Enhancing Biosecurity at Fairs and Shows

Photograph is copyright Luc Asbury and is used under Creative Commons licensing.

This webinar was presented by Scott Cotton, University of Wyoming Area Educator and EDEN Chair-elect, and Curt Emanuel, Purdue Extension Educator and Boone County Extension Director. Cotton has been with Extension since 1993 and involved in disasters since 1972. His emergency/disaster roles have ranged from medical technician and firefighter to ICS/NIMS instructor and disaster exercise facilitator.  Emanuel is a former professional horse trainer. Since joining Purdue Extension in …

Fall Lambing

By Drs. Christopher Schauer and Reid Redden, North Dakota State University

Fall lambing is a technique that can be utilized to capture additional productivity from many of today’s sheep breeds.  Fall lambing has many positive attributes, including but not limited to, increased utilization of facilities and other resources, accelerated returns on animal investments, provide year-round supply of lamb, and provide options to lambing outside winter and spring months. The two negatives of fall lambing are lower conception rates and fewer …

Why is it so important to regularly trim the feet of sheep and goats?

Hoof trimming is an essential part of sheep and goat management.  Flocks should be checked on a regular basis for hoof growth.  Overgrown hooves may make walking painful, predispose the animal to other foot and leg problems, and competing for feed difficult.  This may cause sheep and goats to stop eating and exercising.  Animals with overgrown hooves are also very susceptible to joint and tendon problems and arthritis.  Also, breeding animals use their hind legs during mating; mating and reproductive …

Small-Scale Sheep and Goat Production Curriculum Materials

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Sheep and goats are an excellent way for new and beginning farmers to enter livestock production. They are also especially well-suited to small farms. A profitable sheep and goat business will consider many different aspects including marketing, stewardship, animal care and production.

Materials for Teachers and Extension Staff

The following materials were developed for teachers and educators to use in their classrooms and programs. The target age range is high school, jr. college and beginning farmer groups.

Instruction Guide

Colostrum Feeding of Newborn Lambs

Summarized from Sheep Production Handbook, p 426

It is critical that the newborn lamb receives a large amount of colostrum as soon after birth as possible. 

This colostrum will provide the lamb with energy to protect it from cold.  A lamb is born with a supply of “brown fat” that provides a short and immediate energy source.  After that, the lamb is totally dependent on intake (colostrum).

In addition, colostrum provides protection (antibodies) against specific diseases which the …

Pregnancy Toxemia (pregnancy disease, twin lamb disease, lambing paralysis, ketosis)

Summarized from Sheep Production Handbook, page 447.

Pregnancy toxemia is a commonly occurring, metabolic disease of pregnant ewes near term.  The disease usually occurs in older ewes carrying multiple lambs and in extremely thin or overly fat ewes.  Irregular feeding caused by inclement weather or stress produced by dogs or predators can precipitate an outbreak of pregnancy toxemia.  The basic cause of pregnancy toxemia is a diet deficient in energy during late pregnancy when fetal growth is occurring …

Feeding The Ewe During Late Pregnancy / Gestation

Summarized from Sheep Production Handbook, page 752-753.

The last four to six weeks of gestation is a critical nutritional period, because at least two-thirds of fetal growth occurs during this period.  Nutrient restrictions at this time will result in lighter weight lambs at birth, unequal birth weights of twin and triplet lambs,  reduced mothering instinct, lowered milk production, increased early lamb loss and possibly pregnancy toxemia.  Because of the increased fetal growth during this period of the ewe’s biological …

Body Condition Score

By Dr. Rodney Kott and Dr. Lisa Surber, Montana State University


The use of both body weight and condition scores can help producers make important feed management decisions.  Condition scoring is a system of describing or classifying breeding animals by differences in relative body fatness.

Generally in the United States, body condition scores ranging from 0 to 5 are used, with 0 being emaciated, near death and 5, a morbidly obese ewe (Body Condition Scoring of Sheep).  The …

Ewes Biological Cycle and Target Body Condition Scores

By Dr. Rodney Kott & Dr. Lisa Surber, Montana State University

Ewes Biological Cycle:

  • Breeding (Flushing-2 wks prior to turning out bucks and breeding-generally 2 estrous cycles or about 34 days)
  • Gestation/Pregnancy (138 to 159 days-147 day average)
    • Early (first 15 wks)
    • Late (last 6 wks)


  • Lactation
    • Early (first 6-8 wks; peak milk production is at 3 wks)
    • Late (last 4-6 wks; in most cases after 10 to 14 wks lactation ewes are for all practical purposes dry)