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Virtual toolbox for Sheep & Goat Farmers

small ruminant toolbox usbWith demand for their meat, milk and fiber growing, sheep and goats offer an appealingly solid return on investment, particularly for beginning, small-scale and limited-resource farmers. But there is a lot to learn, so success can be a challenge. “Information is power. You can make a lot of mistakes if you don’t under­stand small ruminants,” says Linda Coffey, a National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) specialist.

Now, farmers and Extension educators have an expansive new resource available to them in the Small Ruminant Toolbox. The toolbox is a collection of practical, proven materials covering a wide variety of topics, including pasture and herd management, marketing, pest management, qual­ity of life and whole-farm sustainability.

Toolbox materials are free to access online or can be purchased on a USB flash drive at www.sare.org/ruminant-toolbox. Read more »

Updated Shearer List – 12/20/13

Q Fever Antibodies in Sheep and Goats and in Farmers on Sheep and Goat Farms

This article is not intended to alarm sheep and goat producers but instead to make them aware and more knowledgeable about a disease of sheep and goats (Q fever) that can also infect humans. Much of the information in this article comes from an article that appeared in the March 2013 issue of Ontario Sheep News, “Prevalence of Q fever Antibodies in Ontario Sheep and their Farm Families” by Shannon Meadows (pages 14-15).

Facts about Q Fever:

  • Caused by Coxiella Burnetii, a bacterium that infects sheep, goats, cattle and humans
  • Symptoms in sheep include abortion, stillbirth, early lamb mortality
  • Infected animals may not show symptoms of the disease but may shed the organism in birth fluids, products of pregnancy (placenta, etc), milk and feces
  • Bacteria may be aerosolized and spread in dust
  • Infections in people:
    • 60% don’t have signs of disease
    • Common acute symptoms: fever, headaches, muscle pain
    • Uncommon acute symptoms: pneumonia, hepatitis, meningitis
    • Rare symptoms: heart and liver disease, chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Acute Q Fever very responsive to antibiotics
  • Serological tests required for diagnosis (humans, animals)

Read more »

Welcome to the Wisconsin Sheep and Goat Extension Website!

2 GoatsAs this website develops, it will be updated with current news and events relating to sheep and goats, informational fact sheets and helpful links.  Please visit again to see the updated information.

Please contact David L. Thomas with any questions at dlthomas@wisc.edu or by phone at (608) 263-4306.