Profile: Dr. Scott Bowdridge

  • Post author:
  • Reading time:11 mins read

This past summer, Dr. Scott Bowdridge, Associate Professor of Food Animal Production, West Virginia University, opened our minds to his exciting research identifying immune mechanisms in sheep to eliminate parasitic infections. At the 2022 Eastern Alliance for Production Katahdins (EAPK) symposium he discussed his data that links low FEC EBVs (Fecal Egg Count Estimated Breeding Values) with an overall increase in disease resistance. Dr. Bowdridge has diverse experiences working as a sheep producer,…

Continue ReadingProfile: Dr. Scott Bowdridge

Signs and Symptoms: What are your sheep trying to tell you?

  • Post author:
  • Reading time:26 mins read

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…

Continue ReadingSigns and Symptoms: What are your sheep trying to tell you?

Shepherd to Shepherd: Producer Forum Blog #4

  • Post author:
  • Reading time:8 mins read

For our fourth and final producer forum we asked our four shepherds to share some words of wisdom. As usual, their answers are as varied as their production systems and geographic location. What has your experience taught you over the years and what nuggets or advice would you share with others, especially new, Katahdin producers? Michelle Canfield (Canfield Farms, Western Washington) Farming is a lot of work! Pulling from my day job that…

Continue ReadingShepherd to Shepherd: Producer Forum Blog #4

Sheep GEMS Update

  • Post author:
  • Reading time:6 mins read

Sheep GEMS is roaring ahead, with the strong commitment by Katahdin breeders particularly welcomed. With the help of John Bare, Michelle Canfield, Tom Hodgman, and Jim Morgan—members of a Project Advisory Group—twenty-six Katahdin flocks have voiced their interest to participate in this project. A key element of Sheep GEMS is collecting performance records in NSIP-member flocks that reflect the productive efficiency, robustness, and climatic resilience of their sheep. These include udder health, lamb…

Continue ReadingSheep GEMS Update

Alternative Feeds: Is Variety the Spice of Life?

  • Post author:
  • Reading time:11 mins read

When it comes to sheep feed…it depends. With staggering increases in feed costs due to inflation, supply chain disruptions, impacts of international conflicts affecting energy, grain and fertilizer production along with regional weather events, now might be a good time to investigate alternative feeds. Alternative feeds are those that are not commonly used on a regular basis as part of the usual livestock feed ration and are often cheaper than typical feed, such…

Continue ReadingAlternative Feeds: Is Variety the Spice of Life?

How Does Selection for Parasite Resistance in Katahdin Sheep Affect Other Important Traits?

  • Post author:
  • Reading time:6 mins read

Katahdin producers who use NSIP estimated breeding values (EBV) to make selection decisions on replacements for the home flock or for sale often select for more than one trait at a time. In fact, most breeders search for the perfect animal with balanced EBVs, or those that excel in all traits of interest. But what happens when two or more traits are used in selection? Can forward progress be made on both traits?…

Continue ReadingHow Does Selection for Parasite Resistance in Katahdin Sheep Affect Other Important Traits?

Shepherd to Shepherd: Producer Forum Blog #3

  • Post author:
  • Reading time:14 mins read

For our third producer forum we asked our four shepherds, all enrolled in NSIP, how they select their breeding rams and how they make breeding decisions on their farms. Their answers, shared below, reflect the differences among the farms in environment, markets, individual flock goals and management styles. As a reminder, our producer forum includes: Michelle Canfield (Canfield Farms, Western Washington), Lynn Fahrmeier (Fahrmeier Katahdins, Western Missouri), Roxanne Newton (Hound River Farm, South…

Continue ReadingShepherd to Shepherd: Producer Forum Blog #3

Protecting Your Flock from Disease

  • Post author:
  • Reading time:4 mins read

Disease is present in every flock and can reside in the animals, soil, air, and water. Producers don't often talk about illnesses affecting their sheep because they don't want the stigma of disease to reflect negatively on their flock. But producers shouldn't have to deal with the problem alone. Let's accept the fact that disease is inevitable, remove the stigma, and learn how we can prevent or mitigate disease transmission in our flocks.…

Continue ReadingProtecting Your Flock from Disease

Ovine Progressive Pneumonia (OPP)

  • Post author:
  • Reading time:31 mins read

Most shepherds have probably heard of OPP as it is one of the three diseases included in the biosecurity panels that many laboratories offer. The USDA Sheep 2001 study tested over 21,000 samples from 682 randomly selected flocks country wide to collect data on the prevalence of OPP. They found that 36.4% of flocks had one or more animals that tested positive and overall, 24.2% of the animals tested were positive for OPP.…

Continue ReadingOvine Progressive Pneumonia (OPP)

Evaluating Online Sheep Experts

  • Post author:
  • Reading time:5 mins read

With decreasing numbers of sheep extension agents, sheep research professors and small ruminant DVMs, our options for finding knowledgeable experts are becoming more limited. At the same time, the number of sheep "experts" on Facebook, YouTube and other social media is growing exponentially. Today, sheep producers are able to obtain "expert" advice from across the country or around the world in a matter of seconds. While advances in technology have shaped the way…

Continue ReadingEvaluating Online Sheep Experts