Lambing and kidding Simulators

With lambing and kidding season approaching quickly, it’s never too early to be prepared. Whether you are a new or seasoned shepherd, we can all learn a thing or two when honing in our skills. For those interested in some visual and verbal practice as it relates to dystocia challenges, I encourage you to take 12 minutes over your lunch or in the evening to review how some of these difficult positions and challenges can be remedied yourself on-farm. Like what you see? Good news – our very own Jacci Smith, ANR Extension educator in Delaware County, will be traveling the Extension winter meeting circuit this year traveling with her simulator. Be sure to visit our page here weekly with announcements and updates on where you can catch her in-person next. Happy Shepherding!

Managing small ruminants to reduce complications at parturition

Michael Metzger, Michigan State University Extension Educator
(Previously published on MSU Extension, Sheep & Goat: October 12, 2018)

Kidding/Lambing is a very stressful time for small ruminants. Proper management leading up to delivery can help to reduce complications.

Pregnant animals have a few very important needs that are different from other livestock. The start of care for a pregnant animal should begin well before the actual breeding takes place. Does and ewes need to have an acceptable body condition score (BCS). Body condition scores in sheep and goats range from 1-5. They need to be neither too fat nor too thin to be able to have a heat cycle, become pregnant, and continue to support a fetus or multiple fetuses. This means that producers must have an adequate nutritional program in place for their breeding herd or flock.

Michigan State University Extension recommends that Continue reading

Preparing Sheep and Goats for Breeding Season

Michael Metzger, Michigan State University Extension Educator
(Previously published on MSU Extension, Sheep & Goat: September 7, 2022)

(Image Source: Michael Metzger, MSU Extension)

As fall approaches, so does the normal breeding season for most sheep and goats. Consideration for things like parasite count, hoof health, body condition scoring, and overall health of breeding stock should be evaluated prior to breeding.

Internal Parasites
All breeding stock, males and females, should be checked for internal parasites. The FAMANCHA eye scoring system allows small ruminant producers to make deworming decisions based on an estimate of the level of anemia in sheep. Animals that are showing a high FAMANCHA score (over 3) or have an elevated fecal egg count should be treated for internal parasites before breeding season. Managing internal parasites is an important management practice. Problems with parasites, especially gastrointestinal parasites, can cause irreversible damage and even death to the animal.

Hoof Care
Animals with long or damaged hooves should be trimmed before breeding season as well. You should inspect the animals’ hoofs and using a knife or hoof trimmers, remove any dirt, mud, manure, or stones from the hoof walls and then trim accordingly. A strong, rotten smell is often an indication of hoof rot, which can be treated by using a commercially available anti-fungal product.

Body Condition Scoring
Body Condition Score, or BCS, is a system used to Continue reading

Some Ideas About Crossbreeding Sheep

Gerlad Q. Fitch, Extension Sheep Specialist, Oklahoma State University
(Previously published by Oklahoma State University Extension: March, 2017)

Why do commercial producers crossbreed sheep-or any animal, for that matter? There are two reasons. First, no breed of sheep is best in all characteristics. If a producer combines the best characteristics of several different breeds, they have a chance to get a better combination than he could get with any one breed. This is called breed complementarity.

As an example of this, the Finnish Landrace sheep are extremely early maturing and have a very high lambing rate. They do, however, have relatively poor conformation, and the wool is of poor quality. Rambouillet sheep, on the other hand, produce excellent wool, but they do not have a high lambing rate and they are slow maturing. Neither of these two breeds excels in growth rate and carcass conformation. The meat breeds are also used to sire market lambs because they are growthier and produce excellent carcasses. The meat breeds are not well adapted to many conditions under which sheep are raised, however.

Another reason for crossbreeding is that Continue reading

Lambing and Kidding Assistance Survey

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

As your lambing and kidding season wraps up, we are hoping that you could help us better understand the prevalence of birthing assistance in small ruminants. Please take this quick survey to let us know your level of birthing assistance in your operation- even if it was zero.

Licking County Hosting Lambing and Kidding School

Dean Kreager, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Licking County

2022 Licking County Lambing and Kidding School

OSU Extension in Licking County and the Licking County Sheep Improvement Association are providing a Lambing and Kidding School on Thursday, October 20th from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. There will be no fee for this class, but we do require registration by October 17th.  Call 740-670-5315 to make your reservation. The location will be the Licking Valley Church of Christ at 158 Dayton Rd NE, Newark OH 43055.

With lambing and kidding seasons approaching, now is the time to prepare. Our class will discuss nutrition needs for nannies and ewes, pregnancy management from beginning to end and delivery techniques using hands on birthing simulators. Lunch will be included!