Monday, May 4, 2015

Multi-State Skillathon Winners

Youth from several states took home awards from the Junior Sheep & Goat Skillathon held recently at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival.

The first place senior was Matt Ferrari from Virginia. Maggie Goodmuth from Howard County was second. Charlie Sasscer from St. Mary's County was 3rd. The first place senior team was the Montgomery-Howard team, composed of Maggie Goodmuth, Lauren Dallas, and Jennifer Brigantae. The second place team was a team from  Virginia.

Top individuals (L-R):  Matt Ferrari, Hannah King, and Jessica Martin
The first place intermediate was Hannah King from North Carolina. Kallam Latham from Frederick County placed second. Madison Shaw from Pennsyvlania was 3rd. The first place intermediate team was the Virginia team composed of Ryleian Travers, Hayley Seabright, Cyle Dehaven, and Chet Boden. Frederick County had the second place intermediate team.

The first place junior was Jessica Martin from Frederick County. Jordan Kelly from Virginia placed 2nd and Marlie Snyder from Washington County placed 3rd. The first place junior team was the Frederick County team, composed of Jessica Martin, Kiandra Strickhouser, and Caroline Clark. Calvert/St. Mary's County had the second place junior team.

Special awards were given to the junior, intermediate, and senior individuals with the top scores in the stations pertaining to fiber. The junior individual with the top fiber score was Jordan Kelly. The intermediate with the top fiber score was Hannah King. Madison Shaw was a close second. The senior individual with the top fiber score was Jennifer Brigantae from Howard County. In close competition were Ian Sanville from Frederick County and Sabrina Dobbins from St. Mary's County.

Fiber winners (L-R): Jordan Kelly, Jennifer Brigantae, and Hannah King
The Maryland Sheep Breeders Association provided ribbons and premiums to the top 10 individuals in each age group. They provided Festival t-shirts to members of the three top-placing teams in each age division. The University of Maryland Small Ruminant Extension Program provided plaques to the top individuals.

This year's Sheep & Goat Skillathon included the following stations:  sheep breed ID, goat breed ID, hay judging, meat ID, feed ID, equipment ID, fleece judging, fiber ID, keep-cull, and a written test.

The Junior Sheep & Goat Skillathon is held every year on the Sunday of the Festival. The Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival is always held the first full weekend of May.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

ACSRPC Web Site Redesigned

The web site of the American Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control (ACSRPC) has been redesigned. You can view the new web site at either or

You should consider the consortium's web site to be your definitive source of information on internal parasite control in small ruminants. The consortium was formed in response to the critical state of the small ruminant industry associated with the emergence of anthelmintic resistant worms. It is a group of scientists, veterinarians, and extension specialists.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Spring 2015 Wild & Woolly

The Spring 2015 issue of Wild & Woolly is now available.

Via HTML at
Via PDF at

Via ISSUU at

The Spring issue contains articles about goat's milk, minerals, sheep and goat research, new resources, the 10th anniversary of the Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test, and upcoming events.

Is goat milk healthier than cow milk?

Mailed copies of the newsletter are available for $10 per year. Send your check (payable to the University of Maryland) to Sheep & Goat Newsletter, 18330 Keedysville Road, Keedysville, MD  21756.

Subscribe to the newsletter listserv to receive an e-mail when a new issue of the newsletter has been published. To subscribe, send an e-mail message to In the body of the message, write subscribe sheepandgoatnews.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Nomination Period Open for 2015 Buck Test

The nomination period is now open for the 2015 Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test. It will extend until June 1. All nominations received by the deadline will be treated equally.

The test is open to goat producers in any state, who may consign up to five male goats, of any breed or breed cross (with or without registration eligibility) to the test. The goats must have been born between January 1 and March 15, 2015. They must weigh between 40 and 70 lbs. upon delivery to the test site on June 26. Health papers are required.

Bucks grazing in last year's test.
While on test, the goats will be evaluated for growth performance, parasite resistance, and parasite resilience. They will also be evaluated for structural correctness and reproductive soundness and be scanned to determine the size of their longissimus dorsi (rib eye) muslce. The ten top-performing bucks will be recognized.

After a 12-day adjustment period, the goats will be evaluated for 84 days. The test will conclude on October 2. While on test, they will be managed as a single herd. They will be rotationally grazed, among six ~ 2acre paddocks, composed of various cool and warm season perennial and annual plants. They will be supplemented with pelleted soybean hulls on a daily basis, 0.75 lbs. per day or approximately 1.5% of body weight.

The first half of the test (day 1-42) will served as a "growth challenge." The goats will graze "clean" warm season grasses and legumes. The second half of the test (day 42-84) will serve as a "parasite challenge." The goats will graze cool season grass paddocks that have been pre-contaminated with infective worm larvae (by sheep).

2015 Guidelines and Protocol
Nomination Form

Monday, April 13, 2015

2015 Junior Sheep & Goat Skillathon

The 2015 Junior Sheep & Goat Skillathon will be held Sunday, May 3, at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival. The Festival is always held the first full weekend of May at the Howard County Fairgrounds in West Friendship.

Registration for the contest begins at 8 a.m. The contest starts at 9 a.m.  Awards will be presented at approximately 1 p.m. A small donation is requested to cover the cost of lunch (pizza and sodas).

A skillathon provides youth with the opportunity to blend knowledge and skills acquired in livestock judging, demonstrations, and care and exhibition of animals into a single activity. It consists of a series of stations where youth are tested on their knowledge and abilities related to livestock. In the Sheep & Goat Skillathon, all stations will pertain to sheep and/or goats.

The skillathon is open to any youth between the ages of 8 and 18. Individuals and teams (of 3 or 4) from any county or state may compete. Youth compete according to their age as of January 1st of the current year. Youth ages 8 to 10 compete as juniors; youth ages 11 to 13 compete as intermediates; and youth 14 to 18 compete as seniors.

The Maryland Sheep Breeders Association provides ribbons and premiums to the top ten individuals in each age division and festival t-shirts to the members of the top three teams in each age division. Additional awards are provided by the University of Maryland Extension Small Ruminant Program

Pre-registration of individuals and teams for the 2015 Junior Sheep & Goat Skillathon is requested by April 28. Teams must be pre-registered. Pre-register by sending names, ages, and team affiliations via e-mail to Susan Schoenian at or via fax at (301) 432-4089.

For more information, contact Susan at (301) 432-2767 x343 or visit the skillathon web site at

Thursday, April 2, 2015

FAMACHA Workshop To Be Held at Festival

Bottle jaw
A FAMACHA©workshop will be held Friday, May 1 at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The workshop will be held in barn 7-9 at the Howard County Fairgrounds in West Friendship.

All aspects of internal parasite control will be covered in the workshop.The 4-hour workshop will consist of 2 hours of lecture/discussion and 2 hours of hands-on activity (FAMACHA© scoring and fecal egg counting). The instructor will be Susan Schoenian, Sheep & Goat Specialist for University of Maryland Extension.

The registration fee is $50 per person, family, or farm. It includes a laminated FAMACHA© card and booklet of reference materials.

Go to the Festival web site to register online.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Scrapie Update

 Since the beginning of FY 2015, 29 sheep have tested positive for scrapie; 26 of these positives were from the same source flock. Two goats have tested for positive --both from the same herd. The most recent positive case was confirmed on February 18, 2015.

Since the beginning of FY 2015,12,683 sheep and 3,325 goats have been tested for scrapie. In November 2014, the first positive goat found through slaughter surveillance was identified. Based on the goats sampled at slaughter to date, the prevalence of scrapie in U.S. cull goats is 0.004 percent.

To report a sheep or goat with clinical signs of scrapie, please contact your local VS office.  To learn more about scrapie, the disease, and the national scrapie eradication program visit the APHIS VS Scrapie Website and

View February monthly scrapie report via PowerPoint

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Pasture Management Webinars: Follow-up Survey

If  you participated in the 2015 Pasture Management for Small Ruminant Webinar Series, recently hosted by University of Maryland Extension (Susan Schoenian & Jeff Semler), please complete this short survey. Your answers will help us to improve educational offerings for small ruminant producers. 

Please complete the survey regardless of whether you participated live or watched the recordings. You may complete the survey at a later time, if you haven't had a chance to view all the videos -- or you are waiting for the YouTube videos, soon to be available via the Maryland Extension Small Ruminant Program YouTube channel.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Webinar Recordings: Pasture Management

The title of the 2015 Winter Webinar Series was Pasture Management for Small Ruminant Producers. The webinars were held on consecutive Wednesday evenings in February and March. 

All of the webinars were recorded. They have been minimally edited and made public for viewing. Links to the recordings are available at There are also links to the PowerPoint presentations.
  1. Planning a pasture system
  2.  Pasture plants, including alternative forages
  3. Pasture and grazing management
  4. Pasture nutrition
  5. Pasture health
These and previous webinars are in the process of being converted to YouTube videos. The aforementioned page will have links to the YouTube videos. The videos can also be accessed from the Maryland Small Ruminant Extension Program YouTube Channel. Be sure to subscribe to the YouTube channel so we can get a "friendly" (custom) url.

All webinar recordings and links

Friday, March 20, 2015

Increased Demand at Easter

The demand for kid (goat) and especially lamb increases prior to the Easter holidays. Easter is a Christian feast commemorating the Resurrection of Jesus after his crucifixion.

Hothouse lamb in NYC
Western Christian churches and Eastern Orthodox Christian churches use different calendars (Gregorian vs. Julian) to determine the date of Easter. Sometimes, the two Easters fall on the same day. Sometimes, they are more than a month apart.  This year, Roman (Western) Easter and Greek (Eastern Orthodox) Easter are only one week apart. Roman Easter is on April 5, while Greek Easter is on April 12.

The demand for kid and lamb is usually stronger for Eastern Orthodox Easter. Eastern Orthodox Christians come from a variety of ethnic backgrounds: Greek, Russian, Egyptian, Romanian, Serbian, Ukrainian, Armenian, Bulgarian, Georgian, Albanian, Ethiopian, Syrian, and American.

The type of lamb or kid preferred for the Easter holiday is usually a "hothouse" lamb or kid.  Hothouse lambs are young, milk-fed lambs weighing between 30 and 50 lbs (live). Certain breeds are more suitable to be sold as hothouse lambs, including Southdown, Dorset, Dorper, Cheviot, etc. Large frame breeds and hair sheep aren't as suitable for the Easter hothouse market, as they don't have as much fleshing at the light weights at which they'd be sold.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Goat AI Short Course in North Carolina

North Carolina State University will be holding a Goat Artificial Insemination (AI) Short Course on August 10-12, 2015, at the Small Ruminant Educational Unit on the North Campus of North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The 3-day short course is designed to provide participants with both theoretical background and significant opportunity for hands-on practice needed to facilitate the adoption of artificial insemination into their goat breeding programs. With the use of improved transcervical AI breeding techniques for goats, pregnancy rates comparable to those routinely achieved for AI in cattle are now possible.

The short course will consist of an initial series of lectures on Monday morning coupled with four hands-on practice sessions (Monday pm, Tuesday am & pm, and Wednesday am). Lecture topics will include anatomy & physiology of the female reproductive tract, estrous & ovulation synchronization, AI breeding techniques (standard and improved), and the use of frozen semen for AI.

For more information and to register online, go to:

Thursday, March 5, 2015

A Successful Small Ruminant Expo

Over 140 people, including 35 youth, attended the first-ever Maryland Small Ruminant Expo. The Expo was held February 28 at the Frederick County 4-H Camp & Activities Center in Frederick.

Youth program - goat necropsy
The adult program featured concurrent educational tracks on pasture, health, marketing and alternative enterprises (dairy and fiber). There were four producer panels. Dr. Lindsay Lane was one of the featured speakers. Before attending veterinary school in the Cayman Islands and Minnesota, Dr. Lane was the farm manager for the University of Maryland College Park.

There was a separate educational program for youth, ages 8-18. It featured sessions on dairy, wool, and meat. In the dairy session, youth learned how to make soap. They felted wool and made wool grading posters in the wool session, and learned how to cook goat meat in the meat session. In the final session, "No Guts, No Glory," Dr. Lane taught the kids how to dissect lambs and kids to determine their cause of death.

Lunch was a taco bar, featuring locally-sourced goat meat and lamb and cheeses made from sheep and goat milk. Thanks to Bridgestone Manor Farm for providing the goat. The cheeses were provided by Caprikorn Farms and Shepherd's Manor Creamery. The lamb was purchased from Holsinger's Meats.

The Maryland-Pennsylvania-West Virginia Goat Producers Association and University of Maryland Beginning Farmer Success Project provided financial support for the Expo. Door prizes were donated by the University of Maryland Small Ruminant Extension Program, Maryland Ag Experiment Station, and Kent Feeds.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Goat AI Clinic in Western Maryland

In partnership with University of Maryland Extension, the Maryland Dairy Goat Association (MDGA) will be hosting a Goat Artificial Insemination (AI) Clinic on May 5-6, 2015, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., at the Washington County Ag Expo in Boonsboro, Maryland.

The clinic will be taught by Bio-Genetics, LTD. The first day will be spent in a classroom learning environment. The second day will be hands-on training. Participants must provide their own AI equipment, as well as a doe in heat. For information about equipment and bringing does into heat, go to the Bio-Genetics web site or call their office at (208) 756-6500.

The cost of attending is $200 for MDGA members and $225 for non-members. A deposit of $50 will hold a place. The balance of payment is due April 25. Checks made payable to the Maryland Dairy Goat Association should be sent to MDGA Treasurer: Janice Kessler, 6170 Clearview Road, Dover, PA  17315.

Download program flyer