Ovine Progressive Pneumonia (OPP)

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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.…

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Evaluating Online Sheep Experts

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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…

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Small Flock Weaning Considerations

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Weaning lambs on a small farm can be a challenging endeavor. Being limited on space and supplies, such as electric fencing, means careful planning must take place to manage the two groups separately. There are various ways to wean lambs off of their dams. The approach you choose may vary from year to year depending on the mix of ewe and ram lambs per dam, the ages of the lambs, changes in the…

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Shepherd to Shepherd: Producer Forum #2

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For our second producer forum we asked our four shepherds what data they collect besides that used for NSIP; how they manage their data; what software programs they use; and how they analyze and use their data to make selection decisions.  Michelle Canfield, Canfield Farms, Western Washington I use Ranch Manager for my day-to-day husbandry records. Mostly what I keep in here are records of medical treatments & other events; location of sheep…

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Preparations for Sale Season

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In this blog, EAPK member Becky Shultz of Prairie Lane Farm shares some tips and suggestions for preparing sheep for marketing and transport to sales.     Sale season is quickly approaching and we all begin to think about how to market and present our Katahdins. NSIP data has been submitted and we have selected our top individuals that will be the best prospects for other breeders. We like to choose animals with good EBVs…

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Scale Options for On-Farm Use

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A producer needs a way to weigh animals when they want to understand how well their lambs are growing, and when to take them to market. There are a variety of reasons to weigh animals, depending on what data you are collecting and what results you want to be able to achieve from it. Before we were involved in the National Sheep Improvement Program (NSIP), we just wanted to know weights between 30…

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The Value in the Veterinary-Client-Patient Relationship

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I value my veterinarian's time and expertise. She works extremely hard, often taking appointments starting at 8 AM, and is still making phone calls on case notes at 8 PM! By law, in order for her to prescribe medications for my sheep, we need to maintain a Veterinary-Client-Patient Relationship (VCPR). I do sometimes bring sheep into her clinic for diagnosis or treatment. But I also make sure to pay for her time to…

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Lamb Grafting Tips

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Grafting is a practice that may take a little extra effort on the front end, but can help to avoid problems in the long run. The grafting methods and tips below work best for us in our management system and may work for you. Reasons and Methods of Grafting Lambs There are several reasons to graft lambs. Ewes may have too many lambs, or there may be one lamb who is much smaller…

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Udder Health in Ewes: Mastitis, Udder Scores and Management

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Ewes only have two teats and hopefully raise at least twin lambs, so maintaining healthy udders and culling ewes with udder problems is important to minimize lamb losses and bottle lambs while ensuring optimal growth of lambs on your farm. Mastitis leads to lower weaning weights in lambs of affected dams, takes time and money for treatment, as well as slowing down genetic progress due to forced culling of ewes. Rates of mastitis…

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