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62nd Annual Spooner Sheep Days – August 16, 2014

The 62nd Spooner Sheep Day will be held at the Spooner Agricultural Research Station on Saturday, August16, 2014. The Spooner Sheep Day has a long tradition of providing useful information to the state’s sheep producers and is the longest-running agricultural field day of the many held each year by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

Registration will begin at the station headquarters at 8:30 a.m. with the program ending at approximately 3:30 p.m. Dr. Reid Redden, Sheep Extension Specialist, North Dakota State University, will be the featured speaker. He will discuss his experiences with estrous synchronization of ewes. This is a useful technology to consolidate the lambing season and to induce ewes to lamb in the fall of the year. As Chairman of the National Sheep Improvement Program, Dr. Redden will also discuss the many advantages that can come to both purebred and commercial producers from using the estimates of genetic value available from this program.

Spooner Sheep Day program & map Read more »

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 Read more »

6th Annual Arlington Sheep Day

Saturday, March 15, 2014
Start at 8:50 amPublic Events Facility, Arlington Research Station
Schedule, Map & Registration

Dr. Jeff Held, a well-known Wisconsin native and Extension Sheep Specialist at South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD, will be the featured speaker. He will give a presentation on the use of co-product feeds (dried distillers grains, soy hulls, etc.) in ewe and lamb diets and a second presentation on marketing management practices to reduce live weight shrink loss in finished lambs. Jeff received the B.S. degree in Meat and Animal Science at UW-Madison, the M.S. degree in Ruminant Nutrition at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, and the Ph.D. degree in Ruminant Nutrition at UW-Madison under Dr. Art Pope in 1990 before moving to South Dakota and becoming actively involved in that state’s sheep industry.

Rounding out the morning program will be Dr. Doris Olander, Veterinary Epidemiologist, USDA/APHIS/Veterinary Services, who will provide an update on the national scrapie eradication programs and Dr. Dave Thomas, Professor of Sheep Management and Genetics, Department of Animal Sciences, UW-Madison, who will focus on important management areas crucial for economic sustainability in sheep operations.

During the above presentations, a concurrent program designed for youth and beginning shepherds on lambing-time management and judging and selection of breeding sheep will be conducted at the Sheep Unit by Todd Taylor, Shepherd, Arlington Sheep Unit and Tom Murphy, Ph.D. Graduate Student, Department of Animal Sciences, UW-Madison. All youth that participate in the Arlington Sheep Day will be provided an official note of attendance that may be used to meet youth sheep educational requirements in their county.

Registration for the Arlington Sheep Day program is $5.00 per person or $10.00 per family and includes morning refreshments and materials. Advance registration is preferred and is available by mail, or persons can register the day of the event at the door for the same price.

The Arlington Sheep Day program will be followed at 12:30 p.m. by the Wisconsin Sheep Breeders Cooperative banquet, Recognition Program, and Annual Meeting. Both members and non-members of WSBC are welcomed to attend the WSBC banquet and recognition program. Advance registration is required for the WSBC Recognition Banquet at a cost of $15.00 per person (youth 10 years and younger at $5.00 per person).

Arlington Sheep Day is sponsored by the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Cooperative Extension of the University of Wisconsin-Extension, and the Wisconsin Sheep Breeders Cooperative.

For more information on the 6th Annual Arlington Sheep Day, contact Todd Taylor (608-846-5858, or Dave Thomas (608-263-4306,

For more information on the Wisconsin Sheep Breeders Cooperative Annual Meeting & Recognition Banquet or membership to the WSBC, contact Jill Alf, Executive Secretary


Focus on Goats 2014: Profitability and Progress

Focus on Goats 2014 Flyer
February 7-8, 2014UW Platteville
1 University Plaza, Platteville WI
Registration and full Schedule
Mail-In Registration

Conference Topics: 

  • Keynote Speaker, Katie Hedrich; “Our Past-Our Future”
  • What to Look for When Buying Dairy Goats by Dan Considine & Barry Midtling
  • Retrofitting a Dairy Barn by Dr. Dave Kammel
  • Lunch and Speaker with question and answer segment, Secretary of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, Ben Brancel
  • Record Keeping for Dairy Goats
  • Hay isn’t Cheap: Alternative Feeding Options
  • Farm Financial and Business Planning by Larry Tranel
  • Adding Value to Goat Milk: Can it be done? By Leslie Cooperband & Wes Jarrell
  • The Healthy Fresh Goat by Dr. Chris Duemler, DVM
  • Testing of the Dairy Goat Herd: Profit and Opportunity
  • Conference Discovery Session: What to do with male kids

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 or by phone at (608) 263-4306.