ABORTION IN SHEEP

LINDY VAUGHAN

Most sheep farmers accept that some losses due to abortion in sheep are inevitable.  An abortion rate of 1-2% would not cause serious concern and might be attributable to factors such as moving or handling late in pregnancy, or perhaps inadequate tough space causing ewes to jostle each other.  If the incidence of abortion rises above 5% and if there is a large number of abortions occurring around the same time, then your vet should be called in to investigate the problem. 

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WINDMILL COUNTRY: TRADITIONS OF RAISING GOATS, SHEEP SURVIVE GENERATIONS

JERRY LACKEY

Today and Friday will be “old home time” in the Livestock Pavilion at the 80th annual San Angelo Stock Show. The Rambouillet sheep and Angora goats, both symbols of West Texas, will take center stage while several generations of ranch families who brought the first animals to town look on.

From the early days at the San Angelo Stock Show, the Rambouillet breed became the symbol of the West Texas sheep industry, and it eventually became the official mascot of Angelo State University.

Clinton Hodges, a Sterling County rancher, exhibited the champion Rambouillet ram in 1949. He showed both the champion ram and champion Rambouillet in 1963. He followed his father, L.F. Hodges, into the business.

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NATURAL SELENIUM CO-PRODUCT GOOD FOR SHEEP

A more cost-effective, longer-lasting selenium supplement for livestock may soon be available, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientist.

Animals, as well as humans, need selenium, a trace mineral and component of antioxidants, to stay healthy. Inadequate selenium in sheep reduces conception rates, increases neonatal mortality and, in some instances, causes “white muscle disease” — nutritional muscular dystrophy. Selenium deficiency in sheep and cattle costs livestock producers an estimated $545 million annually in losses and affects livestock in more than 35 states where regions are deficient in the mineral.

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WARM-SEASON GRASSES MAY HELP BRIDGE ‘SUMMER SLUMP’

NAT WILLIAMS

Livestock producers looking for ways to get through the “summer slump” may consider warm-season grasses in their pastures.

Mark Kennedy, a grazing specialist with the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service, provided cattlemen with some warm-season options at a recent conference here.

“We’ve got to have something to get through the summer,” he said. “One thing I think a lot of producers don’t think about is warm-season grass to help manage spring growth, keep their pastures more vegetative.”

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CALIFORNIA APPRENTICESHIP BUILDING FUTURE PRODUCERS

AMY TRINIDAD

Over the next year, the American Sheep Industry Association is teaming up with the state sheep associations to expand the Let’s Grow initiative to include mentor programs for beginning sheep producers. Providing the hands-on experience and the one-on-one contact with experienced sheep producers will be key to making these state programs work. One producer in California has been embracing this concept for four years now and has evolved it into an apprenticeship for those curious about the sheep industry.

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