Small Ruminant AI Day in Licking County (August 21, 2021)

Dean Kreager, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Licking County

(Image Source: K Bar K Farm)

Artificial Insemination (AI) results from a multi-breeder insemination day in Licking County.

The Licking County Sheep Improvement Association has been working with OSU Extension to provide the opportunity for multiple breeders to bring sheep to one location for artificial insemination. The August 2020 date marked the 3rd year of this event. Insemination of 104 sheep occurred during the 2020 event and included both fresh and frozen semen.

Below, breeding results from the 2020 event include the use of 20 different rams among 10 different producers. Continue reading

Crossbreeding for Profit

Susan Schoenian, Sheep & Goat Specialist, University of Maryland Small Ruminant Extension Program
(Previously published on the Maryland Small Ruminant Page)

With breeding animal sale season upon us, now is the time to consider and finalize your plans for the 2021 breeding season. Acquiring breeding rams and bucks prior to use and need is critical as this time period allows for producers to both quarantine and acclimate newly purchased stock to their operations. For those with commercial based flocks and herds, crossbreeding may be your ticket to achieving greater growth efficiencies and price premiums.

Crossbreeding is probably the most misunderstood and underappreciated practice in commercial livestock production. Crossbreeding is the mating of males and females of different breeds or breed types. Purebreeding is the mating of individuals of the same breed or type. Crossbreeding is the recommended breeding strategy for commercial meat sheep and meat goat production.

As a breeding practice, crossbreeding does not Continue reading

Pre-Breeding Management of Rams and Ewes

David C. Van Metre, DVM, DACVIM Extension Veterinarian, Colorado State University
(Previously published online with Veterinary Extension through Colorado State University)

Important notes for both spring and fall breeding!

The pre-breeding period is defined as the 8-10 week period prior to the first day that rams are turned out with the ewes. Although it is traditionally a relatively quiet period for the sheep producer, the pre-breeding period involves multiple physiologic processes in the ram and ewe that can significantly impact fertility during breeding season, and therefore can subsequently impact the size and uniformity of the lamb flock. During this period of time, the sheep producer can conduct a few fairly simple management practices to ensure that the ram and ewe flock are in optimal physical condition for breeding.

Pre-Breeding Evaluation of the Ram Flock
Creation of sperm in rams requires approximately 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

Critical Nutrition Inputs for Ewe Nutrition

Dr. Dan Morrical, Extension Sheep Specialist, Iowa State University
(Excerpt previously published during the 2017 Virginia Shepherd’s Symposium)

Introduction:
Sheep nutrition and feeding is extremely critical to the success or failure of the ewe flock enterprise. As shepherds our task is to provide balanced rations to meet the ewe’s nutrient requirements on the least costly basis. Feed costs account for half the cost of producing lamb and wool. Therefore, cost control must always be foremost in the shepherd’s mind. Sheep enterprises face a greater challenge in meeting needs of the flock because of the large within flock and between flock variations. This paper reflects the general guidelines for feeding ewes; however, each operation must adapt and modify these guidelines for their specific operation.

Nutrient Requirements:
The amount of nutrients the sheep require is affected by several factors. These include ewe age and weight along with 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.

Tips for Improving Out-of-season Reproduction

Richard Ehrhardt, Michigan State University Extension Specialist, Small Ruminants
(Previously published on MSU Extension, Sheep & Goat: January 27, 2020)

By now, 2020 fall lambing is a task of the past with lambs weaned and either sold at the sale barn or retained for feeding. Before winter and spring lambing floods our minds, now is an appropriate time to take a minute to review the fall lambing season. For most, fall lambing in 2021 is in the far distance; however, timely planning now will foster future improvements.

This article provides tips for improving out of season reproduction in sheep.

Lamb supply is seasonal in nature and is explained largely by the seasonal nature of sheep reproduction, yet demand for product is present year-round. In order to meet market demand, deficits in supply are met by imported product and by domestic lamb feeders who hold lambs to extend the season of supply. In some parts of North America, the holding of lambs has hurt product quality, as lambs entering the market are often overly fat and mature. Another strategy to fill in gaps in supply and to avoid product quality concerns is through out-of-season lamb production. Out-of-season production allows lambs with the optimal degree of maturity to be harvested throughout the year. This strategy, when combined with a decrease in the production birth interval, is referred to as accelerated production. Accelerated production has the potential to increase production efficiency and simultaneously remove the constraint caused by seasonal supply. 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