Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Fecal Eggs Not Evenly Dispersed

Fecal eggs are not usually evenly dispersed in a flock or herd. It is estimated that 20-30% of the flock or herd is responsible for 70-80% of the egg output (per gram of feces).

This rule was tested with the Western Maryland Pasture Based Meat Goat Performance Test. On August 6, fecal egg counts ranged from 25 to 11,300 epg (for 79 goats). The cumulative egg count of the 23 goats with the highest egg counts was 99,425. This represented 70 percent of the total egg output of 142,475. The other 71% of the goats accounted for only 30% of the egg output.

The challenge is to determine which animals are the heavy egg shedders in your flock and/or herd -- and to get rid of them!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Upcoming Events in Virginia

August 29
Sheep Field Day & 40th Annual Virginia Performance Tested Ram Lamb and Replacement Ewe Lamb Sale, Steele's Tavern, Virginia

The field day will start at 10:30 a.m. Field day topics will include selection for parasite resistance, fall lamb management, lamb marketing, and sheep health.  The sale will start at 1 p .m. Eighty rams of various breeds were evaluated in the 2015 test.

September 5
16th Annual Virginia Tech Sheep Center Production Sale
Virginia Tech Alphin-Stuart Livestock Arena, Blacksburg, Virginia

Rams and ewes from Virginia Tech's registered Suffolk and Dorset flocks will sell. The Suffolk flock has been selected for growth and carcass composition. The Dorset flock is maintained primarily as a fall-lambing flock, with emphasis on maternal ability, growth, and moderate size. The sale will begin at 10 a.m. For the first time, sale-day internet bidding will be available at

September 26
2015 Virginia Tech Southwest AREC Ram Test Annual Field Day & Ram Sale
Southwest AREC, Glade Spring, Virginia

The field day begins at 10:30 a.m. Field day topics will include flock health and management, parasite management, and test data summary.  The sale starts at 1 p..m  One hundred and nine rams are being evaluated in this year's test. Approximately 30 rams from the top end will be sold. A portion of the rams will be from NSIP flocks and have EBVs. 

November 6-7
Sheep Management Basics Workshop
Virginia Tech Jack Copenhaver Sheep Center, Blacksburg, Virginia

This workshop is designed for individuals with a limited amount of experience in the care and management of sheep. Special emphasis will be placed on the management practices required during and around the time of lambing. Participants will get hands-on experience with a group of ewes that will be lambing during the two-day workshop. This workshop is limited to a maximum of 25 participants.

For more information about any of these events, visit the Virginia Tech Sheep Extension web site at

Monday, August 17, 2015

NSIP Sale Averages $707

The Annual Center of the Nation Sale, featuring National Sheep Improvement Program (NSIP) sheep, was held recently in Iowa.  One hundred and two sheep sold. They averaged $707. Rams averaged $769. Ewes averaged $515. The high-selling ram (Polypay) brought $2400. The top-selling ewe (Suffolk) sold for $1000.

20 Polypay rams @ $1023
3 Polypay ewes @ $467
24 Suffolk rams @ $614
12 Suffolk ewes @ $600
15 Hampshire rams @ $605
3 Dorset rams @ 433
5 Dorset ewes @ $325
3 Columbia rams @ $717
3 Columbia ewes @ $558
5 Katahdin rams @ $910
2 Katahdin ewes @ $500
3 Targhee rams @ $900
3 SireMax rams @ $550
1 Shropshire ram @ $1200

NSIP calculates Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) on a variety of traits based on generations of performance data. Midwest producers created the Center of the Nation Sale as a marketplace for sheep with EBVs.  The total sheep industry has benefited.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Upcoming Webinar: Using EBVs

Using EBVs to Achieve Your Breeding Goals is the subject of the next webinar sponsored by ASI's Let's Grow Committee and hosted by Jay Parsons, Ph.D., University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

On Wednesday, Aug. 25, at 7 p.m. CDT, Dave Notter, Ph.D., Virginia Tech University, will be presenting this webinar to address strategies to use EBVs to achieve breeding goals and manage genetic change in your flock. Topics to be covered include:
  • Using direct and maternal EBVs to manage changes in body weights from birth through adulthood;
  • Optimizing litter size to maximize ewe productivity;
  • Using EBVs to optimize fleece value and the rate of improvement in fleece traits;
  • Using scanning information to enhance carcass value;
  • Using worm egg counts to enhance parasite resistance; and
  • Using EBVs to improve reproductive performance.
Selection indexes provides a convenient mechanism to combine EBVs for different traits into a single measure and are currently available for each of the main NSIP breed types. The presentation will discuss the value of indexes as tools for genetic improvement and consider how to address limitations of available indexes in specific production situations.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Fall Pasture and Forage Programs

University of Maryland Extension Offices in Harford and Baltimore Counties have are teaming up to offer a series of workshops for livestock owners this fall. The programs will focus on a variety of topics surrounding pasture and forage management.

Pasture Walk at Jack Straw Farm
August 27, 2015 from 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.
Jack Straw Farm in White Hall, MD
See more at

Pasture Site Tour and Hay Evaluation Workshop
September 16, 2015 from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Baltimore County Ag Center in Cockeysville, MD
See more at

Toxic Plant Seminar
October 20, 2015 from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Harford County Extension Office in Forest Hill, MD
See more at

Monday, August 3, 2015

Why didn't deworming improve FAMACHA scores?

Deworming animals with FAMACHA© scores of 4 or 5 should result in the improvement of FAMACHA© scores by at least one when checked two weeks later.  What if it doesn’t?  There are several reasons why deworming small ruminants may not improve their FAMACHA© scores.  We will start from the most common and go to the less likely items.

If you are deworming lactating animals, the nutritional competition between milk production and making blood may keep the animals anemic until they are in late lactation or until their young are weaned.  Heavy pasture contamination (lots of infective larvae on pasture) can also cause animals to become wormy quickly.

We need to think about dewormer resistance as another possible cause.  We use FAMACHA© to reduce the rate of development of dewormer resistance.  However, dewormer resistance can still develop.  The most common source of dewormer resistance is new animals

Read full article by Steve Hart 

Source:  American Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control (ACSRPC)

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Summer 2015 Wild & Woolly

The Summer 2015 issue of Wild & Woolly has been published to the Maryland Small Ruminant Page. It is the first newsletter to be posted to the newly designed web site.

Read about the Big 5 of worm control
Wild & Woolly is a quarterly newsletter for sheep and goat producers. It is also available via ISSUU and as a PDF file (for download.

HTML version
PDF file

Monday, July 20, 2015

Center of the Nation NSIP Sale

The Center of the Nation NSIP Sale will be held Saturday, July 25 at the Clay County Fairgrounds in Spencer, Iowa. The sale will feature performance tested sheep from the following breeds:  Polypay, Hampshire, Suffolk, Dorset, Katahdin, Shropshire, SireMax, Rambouillet, and SAMM.

There will be an educational program on Friday afternoon (July 24) and Saturday morning (July 25). The sale will start at 1 p.m.  You can watch and bid online at

The Center of the Nation NSIP Sale is one of the few opportunities in which you can buy performance tested sheep. NSIP stands for National Sheep Improvement Program. It is a quantitative genetic evaluation program that calculates EBV's (estimated breeding values) and allows you to compare animals from different flocks.

View Sale Catalog

Monday, June 29, 2015

84 Bucks Start Maryland Test

Eighty-four (84) meat goat bucklings started the 2015 Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test on June 26. The test is conducted at the University of Maryland's Western Maryland Research & Education Center in Keedysville.

The purpose of the test is to evaluate the performance of meat goat bucklings consuming a pasture diet with natural exposure to internal parasites, primarily the barber pole worm. The top-ten bucks will be selected primarily on the basis of growth performance (ADG), parasite resistance (fecal egg counts) and parasite resilience (FAMACHA© scores and need for treatment).

A sample of this year's test bucks.
This year's test bucks were provided by twenty-four consignors from twelve states:  Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont, and Virginia. There are ten new consignors to this year's test. Fifteen consignors  have previously consigned bucks.

This year's bucks are all Kiko or Kiko-influenced. This is the first year in which no fullblood Boers were consigned; only some crosses are in the test. Upon arrival, the bucks ranged in weight from 31.6 to 71.8 lbs. and averaged 49.0 lbs ± 8.4. The median weight was 47.8 lbs. FAMACHA© scores ranged from 1 to 4 and averaged 2.2 ± 0.7. The median score was 2.0.

After a 13-day adjustment period, the bucks will be evaluated for 84 days. They will be handled every two weeks to determine body weights, FAMACHA©, body condition, coat condition, dag, and fecal consistency scores. Individual fecal samples will be collected bi-weekly. While on test, the bucks will be managed as a single herd. They will be rotationally grazed among six ~2 acre paddocks planted in a variety of cool and warm season annual and perennial plants. They will be fed a daily supplement of soybean hulls, 0.75 lbs. per head per day.

To follow the progress of this year's test, visit the blog at

Sunday, June 21, 2015

NEW DESIGN: Maryland Small Ruminant Page

The Maryland Small Ruminant Page ( has been redesigned using

The Maryland Small Ruminant Page was created in 1998 to serve as an informational portal for sheep and goat producers and anyone else interested in small ruminants. The site was developed and is solely maintained by Susan Schoenian, Sheep & Goat Specialist for University of Maryland Extension

The home page of the web site is still, but all other pages have new web addresses or have been eliminated. The web site no longer contains pages of links, related to subject matter. Nowadays, the easiest way to find  links is to google by keyword(s).

Friday, June 19, 2015

A Successful Maryland Wool Pool

The Maryland Wool Pool sold 29,643 lbs. of wool, brought to the pool by 58 consignors. The pool shipped 78 bales that weighed an average of 390 lbs. Last year's pool packed 29034 lbs. of wool into 112 bales.

Grade Pounds
Choice (fine) 48
Medium white face 9793
Non-white face 300
Coarse 5013
Short 14489
Total 29643

Special thanks is extended to the 30 volunteers who assisted with this year's pool. Volunteers are what  makes the pool successful and profitable.

Emily Chamelin is the wool pool manager. Contact her at if you have any questions or suggestions for the wool pool. The pool is sponsored by the Maryland Sheep Breeders Association.

Friday, June 5, 2015

2015 Maryland Wool Pool

The 58th Annual Maryland Wool Pool will be held Wednesday, June 17, 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium, Maryland.

Three lines will be set up to accept wool. Consignors with wool baled in square bales will be pulled out of line to unload at the third line. The other two lines will accept loose wool. Consignors are expected to unload their own wool. Any help consignors can provide at the pool will be most appreciated.

Prices are slightly up from last year. The pool has been purchased by Chargeurs.

Grade Price per pound
Choice white face $0.95
Medium white face $0.88
Non white face $0.80
Coarse white face $0.78
Short $0.72

The price you receive for your wool will be the above price minus a deduction for wool pool expenses (usually between 5 and 8 cents per pound). Maryland Sheep Breeders Association annual dues of $25 will be withheld on wool sales over $40.

Black and gray wool and wool from hair sheep or hair sheep crosses will not be accepted. Wet wool cannot be accepted. Any producer bringing wool in nylon square packs weighting 300 pounds or more will receive a 5-cent per pound bonus payment for their wool. A replacement wool pack will be issued with each pack containing 300 pounds or more.

Smaller lots of wool can be delivered in plastic trash bags or loose in your vehicle. Never use polypropylene feed bags, and avoid using burlap bags. Wool delivered in polypropylene bags will be refused, and wool delivered in burlap will be deducted 3 cents per pound.

Sheepman Supply Company (in Frederick) will be collecting small lots of wool to take to the pool in the week leading up to June 17. Please contact them at 1 (800) 331-9122 for more information.

For more information about the wool pool, contact the manager Emily Chamelin at (443) 244-2702 or

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.