FRANK SHIRTS – A YEAR IN THE LIFE OF RAISING SHEEP

Sheep ranching is an Idaho tradition that dates back to the 1880s. Scottish emigrants like Andy Little, who was known as the “Idaho sheep king,” brought sheep ranching know-how to Idaho and established the industry in a state with lots of open range. Basque sheepherders played a major role as well, finding jobs tending to sheep flocks in Idaho as they had done in the Basque region of Spain. The Basques brought cultural traditions to Idaho that are still celebrated today. At the peak in the 1930s, there were hundreds of sheep ranching outfits in Idaho, running more than 2.7 million sheep statewide. Nowadays, there are fewer than 40 sheep ranchers and 180,000 sheep overall. Frank Shirts is one of the last sheep ranchers standing. He runs 12 bands, or about 28,000 ewes and lambs, from the low country in Wilder to the high country in the Boise and Payette National Forests every year.

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UNIVERSITY SUGGESTION: PROPER HAY STORAGE OPTIONS

In South Dakota hay is the most common winter livestock feed option, because it is less risky than the other available options explained, Karla Hernandez, SDSU Extension Forages Field Specialist. While it does require less planning, Hernandez said it can also be the most expensive method of preservation. Which is why she provides livestock producers with storage tips to consider while they are preparing for winter.

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TEST-TUBE SHEEP CELEBRATE ONE-MONTH BIRTHDAY IN NW CHINA

TEST-TUBE SHEEP CELEBRATE ONE-MONTH BIRTHDAY IN NW CHINA

Photo taken on Nov. 27, 2013 shows two test-tube baby sheep and two Tibetan ewes in a stockbreeding technology experimentation zone in the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Haibei, northwest China’s Qinghai Province. Two test-tube sheep produced by the JIVET technique for the first time celebrated their one-month birthday here in recent days. This experiment succeed in producing purebred Dorset sheep with Tibetan ewes. The technique greatly shortened the breeding cycle, and is expected to be used to introduce eminent breeds and cultivate new breeds.

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MANAGING EWES IN LATE PREGNANCY

There are substantial penalties for not having ewes in good condition by lambing. Ewes that are below optimal condition at lambing may have a significant cost on the sheep enterprise through decreased lamb survival and progeny production. In wool flocks poor ewe nutrition in late pregnancy influences lamb wool follicle development which adversely influences the amount and fiber diameter produced. The negative impact of under-feeding on profitably is usually much larger than the cost of over-feeding the flock.

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SAVING PREMATURE KIDS

DR. STEVEN M. PARISH

 Watching an otherwise healthy but premature kid die is a devastating experience. The feeling of helplessness is paramount but can anything actually be done to save a premature kid? Before making any decisions about how to treat premature births, several factors need to be addressed.

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ALBANY SCIENTISTS PRODUCE SHEEP VACCINE FIRST

LISA MORRISON

 A world-first vaccine more than 25 years in the making is being developed in Albany and could be available in commercial quantities by the end of next year. The vaccine, created in collaboration between researchers at the Department of Agriculture and Food’s Albany district office and the Moredun Research Institute in Edinburgh, Scotland, will guard against the world’s most severe sheep and goat parasite–Barbers pole worm (Haemonchus contortus).

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CAUSES OF INFECTIOUS ABORTIONS IN GOATS

MARIA LENIRA LEITE-BROWNING

 Goat herds generally have a 2 to 5 percent abortion rate. Any percentage above this is a serious problem because abortions can lead to economic losses. Indeed, infectious abortion in a doe herd can be a public health concern because infectious agents that cause abortions in goats can also infect and cause diseases in humans. Infectious abortions should be taken seriously by the producer and herd manager.

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