Sheep can be ewesful allies

By KEENAN BISHOP Extension Agent for Agriculture Published:

Sheep used to be very common in Central Kentucky until the middle of the last century. Today, sheep are still an option for landowners with small acreages or those that wish to co-graze with cattle.

Predators are the main cause for concern with sheep so shepherds must have good fences, guard animals, no nearby dogs or coyotes or sometimes, all of the above.

Helping sheep producers successfully manage their flocks is the goal of three Eweprofit Schools offered this year at the University of Kentuckys College of Agricultures Animal Research Center Sheep Unit in Versailles. The first school, Eweprofit, will be April 4 and will focus on lamb feeding, from creep feeding to early weaning to finishing lambs in drylot or on pasture. April lambing techniques and managing ewes and lambs through the spring grass flush will also be presented.

The next Eweprofit will follow on June 7, with an emphasis on preparing ewes for breeding in August and September, internal parasite control, pasture management and managing ewes that are in a fall lambing program.

The final, Eweprofit will occur on Oct. 11 and will focus on ewe management from breeding in August and September through lambing in January and February. Preparation of ewes and rams for a November/December breeding season will also be discussed, and complete management programs for January/February lambing, September/October lambing and April lambing will be provided.

Although designed for new and prospective producers, Eweprofit Schools may also be beneficial to veteran producers who want to sharpen their sheep management skills. New goat producers may also benefit from these schools. While sheep and goats are not managed exactly the same, certain aspects are similar and would benefit the first time goat owner too. Participants may attend any or all of the schools.

Each program will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Pre-registration is not required. For more information, contact Donald G. Ely at (859) 257-2717 or dely@uky.edu.

The UK Sheep Shearing School will be held on April 20-21 at the Animal Research Center Sheep Unit, Versailles. The school is designed for beginning shearers or experienced shearers who want to hone their shearing skills.

Charlie Swaim of Oster Shearing and Equipment Company and a four-time International Sheep Shearing Champion will be the primary instructor. Endre Fink, manager of the UK Sheep Unit, will assist him. These professionals will teach the most current shearing methods as well as maintenance and care of shearing equipment.

The school begins at 8 a.m. on April 20 and will conclude by 4 p.m. on April 21. The school is designed for adults and at least senior 4-H (high school) or FFA members. Enrollment will be limited to 12 participants and will require a $25 registration fee. Details about the school can be obtained from Dr. Ely as well.

UK Bull Sale April 8

Fourteen two-year-old Angus bulls will go on the auction block at 10 a.m. April 8. The sale will be held at the UK Animal Research Center in Versailles. The bulls have been de-wormed and vaccinated for Vibrio, Lepto, IBR, BVD, BRSV, PI3 and H Somnus. A breeding soundness examination will be conducted prior to sale and only those bulls that are listed as satisfactory potential breeders will be offered.

For producers interested in Phase I cost-share, all but one of these bulls meet the guidelines established in at least one of the cost-share categories and most meet multiple guidelines, said Darrh Bullock, UK beef specialist. The calves were born on the UK farm and are the cream of the crop, Bullock said.

Detailed information on the bulls is available here at the Extension office.

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