Small Ruminants

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Small Ruminant Outreach & Technical Assistance

The overall objective of VSU’s Small Ruminant Program is to conduct current, relevant, and integrated small ruminant production and management research and Extension programming for small farm success in Virginia. Technical assistance is available in many county offices. Find the Extension office nearest you if you’d like an on-site or telephone consultation pertaining to small ruminants. 

Small Ruminant Field Day

VSU’s Annual Small Ruminant Field Day provides an opportunity for small ruminant producers, new and old, to come together and learn about current information on management by leaders and experts in the field. Learn more about upcoming field days and other small ruminant programs.

Learn more about the information shared at our 2016 field day and 2017 field day.

Small Ruminant Integrated Parasite Management Course

This is an integrated 5-hour course in sustainable approaches for parasite control in sheep and goats. Infection with internal parasites, especially the barber pole worm (Haemonchus contortus), is the number one health problem affecting sheep and goats. Traditionally, producers relied on chemical treatments (dewormers) to control infections. However, due to mis-use and over-use, internal parasites have developed resistance to multiple classes of available dewormers. There is now an urgent need for producers to adapt sustainable integrated control strategies for parasite control to reduce reliance on chemical dewormers and prolong their efficacy on farms. This course is limited to 25 participants at a time and includes hands-on learning on how to correctly use tools such as FAMACHA© scores, fecal egg counts and the Five Point Check®. All participants receive a certificate of completion at the end of the course. Learn more about upcoming courses and other small ruminant programs.

Delmarva All Worms All Day Conference

This is a collaborative effort by a regional team of Cooperative Extension specialists in DE, MD and VA. The conference is a comprehensive 6-hour course that focuses entirely on gastro-intestinal parasites (worms) that are the most problematic to small ruminant production. The conference seeks to educate stakeholders on the most up-to-date methods and recommendations for controlling these parasites. See for more information and registration for 2018’s conference. 

Enhanced Reproductive Efficiency in Small Ruminants Course

Many small ruminant producers fail to take advantage of the relatively short breeding season of sheep and goats and to manage their herd adequately for optimum reproductive efficiency. This curriculum is an integrated 3- 6-hour course on reproductive management in small ruminants, advanced reproductive technology in small ruminants, estrus synchronization techniques and the use of artificial insemination for genetic improvement, and pasture lambing/kidding. Learn more about upcoming courses and other small ruminant programs.

Starting a Sheep and Goat Enterprise Course

Many new and beginning small ruminant producers often lack the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful in the small ruminant industry. This curriculum is an integrated 6-hour course to train new and beginning producers interested in raising sheep and goats, especially for meat. The course includes breed selection, housing, supplies/equipment, fencing, feeding, marketing, health of your sheep and goats, reproduction, preparing for lambing and kidding), hands-on activities including hoof trimming, body condition scoring, and correct drenching techniques and also information for starting a farm business to include insurance, tax, and legal considerations. Learn more about upcoming courses and other small ruminant programs.

Production and Marketing of Goat and Lamb in Virginia

In partnership with VSU’s Agricultural Research Station and the VSU Cooperative Extension Marketing and Agribusiness Program, current small ruminant Extension programming has been directed to bring awareness to local small ruminant products and where you can find them. Examples include the celebration of “Lambuary” during the month of January and “Goatober” during the month of October. During these months, cooking demonstrations are held and recipe factsheets are distributed to familiarize consumers on ways to incorporate goat and lamb into everyday dishes.