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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Shepherd to Shepherd: Introducing our NEW Producer Forum

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Sharing experiences is the hallmark of education. In this new producer forum, four experienced EAPK members enrolled in NSIP, from very diverse areas of the U.S., answer questions and share their knowledge and insights into shepherding. In a series of interviews, Lynn Fahrmeier (Fahrmeier Katahdins, Western Missouri), Michelle Canfield (Canfield Farms, Western Washington), Roxanne Newton (Hound River Farm, South Georgia), and Etienne and Isabel Richards (Gibraltar Farm, Central NY) describe their operations, unique…

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Selling Lamb Retail Cuts Off-Farm

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There is a continuing trend among animal product consumers – they want sustainably and humanely raised meat, milk and eggs. Generation Z is the driving force behind consumers wanting to know exactly where their food comes from and the values behind the farming operation. With this trend, many cattle, hog, and sheep producers are selling animals to customers and sending the purchased animals off for custom processing. Other producers may be choosing to…

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Prolapses in Sheep

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There are three structures that can prolapse and be visible under a ewe's tail: vagina, uterus and rectum. Vaginal and uterine prolapses can affect ewes around lambing and will be discussed here. Vaginal Prolapse    A vaginal prolapse occurs when a ewe's vagina protrudes out of her vulva. Most prolapses occur in the last few days or weeks of pregnancy. It usually starts with the ewe laying down and you just see a…

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The Shepherd’s Toolbox: Supplies to have on-hand before you need them

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Fall and early Winter, when the seasonal workload lessens, is often a good time to focus on our sheep supply inventory. We usually think of this when getting ready for lambing, but as shepherds we should always be prepared throughout the year for emergencies, mishaps, and unforeseen circumstances. Having some key supplies on-hand can prevent undue delay in necessary treatment and management of your flock. Following is a list of important items shepherds…

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Pregnancy Diagnosis

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There are various options for diagnosing pregnancy in sheep. The cost/benefit analysis for doing this procedure depends on what you are going to do with the information. Your reasons for doing pregnancy diagnosis will also dictate which method you want to employ. In general, the earlier in pregnancy the diagnosis is made, the larger the risk of false positive results due to early embryonic loss. If avoiding false positive pregnancy diagnosis is essential…

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