Meat Goat Production and Budgeting

Tony Nye, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Clinton County
Robert Moore, Extension Associate, Agriculture, Environmental, and Development Economics

Interest in meat goats has grown rapidly in Ohio over the past 10 years. Goat is the most frequently consumed meat in the world. In the United States, meat goat production is growing because of goats’ economic value as efficient converters of low-quality forages into quality meat, milk, and hide products for many specialty type markets.

A big reason for the growing popularity of meat goats in this country is the large number of ethnic groups who have settled in this country and who prefer goat meat, milk, and cheese products. The meat goat is popular for another reason. Where resources are limited, a small herd of goats may be the only livestock enterprise that a small, part-time farmer can raise efficiently and profitably and become self-sufficient. In Ohio, goats are growing in popularity as a popular 4-H or FFA youth project, and many youth are raising meat goats for breeding or show. Continue reading

Starting a Sheep Enterprise

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

Before getting into the sheep business, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do I like sheep?
  2. Will sheep fit into my current operation?
  3. What size of sheep operation do I want?
  4. Do I have adequate facilities to handle the number I want?
  5. Will I have an adequate feed supply?
  6. Do I want to lamb in the spring or fall?
  7. What breeds should I select to achieve my goals?
  8. When and where can I market my lambs?
  9. Could I have a predator problem?

Why Raise Sheep?
There are several reasons why you might want to consider raising sheep. Sheep are more efficient than beef cattle in the conversion of forage to retail product. The initial investment required to begin a sheep enterprise is relatively low. Expensive sheds and barns are not necessary; often buildings you already have will provide the dry, clean shelter needed by sheep. Sheep production is not limited only to Continue reading

American Wool Assurance Program

American Sheep Industry
(American Wool Assurance (AWA) homepage)

The American Wool Assurance website launched today at AmericanWoolAssurance.org, allowing American sheep producers to take a crucial step in certifying their wool through this voluntary, American industry-driven certification process.

The American Sheep Industry Association worked with Colorado State University the past two years to develop the voluntary program and standards that will allow manufacturers to purchase American wool with confidence that the animals producing that wool have been raised with a high level of care. Industry input from producers, shearers, buyers, extension, animal welfare experts and processors was critical in development of program standards.

“This is something that consumers and brands are asking for increasingly, and so it has become 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)

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?

  • Newborn lambs rely on reserves of brown fat as an energy source until they ingest colostrum. Ideally, lambs will nurse and receive colostrum within two hours of birth. If feeding is delayed, even by a few hours, fat stores will be depleted. Unless the lamb nurses, or receives another source of energy, it will become unconscious and die.
  • Long-term survival also depends on receiving colostrum soon after birth, as the ability to absorb antibodies in colostrum quickly decreases. Milk or milk replacer will prevent starvation but will not protect against infections.
  • The sooner an ‘at risk’ lamb is identified, the easier the treatment and the greater the chance of saving the lamb.

Continue reading

Multi-Species Grazing as an Alternative to Pasture Spraying

James Doyle, Extension Natural Resource Management Field Specialist, South Dakota State University
(Previously published by South Dakota State University Extension: August 6, 2020)

(Image Source: Rocky Lemus, Progressive Forage)

Broadacre spraying of pastures is intended to reduce undesirable plants and increase grasses for livestock. This practice often results in unintended consequences including damage and reduction of native forbs and reduced profitability. One approach to managing perceived “weedy” plants that can offset those negative outcomes is incorporating different species of livestock into a grazing operation.

All species of livestock have different dietary preferences, and producers can harness this to help manage their plant communities in an ecologically and economically sustainable manner. Small ruminants, in particular sheep and goats, are the most common livestock species that are added alongside a cattle enterprise.

All species of livestock have different preferences when it comes to selecting the species of plants they consume, as demonstrated in the image above.

Continue reading

Spider Syndrome in the Sheep Flock

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

(Image Source: Thompson and Dittmer, 2008)

Spider Syndrome is a genetic problem, common in the Suffolk breed and becoming more common in the Hampshire breed. Spider syndrome has been compared to dwarfism in beef cattle. It has been prevalent since the 1950s. Spider syndrome has also been diagnosed in commercial flocks that keep brockle-faced lambs back as replacement ewes. Those ewes are coming from Suffolk or Hampshire rams that carry the syndrome. Researchers feel certain that spider syndrome is caused by a simple, autosomal, recessive gene. If a producer has a flock of carrier ewes and breeds them to a carrier ram, one-fourth of his or her lamb crop could have spider syndrome!!!

Diagnosis
Spider lambs are affected in one of two ways: 1) lambs are abnormal at birth and will probably never be able to stand, or 2) lambs appear normal at birth, but develop into a spider lamb at two weeks to six weeks of age.

Spider lambs usually Continue reading