Sheep

The University of Wisconsin Animal Sciences Department and Division of Extension hosted its second webinar in a series on small ruminants Feb. 12, drawing participation from over 40 interested listeners from eight different states.

The University of Wisconsin Animal Sciences Department and Division of Extension hosted its second webinar in a series on small ruminants Feb. 12, drawing participation from over 40 interested listeners from eight different states.

The webinars are a new spin on the long-standing and widespread online sheep meetings that were hosted previously by Dr. Dave Thomas, a now retired sheep specialist with UW-Madison.

“We are excited to bring back this type of remote education for sheep producers,” said Todd Taylor, UW-Madison shepherd and sheep program manager at Arlington Agricultural Research Station.

“I’m glad we’re resuming what we’ve done in the past from a distance,” added Bernie O’Rourke, an Extension Livestock Specialist in the UW-Madison Animal Sciences Department. “Anyone can listen in the convenience of their home or wherever they may be.”

The first in the series, a presentation by Dr. Daniel Morrical on late gestation ewe nutrition, was attended by 76 people virtually in January — a number of attendees that pleased the organizers.

Gene Schriefer, UW-Extension agriculture agent in Iowa County, said the new technology offers more interactive type presentations, where those listening can ask questions and hear answers directly from presenters who appear in a live video format. The meeting can be taken in from home using a computer or phone or at your local Extension office using Zoom technology. Organizers encourage those interested in listening to check with their local Extension office to see if they plan to host a meeting.

Cindy Wolf was the speaker for the February meeting, sharing her experiences as a veterinarian as well as a sheep producer. Wolf has been providing veterinary services to small ruminant producers for over 34 years; she’s retired from the University of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine, where she taught veterinary students and provided veterinary services.

She also has about 1,100 ewes on her farm near Rushford, Minnesota; she farms with her husband on her family’s commercial sheep, goat and beef forage-based operation.

“I don’t know what it is about sheep but I quite like them,” she said with a smile.

Wolf provided management tips she uses on her farm, reviewing proper body condition scoring just prior to lambing; colostrum requirements for new lambs; advantages of pre-shearing before lambing; how to treat cold lambs; and how to best monitor ewe wellness in the first week after lambing.

The final webinar in the series on small ruminant health will be held March 18 from 7:30 to about 9 p.m. The topic will be grazing, and anyone interested can follow this link on March 18 to participate: https://uwextension.zoom.us/j/553269087.

Webinars are free to listen to, and slides of each presentation are available after the meeting if participants wanted to keep and reference the materials again.

For more information, please contact Megan Nelson, UW-Extension Livestock Outreach program manager, at 608-282-5572 or megan.nelson@wisc.edu.