ECONOMICAL, ALTERNATIVE FEEDS FOR SHEEP

D.G. ELY AND G.L.M. CHAPPELL

The costs of feedstuffs for sheep can vary daily. Causes of these variations include season of the year, geographic location, climate and competition between man and domestic animals for common feedstuffs. Although producers may not be able to control these variables, using constant, relative feeding values of alternative feed sources can increase sheep production’s economical efficiency. Knowing how to use relative feeding values becomes especially important when one realizes that feed can account for 70% of lamb production’s total cost.

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FOOT ROT CONTROL

GERALD Q FITCH

Foot rot is a disease that has been around the sheep industry for decades. Foot rot is one of the most economically devastating diseases of sheep. Although death loss due to foot rot is low, losses in production, labor, and materials used for treatment is very costly.

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STARTING A DAIRY GOAT BUSINESS

WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

One of the biggest problems facing someone getting into the dairy or meat goat business is recognizing that it is not a quick easy business to get into and operate. Too many people see goats as nice, easy to manage animals that take little in the way of facilities, land, or labor. While some of this may be true in comparison to a bovine dairy, much is just blue sky speculation based on wants, not realities. We must determine what our dreams and desires are in the context of the sober realities of the real business world. A lack of knowledge and planning has caused the short-term run of more than one goat operation, in particular new dairy goat startups.

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TANNINS, NUTRITION AND INTERNAL PARASITES

Tannins are naturally occurring polyphenols made by the plant to defend it against microbial invasion. There is a huge array of different tannins, all of which have different effects on the animals (and humans) eating them. Many, but not all of them are toxic, and many reduce the digestibility of a plant, particularly its protein. A common characteristic is that they bind to and precipitate proteins, but some also have anthelmintic activity. The beneficial effects of tannins need to be explored, while the detrimental effects of tannins can in some cases be overcome.

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MANAGING PASTURES FOR SHEEP

SUSAN SCHOENIAN

The pasture resource is often the most neglected part of the sheep enterprise, yet it usually provides the majority of nutrients to the stock. Well-managed pastures that are properly grazed have the potential to minimize feed costs and increase profits. Pasture is the most natural diet for sheep and other ruminant animals. Though pasture is not without its own risks, fewer digestive problems are usually encountered among grazing sheep and lambs

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ANALYSIS OF NONPREDATOR SHEEP LOSS

Predators remain the number one single cause of sheep loss in the United States, followed by old age. This was reinforced in a report released this week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) titled Sheep and Lamb Nonpredator Death Loss Report, 2009. The report provides a breakdown of sheep and lamb death losses in 2009 for all causes by operation size and region, focusing on causes of death losses other than predators. More detailed analysis of predator losses are given in other USDA reports and account for more than 40 percent of the deaths.

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TOOLS TO GROW YOUR FLOCK

A new resource has been made available for producers looking for assistance in quantifying expenses and profits on their sheep operation. With the assistance of various state agriculture economists, regional budgets have been developed. Individuals can input the numbers to fit the specifics from their farm or ranch leaving them with the calculated risk, profit or loss, of running the operation. The ability to work through the appropriate budget is also helpful when sheep producers talk with lenders.

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