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Basic sheep and goat husbandry


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Basic sheep and goat husbandry

  1. 1. Basic Sheep andGoat Husbandryfor Land Managers
  2. 2. Topics for today’s presentation  Sheep vs. goats  Reproductive basics  Nutrition basics  Health care and diseases  Predator control  Additional resources
  3. 3. Sheep vs. goats:There are differences: choose the right animals for your goals.SHEEP GOATS Grazers  Intermediate grazers Prefer forbs, grass  Prefer browse Easier to contain (fencing)  Harder to contain Usually no horns (fencing) Aloof, reserved, gregarious  Usually horns Better adapted to climate  Curious, independent  Less adapted to climate Easier to handle, manage
  4. 4. What about shearing?  Hair sheep do not require shearing, crutching, or docking.  Other sheep require annual shearing and the tails of their lambs should be docked.  Hair sheep crosses may require shearing and their fleeces should be discarded.  Most goats do not require shearing (exceptions: Angora and Cashmere goats and their crosses).
  5. 5. Advantage of crossbred animalsRegardless of species, crossbred animals are preferable to purebreds.  More available  Less expensive  Less valuable  Hardier  Healthier  More disease-resistant  More productive
  6. 6. Reproductive basicsLandscape management can be combined with production.SHEEP GOATS Puberty at 5-12 months  Puberty at 3-7 months Seasonally polyestrous  Seasonally polyestrous Short-day breeders  Short-day breeders 17-day estrus cycle  21-day estrus cycle 24-36 hour estrus  24-48 hour estrus 5 month gestation  5 month gestation 1 to 3 offspring  1-3 offspring 1 ram: 35 ewes  1 buck: 35 does
  7. 7. Nutrition basics Sheep and goats are ruminants: a majority of their diet should be composed of forage: grass, forbs, browse, hay, etc. Supplements may be required to meet nutritional requirements not met by forage diet.  Late gestation  Lactation  Growth  Poor quality forage Rumen is adaptable to different feeds, but it needs time to adjust; always make changes to diet gradually.
  8. 8. Free choice minerals  To meet nutritional deficiencies in forage diet.  As a behavior modifier.  Loose minerals preferred to mineral blocks.  Feed appropriate mineral mix to sheep and goats, due to differences in copper requirements and sensitivities.  Goats - goat minerals  Sheep - sheep minerals
  9. 9. Health care of sheep and goatsRoutine management Common diseases Vaccinations  Internal parasites Parasitecontrol  Foot rot and scald Hoof care  Respiratory Biosecurity  Digestive
  10. 10. Vaccinations for sheep and goats  There are numerous diseases for which sheep and goats can be vaccinated.  In production situations, it is common to vaccinate for specific clostridial diseases (CD-T).  Ewes/does 3-4 weeks before parturition  Lambs/kids at 6-8 and 10-12 weeks of age  In certain circumstances, rabies vaccination may be warranted.  There is a rabies vaccine for sheep.
  11. 11. Parasite control Sheep and goats can be affected by numerous internal and external parasites. External (ecto) parasites include flies, ticks, lice, and mites. Internal(endo) parasites include helminths (worms) and single-cell protozoa.
  12. 12. External parasite control  Some dewormers (macrocylic lactones, e.g. Ivomec®) have efficacy against some (biting) external parasites.  Many insecticides are labeled for external parasite control in small ruminants. They are administered as sprays, dusts, or pour-ons.  Some external parasites can be vectors for other diseases.
  13. 13. Internal parasites Sheep and goats can be infected with numerous gastro-intestinal parasites. It is normal for sheep and goats to have parasites in their guts and parasite eggs in their feces. The two parasites of primary concern are the barber pole worm and coccidia.
  14. 14. The barber pole worm The barber worm is a blood- sucking round worm. The primary symptom is anemia (paleness of mucous membranes) and sometimes edema or “bottle jaw” (accumulation of fluid under jaw). Diarrhea is not a common symptom of the barber pole worm. Effect of parasitism may be hyper- acute (sudden death), acute (clinical and treatable), or chronic (sub-clinical)
  15. 15. Internal parasite control Routine deworming is NOT recommended. The worms have developed varying degrees of resistance to ALL dewormers. Sheep and goats should be dewormed on an as-needed basis, based on the observation of clinical signs (e.g. FAMACHA© scores).  By itself, a fecal test is not diagnostic!
  16. 16. Internal parasite control  Sheep and goats should always be dewormed with oral formulations of dewormers (called drenches).  All dewormers should be administered by mouth using a syringe with a long metal nozzle (deposit drug over tongue).  Dosage should be based on an accurate weight; under-dosing should be avoided.  Goats metabolize dewormers more quickly and require 1.5-2x the sheep dose.  Using a dewormer that is in any way inconsistent with the product label requires extra-label drug use and a veterinary prescription (Rx).
  17. 17. Integrated parasite control (IPM) Pasture-rest and rotation Zero grazing Protein supplementation Browsing Alternative forages Minimum grazing height Resistant breeds Resistant genetics Copper oxide wire particles
  18. 18. Control of coccidia  Coccidia are single-cell protozoa that typically cause diarrhea in young lambs and kids.  Mature animals are largely immune to coccidia, but serve as a reservoir of infection.  Coccidia control starts with good sanitation and management.  Coccidiostats (Bovatec®, Rumensin®, Deccox®, or Corid) in the feed, mineral, or water can help to prevent outbreaks of clinical coccidiosis.  Coccidiosis is treated with amprolium (Corid) or sulfa drugs (Rx).
  19. 19. Hoof care  Hoof care is an important aspect of sheep and goat management and welfare.  Lameness can be a sign of disease.  Hooves should be inspected regularly for disease and excess growth.  Sheep and goats are susceptible to numerous hoof diseases.
  20. 20. Hoof trimming The need for hoof trimming varies by species, breed, genetics, nutrition, and environment (soil texture and moisture). From every few months to less than once per year. Proper hoof trimming requires proper restraint, equipment, and technique.
  21. 21. Common hoof diseasesFoot rot Foot scaldInfection in horny tissue of hoof Infection in skin between claws.Strong odor
  22. 22. Common hoof diseasesFoot rot Foot scald Caused by interaction  Caused by bacteria of two bacteria; the that is present wherever second bacteria that there are sheep and causes disease must be goats; lives in soil. introduced to the farm  Environmental: not or herd. contagious. Bacteria that causes  Is a precursor to footrot foot rot can only live and other hoof outside the animal for diseases. 14 days. Highly contagious
  23. 23. Treating hoof diseases Trim and inspect feet Isolate infected animals Foot bathing with zinc sulfate Antibiotic treatments (sprays and injections) Vaccinate CULLchronically- infected animals.
  24. 24. Preventing hoof diseases  Do not introduce the bacteria that causes foot rot to your farm via: a) Contaminated animals b) Contaminated transport c) Contaminated equipment d) Contaminated footwear  Do not buy animals from farms that have lameness or footrot.  Do not buy animals from sale barns or other places with questionable animal health.  Quarantine all newly-purchased sheep and goats and assume they have footrot (trim feet and treat).  Can use dry chemicals and absorptive pads to help prevent disease outbreaks.
  25. 25. BiosecurityBiosecurity is the steps taken to prevent the introduction or spreadof disease(s) on a farm. University of Maine and Maryland Extensionhave collaborated to develop an online template for creatingbiosecurity plans for sheep and goat farms. Breeding stock2) Quarantine3) Disease management4) General management5) Other
  26. 26. Respiratory problems  Symptoms  Nasal discharge, though not all nasal discharges are problematic (e.g. clear mucous discharge).  Fever, usually over 104°F.  Raspy breathing.  General ill thrift  Isolate and treat  Anti-inflammatory drugs (Rx)  Antibiotics (OTC and Rx)  Supportive therapy
  27. 27. Common digestive problems  (Froth) bloat can be caused by the sudden intake of leguminous or succulent pastures.  Acidosis is caused by the sudden intake of readily digestible carbohydrates, usually grain or by-product feeds.  Polio is a thiamine (vitamin B1 deficiency) caused by the consumption of feeds with thiaminase inhibitor.
  28. 28. Common digestive problems  Pregnancy toxemia is caused by an inadequate intake of energy by the pregnant female.  Milk fever (low blood Ca) can be cause by both in adequate and excess Ca in the late gestation diet.  Diarrhea (scours) is not a disease; it is a symptom with both infectious and non- infectious causes.
  29. 29. Common digestive problems  Copper toxicity can occur (sheep) if diets contain toxic levels of copper.  Acidic soils  Pasture fertilized with pig or swine mature  Copper in supplements fed to sheep  Copper deficiency can occur (goats) if diets contain inadequate copper.  Copper deficient soils  Excess Mo or sulfur  Sheep supplements fed to goats  Plant poisonings can cause many symptoms. Clinical signs vary with toxin and can be non-specific.
  30. 30. Sick sheep or goat: what to look for Temperature Normal is 102-103ºF Body condition Normal is 2-4 (5) FAMACHA© scores Normal is 3 or better (5) Appetite Healthy sheep and goats are always hungry! Coat condition Pain Teeth grinding can be a sign of pain Dags (scours)
  31. 31. Predator controlAn important aspect of sheep and goat husbandry. All sheep and goats are vulnerable to predators of many types: domestic dogs, wild dogs, coyotes, foxes, bears, vultures, eagles, etc. Horns do not protect goats from predators. All sheep and goat owners should consider predation to be a significant risk to their operation and implement a program to prevent and/or minimize predation.
  32. 32. Predator control Starts with a good fence  Multi-strand high tensile electric  Woven wire with electric off-set wires  Electric netting  Polywire  Electric wire
  33. 33. Livestock guardians1) Livestock guardian dogs Great Pyrenees, Akbash, Maremma, Anatolian Shepherd, Komondor, Polish Tatra, Tibetan Mastiff (and their crosses).2) Other livestock guardians a) Donkeys (miniature ?) b) Llamas (alpacas ?)Each guardian animal has pros and cons.
  34. 34. Other methods of predator control1) “Flerds” (catte + sheep/goats)2) Night penning3) Indoor lambing and kidding4) Good neighbor relations5) Lethal methods
  35. 35. Additional (web) resources Maryland Small Ruminant Page Sheep 201: A Beginner’s Guide to Raising Sheep UME Small Ruminant Program on Facebook UME Shepherd’s Notebook blog Meat goat test blog Other PowerPoint presentations or .../SusanSchoenian
  36. 36. Questions?Thank you foryour attention.