All posts by Serrano Organic Farm

Serrano Organic Farm produces the very best MicroGreens, PetiteGreens , Edible Flowers, and Culinary Herbs.


Pneumonia may be a major health problem among all ages and categories of sheep. It can be caused by a range of organisms and foreign bodies affecting the lungs. The combination of viral and bacterial microorganisms with an elevation in stress is the primary reason for acute pneumonia. Moisture and temperature extremes are major factors contributing to stress. In New Mexico, moisture typically is not a typical stress factor, however the extreme temperature changes throughout the fall are.

Acute pneumonia will affect lambs from birth to yearling age. They are most likely infected early in life by the causative microorganisms, but they will resist the infection until some stress occurs, like extreme changes in temperature, exposure to dust, shipping, or extended periods while not feed. Afflicted lambs generally weaken, refuse feed, seem gaunt, and breathe rapidly. Depending on the time it occurs, the condition usually is called shipping pneumonia or acute summer pneumonia. Proper management from lambing throughout the lifetime of the lamb is important to minimize the incidence of pneumonia.

When shed lambing, keep the premises clean, dry, and as draft-free as doable. The lambing shed ought to be well ventilated and moisture should be kept to a minimum. Avoid over-confinement. Shear ewes before lambing to scale back infection from wool tags around the udder.

Proper nutrition of the ewes is very important. Vitamin C deficiency has been associated with the incidence of pneumonia. Treatment ought to accommodates using broad-spectrum antibiotics as directed on the label. Reducing stress and administering high levels of antibiotics during inclined periods could be of some value in reducing the incidence of pneumonia.

Sheep Blue Tongue

Blue tongue is an insect-borne, viral, noncontagious disease that occurs in some areas of New Mexico. It’s transmitted from infected animals to prone sheep by the bites of a small insect commonly called a gnat. The disease normally happens from midsummer until frost. Early symptoms sometimes embrace excessive salivation, reddening of the lips and mouth, and progressive darkening of the vascular areas of the mouth. Furthermore, the muzzle, lips, tongue, throat, and generally the ears and neck become swollen. Occasionally, sheep suffer from severe lameness furthermore. Not all signs of blue tongue appear in a very single sheep or maybe in a very single outbreak.

Best management methods involve controlling the gnat. Since this insect breeds within the mud along the edges of slow-moving streams or water tank overflow, strive to eliminate these breeding sites. Breeding sites also will be sprayed with insecticides.

A changed live-virus sort of vaccine is offered, however it is estimated that six to seven totally different viruses cause blue tongue. Occasionally, the vaccine may cause a reaction that’s nearly as bad because the disease itself.

Pregnant ewes, notably in the primary fifty days of gestation, should not be vaccinated. No satisfactory medical treatment has been found for animals with blue tongue. Typically, with proper care, most animals recover naturally at intervals fourteen days, although severely affected animals could recover additional slowly. Isolate affected animals in a shaded space with palatable feed and fresh water. Antibiotics are of no price within the treatment of blue tongue, but they’re helpful in preventing secondary infections.

Treatment of Sheep and lambs

Treatment of foot rot


Separate sheep with foot rot and scald whenever sensible to reduce spread within the flock.


Inject with one long-acting dose of antibiotic (ensure the right dose, under-dosing delays recovery).

Do not trim the hoof horn, this delays healing.


Mark affected leg of treated sheep.



Ear tag

Cause of lameness


When cured, come sheep to the main flock. Sheep ought to be sound within two – ten days of treatment.

If still lame after fourteen days, check diagnosis is correct and retreat.

Cull sheep lame with foot-rot and/or scale more than twice a year or not responding to treatment.

Vegetation management

Using sheep for custom grazing might convince be the foremost profitable sheep enterprise. Whereas the demand for lamb and wool seems limited, society seems willing to spend “unlimited” amounts of money to enhance the setting. Increasingly sheep (and goats) are being viewed as a natural and environmentally-friendly manner to manage landscapes. At the same time, land managers don’t wish to have sheep. They want to contract grazing services.

There are many factors to contemplate when developing a fee-based mostly grazing business: cost of fencing, water offer, the requirement to test animals daily, and a place to stay the sheep when they’re not on a job. Fencing is the typically the major constraint. Predators may gift a drawback in remote locations. If the positioning is in read of the general public, the general public might expect the sheep to possess access to shelter. It may also be necessary to vaccine the sheep for rabies.

While any quite sheep can be used for grazing, a flock of mature weathers might prove to be the most effective choice. They’re easier to manage and can be pushed to eat undesirable plant species without adversely affecting productivity.
Over the years, sheep are used to regulate unwanted vegetation in orchards, vineyards, and on Christmas tree plantations. They have grazed beneath power lines, in national parks and historic battlefields, at ski resorts, and in urban settings. They need been used for noxious weed management. Compared to goats, they are easier to contain, easier to handle, less damaging, and do a higher job maintaining grassy landscapes. But, goats are a better alternative to control brush and tree seedlings.

Club Lambs

Some sheep farms concentrate on the assembly and sale of club lambs. Club lambs are “feeder” lambs (ewes or wethers) that youth purchase to develop as market lamb projects to exhibit at county and state fairs, regional and national shows. Market lamb projects are sometimes “terminal,” which means they start with the acquisition of a lamb and finish with the sale of the lamb for slaughter.

While any lamb will be shown as a market lamb category, certain breeds will be a lot of competitive, unless lambs are shown by breed. Significant muscled lambs that end over one hundred twenty five lbs. are typically the most competitive within the show ring and in championship drives. Hampshires, Suffolks, and crosses between these 2 breeds are the foremost common type of club lamb, and the most competitive.

Dorsets,  South-downs, and Shropshire can also build good club lambs. Some shows separate lambs by weight increments, while others separate lambs by breed. Some shows collect carcass data on lambs and award additional prizes to youth participants. In live shows, judges don’t always decide the lambs that can droop the best carcasses.

Some practices typically utilized in the club lamb sector may be distasteful to some people, e.g. lack of forage within the diet, late castration, ultra-short tail docking, and made exercise. The important factor to remember about a club lamb project is that it’s a youth project meant to teach young folks valuable life skills. To put winning (in any respect prices) on top of youth development is sadly missing the purpose.

Seed Stock

Many sheep farms concentrate on the production and sale of seed-stock or breeding stock. Breeding stock may include ewes and rams, purebred registered animals and industrial cross-breds. Customers for breeding stock may be other seed-stock producers or business sheep producers.

In areas where there is a large business sheep trade, producers could be in a position to determine demand for commercial rams. One choice for selling rams is to participate in Central Ram Performance Testing Programs. During a ram take a look at, rams are evaluated for various traits as well as growth, feed potency, wool traits, parasite resistance, and breeding soundness. Rams that don’t meet performance standards don’t seem to be allowed to sell. Consignment sales, production sales, and personal treaty sales are different means that of selling breeding stock.

Record keeping is a crucial facet of seedstock production. The National Sheep Improvement Program (NSIP) is quantitative genetic evaluation program for little ruminant producers. It calculates EBVs (estimated breeding values) for numerous traits and permits the comparison of sheep from different flocks beneath different feeding and management systems. NSIP knowledge is processed by Australia’s LAMBPLAN. Producers will also do their own on-farm record keeping. There are numerous computer programs out there for this purpose. A spreadsheet can conjointly be used.

Nowadays, it is counseled that breeding rams, especially those sold to other seedstock producers, be blood tested for scrapie genotype. Rams with inclined genotypes (e.g. QQ) should probably not be sold for breeding, if progeny will be kept for breeding. QQ rams will be used to provide club lambs or as terminal sires in business flocks where all lambs will visit slaughter. Scrapie isn’t a genetic disease; but, a private’s genotype determines whether or not it will get scrapie if it’s exposed to the infective agent.

Producers of breeding stock could conjointly wish to enroll their flocks in the Voluntary Scrapie Flock Certification Program (VSFCP). The VSFCP is a monitoring program for scrapie administered by USDA-APHIS. It is a requirement for export.

Sheep Dairying

Sheep have been milked for thousands of years and were milked long before the first cow was milked. The globe’s commercial dairy sheep trade is concentrated in Europe and therefore the countries on or near the Mediterranean Sea. The dairy sheep business is very tiny in the United States. Most sheep dairies are located in the Upper Midwest (Wisconsin and Minnesota), California, and also the New England states.

Sheep’s milk is usually created into gourmand cheeses. Some milk is made into yogurt and ice cream. Recent sheep’s milk is seldom consumed. Milk will be sold to a processor for conversion to cheese (or other products) or the milk will be processed on-farm by the producer and marketed as a price-added product.

Whereas any breed of sheep will be milked, there are specialized dairy sheep breeds, much like there are specialized breeds of cattle and goats for dairy production. The 2 dairy sheep breeds raised in the US are the East Friesian and Lacaune. The Awassi, a dairy breed from the Middle East, was recently introduced to the US via embryos and semen.

Non-dairy breeds that are best tailored to dairy production are Dorset and Polypay. They solely manufacture a hundred to two hundred pounds of milk per lactation, while crosses between domestic breeds and specialised dairy breeds average 250 to 650 pounds of milk per lactation. There’s some interest in making a dairy hair sheep by crossing the Katahdin with the Lacaune.

The nutritional needs of dairy ewes are considerably over for ewes being raised for meat and/or wool. Total feed necessities will rely genetics and length of lactation. It’s important to notice that some feeds will impart undesirable flavors to the milk (e.g. fish meal) and should not be fed in large quantities during lactation. Dairy ewes have the best water demand of any category of sheep at approximately 3 gallons per head per day.

While most non-dairy producers wean their lambs at sixty days old or later, dairy lambs are weaned at 30 days old or younger, therefore that the ewes can be milked when they are still producing vital amounts of milk. Milking facilities and equipment will be the most important expense in an exceedingly dairy sheep operation. The kind of milking parlor could vary consistent with the size of the operation. Producers milking but 50 ewes could utilize a platform for milking, whereas a “pit” parlor is desirable for larger operations.

When milk is cooled, it can be shipped to a processing plant or frozen for later use or cargo. Whereas recent milk could end in a product of slightly higher quality, frozen milk has been shown to provide very acceptable product. The ability to freeze milk on the farm and deliver giant quantities to the processor at infrequent intervals allows the establishment of sheep dairies nice distances from a processing plant.

Wool Production

Wool was the primary commodity to be traded internationally and is the merchandise the general public most ordinarily associates with sheep. But, the importance of wool (as a product) relative to meat has declined dramatically. In the first 190zero’s, the bulk of income from a sheep operation was from the sale of wool. Today, it is the other approach around. While wool is still necessary on several sheep farms, lambs almost continually contribute the majority of income to the farm. Fine wool brings the most money within the commodity market.

Selling wool in the industrial wool market has restricted profit potential for most producers, but niche selling wool can pay huge dividends. For example, while wool sold commercially may bring only 75 cents per pound, fleeces sold handy spinners may bring as much as $fifteen per pound. Several producers have their wool processed into yarn, roving, blankets, or crafts and market price-added products. There are many cooperative ventures within the US that can add price to a producer’s clip.

Fleeces sold to hand spinners need to be of top of the range. Feeding, housing, health care, handling, and harvesting are all vital to the assembly of top quality wool. It goes without saying that fleeces ought to be skirted. Skirting is when the undesirable elements of the fleece are removed: belly wool, top knots, leg clippings, tags, stained wool, cotted wool, and short wool.
Some producers put covers on their sheep to forestall the fleeces from getting dirty and guard against the sun’s ultraviolet rays, which may cause fading at the ideas of colored fleeces. Since wool grows more beneath covers, covers have to be changed repeatedly because the fleece grows.

Hair Sheep


Panchito Sheep – look at this sweet-boy

The declining value of wool relative to meat, along with the decreasing variety of sheep shearers, has contributed to an expansion of hair sheep, not solely within the United States, but alternative countries in addition. It is estimated that approximately ten percent of the planet’s sheep population is hair sheep. In keeping with a 2011 NAHMS study, twenty one.five percent of sheep operations within the U.S. raise hair sheep breeds.

Hair sheep naturally shed their coats (mixtures of hair and wool fibers) and do not need shearing, crutching, or tail docking. Hair sheep are additional proof against internal parasites (gastro-intestinal worms) and alternative pests than wooled sheep. Also, hair sheep breeds possess many fascinating reproductive characteristics, such as early puberty, out-of-season breeding, and prolificacy.

Hair sheep are typically promoted as an “straightforward-care” various to wooled sheep and ancient high-cost production systems. Hair sheep ewes are typically lambed on pasture. Lambs are commonly grass-finished. Hair sheep lambs are usually higher suited to the ethnic markets that the commodity markets which sometimes prefer a heavy lamb.

Because hair sheep production continues to grow, there may be a smart market for hair sheep breeding stock. Many hair sheep producers sell their ewe lambs as breeding stock and their male lambs for meat.

Sheep Feeding

Industrial lamb feeding is a traditional sheep enterprise in the US and is turning into a lot of common in alternative countries. In some components of the US, lamb feeding is a seasonal enterprise, occurring primarily in the fall and winter, once pastures have stopped growing and crop residues are out there for grazing. In other areas (e.g. Texas, Colorado, and therefore the Corn Belt), lamb feedlots operate year-round. Several farmers feed their own lambs out.
In a very lamb feeding enterprise, feeder lambs (fifty to 100 lbs.) are purchased and fed to finish weights of a hundred lbs. or additional. Besides the acquisition worth of the lambs, the main cost in finishing lambs is feed. Lambs will be finished on a selection of diets: complete pelleted rations, whole grain rations, or high-forage diets. Cheap gains will typically be place on lambs on pasture or crop aftermaths. Lambs can additionally be finished on various by-product feeds.