The Importance of Colostrum Management

Dr. Cassandra Plummer, DVM, Small Ruminant Veterinarian, Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine

As we find breeding season winding to a close it is time to start making preparations for lambing season to begin. When preparing for lambing, one thing to consider is your plan for colostrum management. How are you going to get colostrum into your lambs? What if a ewe doesn’t have colostrum? How will you handle orphan lambs or bottle lambs? All of these things need Continue reading

Protect Sheep and Goats with CDT Vaccine

Peggy Coffeen, Dairy/Livestock Editor

Failing to arm sheep and goats disease protection is a bit like heading into a tackle football game with no helmets or pads. Less protection means greater risk. Vaccines are an important component in suiting up small ruminants to hit the field – or pasture. At minimum, sheep and goats of all ages and stages should be protected from clostridial diseases.

Dr. Eric Gordon, DVM, The Ohio State University, believes that clostridial diseases are Continue reading

Fall Grazing Management and Plant Health

Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension Educator, Wayne County

Grazing management during the months of September and October directly impacts the vigor and growth of pasture in the spring. For the perennial grass plant, the fall season is a time of laying the foundation for next year’s growth. Although seed production is one way that a perennial plant can survive from year to year, in pastures the more important way that plants survive is through re-growth from buds located at the crown of the plant. It is during the short day, long night periods in the fall of the year that flower buds are formed/initiated on the crown of the plant. The plant leaf Continue reading

Footrot: Coming Soon to a Flock Near You

Dr. Bill Shulaw, OSU Extension Veterinarian

Green grass is beginning to peek through the brown plant residues on many Ohio pastures. If our weather pattern is typical this spring, we will soon be enjoying warmer, but wetter, weather. Although we will welcome the flush of new forage that this weather will bring, this is the major transmission season for one of the most common of sheep diseases: contagious footrot. Warm wet weather softens the hoof and soft tissues between the toes making the foot more susceptible to infection. It also favors the transmission of Continue reading

A Decision Making Support Tool Now Available

Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension Educator, Wayne County

Sorting through the information on sheep and goat parasite control: A decision making support tool is now available.

Farmers confronted with parasite infections in their sheep and goats soon realize there is no “magic bullet” or “one size fits all” solution. They can be quickly bombarded with a lot of information available on internal parasite control but with no help in sorting out which options they should consider in their farming operation.

OSU Extension personnel have developed a decision making support tool for farmers to develop Continue reading

Poisonous Trees

Clif Little, OSU Extension Educator, Guernsey and Noble Counties

Recent storms downed many trees throughout Ohio and some of these pose a threat to livestock. Poisoning is most common when grazing is scarce, such as periods of dry weather coupled with thunderstorms that down trees during the mid to late summer months.

Listed below are some of the most common poisonous trees found in Ohio pastures. Continue reading

Use FAMACHA Correctly for Best Results

Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension Educator, Wayne County

An important component of summer management is internal parasite control.  By this point in the calendar year sheep, and/or goats on many farms have rotated through pasture paddocks at least a couple of times. Lactating ewes and does can shed large numbers of parasite eggs, effectively seeding pasture paddocks with parasite larvae that are waiting to be ingested with the next grazing pass.  As young lambs and kids learn to graze at the side of their mothers, they are very susceptible to acquiring large parasite infections. However, parasite loads are not equally distributed within the herd or flock.

Over the past several years targeted selective de-worming treatment of sheep and goats has been promoted as one way to avoid treating the entire flock or herd. Selective treatment can slow down the process of the parasite acquiring chemical resistance and thereby prolong the effectiveness of those chemical de-wormers available to sheep and goat owners. One tool that is being used to determine selective treatment is the FAMACHA system. Continue reading

Identify and Control Poison Hemlock

Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension Educator, Wayne County

As I have driven around the county the past few weeks, I have noticed some patches of poison hemlock on roadside banks and also in some fields. This is a concern because all parts of this plant including leaves, stems and roots are poisonous when ingested. This is a good time to scout both hay fields and pastures for this weed and take steps to control it. This is not a weed that livestock owners can afford to ignore.

Poison hemlock has an appearance similar to wild carrot and is a member of the parsley family. The plant has compound leaves made up of multiple leaflets that are finely divided and have a triangular shape. Some descriptions say the leaf has a lacy appearance. One of the key identifying characteristics is the stem. The stem of poison hemlock is Continue reading

Use FAMACHA Correctly

Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension Educator, Athens County

A number of sheep and goat owners have been trained across Ohio in the use of the FAMACHA system, yet problems with internal parasites, in particular, with Haemonchus contortus continue. This is to be expected. The FAMACHA system utilizes an eyelid scorecard that can help a farmer make a decision to treat or not to treat the animal with a chemical de-wormer. The FAMACHA system is not a cure-all, or a silver bullet for dealing with internal parasites. It is one tool that can be a part of an overall parasite control strategy. In order for this tool to be effective Continue reading

Pasture, Parasites, and Risk Management

Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension Educator, Athens County

May through early June is generally a time of good pasture growth and corresponding livestock production. However, if you are grazing sheep and goats this is the time of year that needs careful consideration in regards to internal parasites, in particular Haemonchus contortus, the barber pole worm. One way to approach this grazing season is to think in terms of risk management.

What can be done to reduce or minimize the risk of a heavy parasite infection while sheep and goats graze pastures? Continue reading

CIDRs Now Officially Approved for Sheep

FDA Announces the Approval of a New Product for the Management of Reproduction in Sheep
November 16, 2009

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today is announcing the approval of EAZI-Breed CIDR Sheep Insert (progesterone solid matrix) for induction of estrus in ewes (sheep) during seasonal anestrus. This progesterone Continue reading

Grazing Corn Residue

Jeff McCutcheon, OSU Extension Educator, Morrow County

To survive the current feed economy livestock producers need to graze their livestock as long as they can.  Every day livestock are meeting their nutritional needs through grazing they are being fed as economically as possible.  Typically cattle producers utilize corn residue as a feed source but, Continue reading

Breeding Season Preparation

Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension Educator, Athens County

Reproductive performance is an important factor in determining profitability in the sheep flock. Most breeds of sheep have seasonal breeding patterns and the majority of flocks in Ohio are spring lambing. In this scenario, the peak fertility of the ewe is from late September through November. The breeding season will extend Continue reading

Parasite Management for Small Ruminants Begins… in the Fall?

Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension Educator, Athens County

The biggest enemy of pasture based sheep and goat production has got to be internal parasites and especially, Haemonchus contortus, or the barber pole worm.  Its incredible reproductive capacity, an adult female can lay up to 5,000-10,000 eggs/day, combined with the fact that the infective third stage (L3) larvae can survive 60 to 90 days or more on pasture during Continue reading

Fall Grazing Management

Jeff McCutcheon, OSU Extension Educator, Knox County

Fall is one of the most crucial time periods for our cool season pastures. The most important activity a livestock producer should be doing to help the pastures survive winter and remain productive next year is to avoid over-grazing.

Why is fall a critical time for our cool season perennial forages? Continue reading

Monitor Lamb/Kid Worm Burden

Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension Educator, Athens County

July through September are critical times to closely monitor the internal parasite burden of lambs and kids. Preferably monitoring would start in June. The internal parasite of principal concern during the summer months is Haemonchus contortus, the barber pole worm. Lambs and kids grazing on pastures that are contaminated with large numbers of infective Haemonchus contortus larvae can go downhill very rapidly in July and August. It would not be uncommon that within a 7-10 day period Continue reading

Options for Fall and Winter Grazing

Jeff McCutcheon, OSU Extension Educator, Knox County

In Ohio it is possible to graze year round. Of course grazing in winter does take planning. Summer is the best time to plan for fall and winter grazing. Why? Because many of our options have tasks associated with them in summer. By planning ahead it is possible in Ohio to have adequate Continue reading

Oats, Planted Late, Continue to be Our Most Dependable Forage?!?!

Curt Stivison, Fairfield SWCD Engineering Technician
Stan Smith, OSU Extension Program Assistant, Fairfield County

Most know that for the past seven years, we’ve spent much time in Fairfield County investigating the virtues of oats as an annual forage when they are planted during mid to late summer, or even into early fall. While we’ve harvested from 2 to 5 tons, and consistently realized average yields of 3+ tons of dry matter from oats planted in July and August after a harvested wheat crop, it’s also apparent that yield and quality can vary greatly as planting date, nitrogen fertilization, and perhaps even oat varieties differ from each field planted.

For those looking to grow a cost-effective alternative forage crop Continue reading

Pasture Measurement

Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension Educator Athens County

Pasture measurement allows a grazier to determine an estimate of how much forage dry matter (DM) is available in a pasture paddock. Once forage DM is estimated, then the grazier can figure out how many animals can be grazed in that paddock for a given period of time. This is something that experienced graziers gain an eye for over time with practice. For beginning graziers, pasture measurement Continue reading

Spring Pasture Management

Mark Landefeld, OSU Extension Educator, Monroe County

The time of year is quickly approaching when keeping pasture plants in a vegetative state is probably the hardest for forage producers. Managing pasture growth early in the growing season is important to maintain high quality and high quantity forage production throughout the spring, summer and fall. A “spring flush” occurs Continue reading

Interested in Finding Out How Your Lambs are Performing? Have Them Scanned!

Bill and Susan Shultz, Logan County Sheep Producers

Bill and Susan Shultz will be scanning their 2009 lamb crop on Friday, June 20, 2009 at their farm in DeGraff, Ohio. They have contracted with Bonnie Bradford, a skilled technician, to do the scanning of loin eye and back fat as she has done the past three years for the Shultz’s. Continue reading

What Resources are Available to Help Improve Your Sheep Operation?

Curt Cline, Director for Commercial Flock Owners, Co-Chairman of Membership Services OSIA
Daryl Clark, Director for Lamb Feeders, Co-Chairman of Membership Services OSIA

As I begin to embark on this subject, I can’t help but think I should have changed the title to, “Where are the resources available to improve your sheep operation?” Maybe I should begin by explaining what type of resource I am talking about. Natural resources are well, natural if you will. Financial resources come in many shapes. I suppose most people would consider Continue reading

Helpful Resources Available from the American Sheep Industry Association

Tim Fine, OSU Miami County Program Assistant
Dr. Bill Shulaw, OSU Extension Veterinarian

If you are producing sheep in the United States, there are a few resources provided by ASI that you will want to become familiar with.

The Sheep Care Guidepublished in 2006. The Sheep Care Guide was developed to serve as a reference to provide sheep producers with information about Continue reading

Management Considerations to Lower Lamb Mortalities

Dr. Bill Shulaw, OSU Extension Veterinarian

There are many factors that affect lamb survival. Serious shepherds should consult the Sheep Production Handbook, produced by the American Sheep Industry Association (www.sheepusa.org), for a more complete discussion of the various conditions and infectious diseases which impact lamb survival. However, if a pregnancy is carried to term, most losses occur Continue reading

Managing Starvation/Hypothermia

Dr. Bill Shulaw, OSU Extension Veterinarian

The starvation/hypothermia complex usually comes about when multiple contributing factors are present and not just the simple occurrence of cold weather. Some of these include failure of the ewe to care for the lamb, difficult birth resulting in a weak lamb, bacterial mastitis in the ewe, “hard bag” in the ewe caused by Continue reading

Grazing Wind Damaged Corn Residue

Jeff McCutcheon, OSU Extension Educator, Morrow County

To survive the current feed economy livestock producers need to graze their livestock as long as they can.  Every day livestock are meeting their nutritional needs through grazing they are being fed as economically as possible.  Typically cattle producers utilize corn residue as a feed source but, in Ohio, sheep producers need to consider grazing Continue reading

Culling the Sheep Flock

Roger High, OSU Ohio Sheep Extension Program Specialist

With increasing production costs, livestock producers really need to evaluate each animal and decide whether that animal is really a productive animal or an animal that is “just on the payroll” and not really contributing the profitability of the program. Marginal producing ewes and rams should not be maintained in the flock!

Culling is one of the tools that should be implemented to increase the efficiency of the sheep flock. But what criteria should a producer use to base their culling decision? The following are guidelines Continue reading

Summer Parasite Management

Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension Educator, Athens County

July and August are critical months to control the internal parasite, Haemonchus contortus in pasture based sheep and goat production. Often producers may find that lambs and kids seem to “stand still” during the summer, with little or no weight gain. There can be several reasons for this situation. Continue reading

Pasture Lambing

Bob Hendershot, State Grassland Conservationist

What is lambing like, for your sheep flock, hours per lamb or lambs per hour? The shepherd’s labor and the size of the lambing barn are the two things that limit the size of most Ohio sheep flocks. Pasture-lambing avoids both of these concerns.

Pasture-lambing is the lambing of ewes on pasture where the ewes and newborn lambs bond without being penned or housed. Pasture-lambing works the best in concert with the peak pasture growth. Spring and fall pasture growth can provide the quantity and quality of feed that the ewe will need during the last part of gestation and early lactation. This greatly reduces the feed cost compared Continue reading

Why Wool Prices Differ

Don Van Nostran, Mid-States Wool Growers

Wool is wool is wool. Unfortunately, this is the feeling of many sheep producers when they look at this secondary product produced by the sheep. However, not all wool is the same and a producer has a big effect on the value of their wool clip just by their management practices. Continue reading