can help reduce common problems with newborn lambs, including starvation, hypothermia, and injury. Continue reading

Lambing and Kidding Simulator

Looking for tips and tricks on how to deliver lambs and kids in difficult situations? Practice makes perfect! Be sure to check out OSU Extension’s Jacci Smith as she demonstrates how to work through some of these difficult situations using a visual simulator.

Managing Risk: Using Heat Lamps on the Farm

Michael Glos, Cornell University Guest Writer
(Previously published with Cornell Small Farms Program: April 7, 2014)

No farmer wants to have a fire, but we all practice fire prevention in different ways.

It is an accepted premise that farming is a daily lesson in managing risk. Some farmers are more risk averse than others but we all find our comfort level and work from there. For example: I am not comfortable borrowing $100,000, while I know other farmers of my same scale who are. The risk of a fire on the farm is another area which is managed differently by each farmer. No farmer wants to have a fire, but we all practice fire prevention in different ways. Continue reading

Colostrum and Health of Newborn Lambs

Dr. Dan Morrical, Extension Sheep Specialist, Iowa State University
Dr. Nolan R. Hartwig, Extension Veterinarian, Iowa State University
Dr. Curtis Youngs, Animal Science Associate Professor, Iowa State University
(Previously published online with Iowa State University Extension: June 1995)

(Image Source: Cindy Roesinger)

I was always taught that repetition is the key to learning and that in order to fully understand a concept, viewing it from different angles always helps. Although this article is a bit dated, it provides the basics of an important timely concept. Good luck with your 2021 lambing/kidding season and enjoy this quick read from Iowa State University!

Keeping newborn lambs alive and healthy is the greatest management challenge facing sheep producers. An important strategy for meeting this challenge is making sure that lambs receive adequate colostrum during the first two to three hours of life. The effect of colostrum on the health, survival, and performance of newborn lambs cannot be overrated.

The Importance of Colostrum
Colostrum is the “first milk” that ewes produce after lambing. Colostrum has a high level of several nutrients that are important for lamb health and performance. Colostrum also contains Continue reading