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Dr. tatiana Luisa Stanton Cornell University Goat Extension Program with contributions from Dr. Richard E. Ehrhardt, Sandy VonAllmen, Kirby Selkirk, Natasha Pellifor & numerous NY farmers. Northeast Lambing/Kidding Project. First …. WHY?.

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Northeast Lambing/Kidding Project

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Northeast lambing kidding project l.jpg

Dr. tatiana Luisa Stanton

Cornell University Goat Extension Program

with contributions from Dr. Richard E. Ehrhardt, Sandy VonAllmen, Kirby Selkirk, Natasha Pellifor & numerous NY farmers

Northeast Lambing/KiddingProject


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First …

WHY?


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Labor demands and feed requirements at birthing are cited by sheep and goat farmers as a major reason for why they do not expand or why they consider retirement


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Can we reduce labor inputs and feed costs at lambing/kidding without adversely affecting kid and lamb mortality and herd productivity?


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How much does labor affect kid/lamb mortality?

  • In Winter ’09 – some of our case study farms worked an extra 12 to 15 hrs/day during birthing as compared to as low as 2 hrs/day for other farms with similar herd sizes, productivity and mortality rates


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Neonatal mortality is greatly affected by:

  • Your herd’s preventative health management program

  • Your herd’s nutritional program

  • How adequate your facilities are for the season of the year your animals give birth in

  • Litter size and season of birthing

  • Luck – and being able to find a quick fix


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Outbreaks of disease or metabolic disorders can contribute substantially to neonatal mortality regardless of how much labor you put into the birthing season


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How well you respond to crisis


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Ways to keep labor and operating costs down

  • Winter/Early Spring

  • Late Spring/Summer

  • Fall


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Birthing checks

  • Are you on the farm a lot?

  • Are the animals in easy view?

  • Are your facilities adequate for the season?

  • Have you culled does/ewes with dystocia problems?

  • Have you addressed management problems that led to dystocia or weak newborns?


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Winter

  • Heat?

  • Safety

  • Type

  • Cost

  • Ventilation


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1000 watt overhead heaters


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Propane or butane heaters


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Bedding hay left right by jugs


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“Juggling” sheep/goats around

  • What is your animal flow from Birthing 

  • Jugs? 

  • Mother/offspring areas


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Access in and out of jugs


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Artificial Rearing


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Grafting newborns - Is it an option?

When successful –

Greatly reduces or even eliminates need for artificial rearing

Improves animal performance and ultimate welfare

Reduces labor inputs during birth period


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Grafting Protocol Overview

  • Must be very aware of livestock needs and opportunities.

  • Using techniques that concentrate birth period (i.e. ram/buck effect, concentrated male to female ratio) will allow more matching opportunities.

  • Assess these variables in making match

    • Milk supply

    • Milk requirement

    • Maternal bond

    • Newborn suckling drive


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Grafting Protocol

  • Maintain graftee “natural” suckling drive by stomach tube feeding (24-48 h limit)

  • Maternal bond develops quickly (less than 5 min) but this is highly variable-need to assess each situation

  • Assess milk supply and use this info to determine which newborns to remove and which graftees to bring.

  • Possible to swap or mix entire litters if done before bonding is set.

  • Possible to graft in pasture birth.

    f


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Techniques to facilitate bonding

  • Simulate birth process with hand in birth canal (use plastic ob sleeve).

  • Place fetal fluids from maternal litter on graftee.

  • When grafting into established litters or refining matches, place newborn feces from maternal litter on graftee.

  • Use head gate or halter to restrain mother if bonding is already established. Grafting success will be apparent within 48 h.


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Warming box:

  • Forced air heating (inexpensive electric heater)

  • Compartments

  • Wire mesh flooring

http://www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/welfare/farmed/sheep/pdf/lambsurvival.pdf


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Handling animals


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Questions?


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