Developing skills to better manage small ruminants (2019)

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Small ruminant goats.
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ISSUE

Small ruminant production has been increasing in the United States due to the niche market for small ruminant meat by ethnic communities and its recognition as a healthier red meat alternative. Many small ruminant producers are new to raising and managing small ruminants and are unaware of the economic opportunities available in the region for lamb and goat meat. Additionally, producers must develop skills to better manage their does, ewes, lambs and kids during lambing and kidding time.

RESPONSE

Delaware State University’s small ruminant specialist and University of Delaware’s animal science extension agents planned an evening session for small ruminant producers during Delaware Ag Week and invited Cornell University’s small ruminant specialist and goat producer, Tatiana Stanton, as the featured speaker.

 

IMPACT

The educational program had a total of 34 participants representing 592 acres and 492 head of sheep and goats from around Delaware. Seventeen post-program evaluations collected showed that 100% of participants rated the overall program as somewhat or very informative. Eighty-eight percent indicated that they had learned new information and 71% responded that they would be implementing a new practice on their operations as a result of what they had learned.

Some of the producers indicated they would be implementing practices including being better prepared, acquiring a lambing and kidding kit, providing a heat source for newborns, practicing better handling of vaccines, checking ventilation, conducting fecal egg counts, using mineral salt, assuring the proper processing of kids, investigating local markets, trimming hooves while in lambing jug; 

One attendee commented, “The first-hand information and research was awesome — great workshop!”

 

PARTNERS

  • Susan Garey — Animal Science Extension Agent, University of Delaware 

  • Kwame Matthews — Small Ruminant Specialist Delaware State University 

  • Dan Severson — New Castle County Agricultural Agent, University of Delaware 

  • Delmarva Feeds — Sponsored the dinner for the meeting “#1 Sustainable Production Systems for Agricultural and Urban Landscapes.”