Goat and Sheep Tips
This calendar is simply to be used as a guide for those in the hair sheep or meat goat business. Since all farms require slightly different management, apply what you read here to fit your particular needs. As parents of two young boys and both my husband and I working full time jobs, time is a critical factor in our management decisions. We are also a low input operation and we feed little-to-no grain. We run registered Dorper rams on Dorper and Katahdin ewes and we run Boer bucks on Boer X Spanish type does. Letting you know this will help you understand why we do what we do and why I recommend what I do.
If you raise wool sheep you are going to need to determine the time when you need to shear but all else is probably similar.
Sept. 15: Evaluate all animals for body condition.
We will “flush” our animals at this time. This entails deworming those that need it (we never deworm everyone) and moving the animals to a high quality pasture. If needed, the bucks may receive a little grain and a little alfalfa hay. Trim feet on bucks and perform a breeding soundness exam. To assist with synchronization of the females, keep bucks out of sight, smell and sound. When they are introduced to the females most will come into heat within a few days.
Oct. 15: Turn out bucks. Make sure there is ample forage for livestock. The better the nutrition at this time, the more lambs/kids in the Spring.
Dec. 1: Retrieve bucks.
Feb. 15: Evaluate does/ewes. Deworm if needed and vaccinate for tetanus and overeating. Please see your veterinarian for recommended dosage. Make sure females are in good condition, not fat and not thin. If they become either fat or thin at this time you will be in trouble once lambing/kidding starts.
March 1: Lambing and kidding is approaching. Keep eye out for lambs. If you have young ewe lambs or doelings or some thin grannies – you may want to consider moving them to a high quality pasture or supplementing with high quality hay.
March 15: You should begin to have babies hitting the ground. Check on them often. We do not kid in the barn nor do we give much assistance during kidding/lambing. We like to get the ewes/lambs in the working pens about once a week during kidding/lambing so we can ear tag, castrate and dock tails.
April 30: Hopefully you are done. Kids will need to be monitored for parasites as they are very susceptible when they are young. Once they start mimicking mom when she is grazing, they will start consuming parasite larvae. When the average age of my kids/lambs is about 4 weeks, I like to vaccinate the kids/lambs against tetanus and overeating. I will treat them again 2 to 4 weeks later.
June/July: We like to wean. The kids/lambs should be at a minimum of 45 days. We don't give the kids/lambs their tetanus and overeating shots at weaning. The stress of weaning will negatively affect the immune system and the effects of the vaccination will not be as great. I will also check all for parasites and deworm.
July/Aug.: This is a critical time in Arkansas to check for parasites. When it starts to dry up and we get only the occasional shower, people forget about the parasites. The occasional showers is just what the parasites need to stay viable in your pastures.
Sept. 15: By the end of the summer/early fall the lambs and kids that we chose not to keep will be sold. We always provide a high quality mineral and fresh water for our animals and we check on them often.