So Lush, So Green, and Oh So Poisonous

Keith Johnson, Extension Forage Specialist, Purdue University

(Image Source: Over-Boer’D Farm – Japanese Yew removed from a goat at necropsy)

For those that follow agricultural education, Extension, and livestock pages on social media, I am sure that within the last month you have saw a post shared from Over-Boer’D Farm who suddenly lost 39 goats due to Japanese Yew poisoning. With summer in full swing and outdoor household chores on the to-do lists, landscaping is sure to be one of those tasks. As a rule of thumb to avoid health issues with livestock, lawn and flowerbed waste should be composted or thrown out rather than be fed to livestock. This weeks short article comes to us from Keith Johnson, Extension Forage Specialist at Purdue University as he further shares the importance of when in doubt, throw it out. Enjoy!

It’s that time of year when the yew (pronounced like the letter “U”) is likely in need of a trim to look best as a landscaping plant. Yews have been used as a common landscaping shrub or small tree for decades. They have closely Continue reading

USDA Factsheet: Scrapie Animal Identification for Sheep and Goats

United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
Factsheet: December, 2020 / Official ID types for Sheep and Goats

National Scrapie Eradication Program: Animal Identification and Recordkeeping Guide for Sheep and Goats

(Image Source: USDA – Examples of Official USDA Sheep and Goat Scrapie Tags)

Scrapie is a fatal, degenerative disease affecting the central nervous system of sheep and goats. There is no cure or treatment for scrapie. The National Scrapie Eradication Program, coordinated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), has reduced the prevalence of scrapie in adult sheep sampled at slaughter by more than 99%. However, the cooperation of sheep and goat producers is needed to find and eliminate the last few cases in the United States.

Producers are required to follow federal and state regulations for officially identifying their sheep and goats. Producers must also keep herd records, showing what new animals were added and what animals left the herd/flock. This guide helps producers follow the regulations.

How to Get Official Eartags Continue reading

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.