The Nuts and Bolts of EBVs

Eastern Alliance for Production Kathadins (EAPK) Communications Committee
(Previously published online with EAPK: November 17, 2023)

(Image Source: Texas A&M Agrilife Extension)

EBVs are tools that producers can use to select breeding animals that will help them meet flock goals for specific traits such as growth, milk, reproduction, parasite resistance and carcass quality. It is important to understand that selecting for extremes in one trait will often put negative selection pressure on other traits of interest. Often, animals with extremely high EBVs in certain traits will require additional nutritional support or better management to perform successfully at that level. In addition, some traits are antagonistic to other traits, meaning that if you select strongly for one trait you may be inadvertently reversing the progress you’ve made in other important traits. Traits that are directly measured (weights, FEC, Carcass) are generally more heritable than other traits such as milk and prolificacy. Below is a condensed description of EBVs, how they are measured and why they are important.

Maternal Weaning Weight EBV (MWWT):
MWWT EBV provides an estimate of the genetic effects of the ewe’s milk and mothering ability on the weaning weight of her lambs. A higher value generally indicates Continue reading The Nuts and Bolts of EBVs

Signs and Symptoms: What are Your Sheep Trying to Tell You?

Eastern Alliance for Production Katahdins (EAPK) Communications Committee
(Previously published online with EAPK: December 30, 2022)

We’ve all experienced a sick sheep, or at least one that doesn’t look quite right, but how do we distinguish a serious illness from one that is mild, or simply normal behavior? While your veterinarian should always be your primary source of medical advice, it’s still important that shepherds have the ability to accurately identify and describe any signs and symptoms your animal may be experiencing. When calling your vet, this information will help him/her determine whether a farm visit is necessary or if a plan of care can be initiated by phone. It will also assist you in researching the problem on your own to identify possible causes. Gathering key information and intervening early can be lifesaving, especially in emergency situations.

It’s important to regularly observe your flock so you’re aware of both normal and abnormal behavior. Some symptoms of disease can mimic normal behavior while others that seem concerning are actually benign. For instance, a healthy lamb often stretches when they get up from a nap which is a good sign. However, a lamb that stretches repeatedly, lies down again quickly and/or seems disinterested or isolates may be experiencing abdominal pain which could be serious. A healthy animal can be observed Continue reading Signs and Symptoms: What are Your Sheep Trying to Tell You?

United States is Open to Canadian Sheep and Goats

United States Department of Agriculture/Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
(Previously published online: April 4, 2022)

As of this week, live-breeding sheep and goats are eligible for import into the United States from Canada.

Importers must provide supporting documentation showing the scrapie-free status of the Canadian flock of origin at the time an import permit application is submitted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture/Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Importers must also contact the United States port of entry at least 10 business days before the intended date of arrival. Post-entry requirements about traceback of imported animals and recordkeeping will apply.

Post-entry Requirements for Imported Live Breeding Sheep and Goats from Canada

The following provides additional details pertaining to the post-entry requirements for imported live breeding sheep and goats (for purposes other than immediate slaughter or restricted feeding for slaughter) as outlined in 9 CFR 93 and 9 CFR 98. Continue reading United States is Open to Canadian Sheep and Goats

Precision Flock Management

For those that are interested in moving your operation forward in terms of facilities, management, record keeping, and anything between – this presentation by Canadian sheep producer Patrick Smith is well worth the listen. In his presentation Patrick provides an inside review of his operation including the practices that work and those that he’d like to change. Near the end of his presentation, Patrick also discusses facility design which may be of most interest to those looking to expand. Enjoy the talk and please reach out if you would like to discuss details on your next improvement project within your own operation!