Thursday, June 21, 2018

4th Weighing

The lambs (n=60) were weighed for the 4th time since they arrived on April 26. Gains were similar to the previous two week period. From June 7 through June 21, lambs gained between 0.2 and 11. 2 lbs. and averaged 6.6 ± 2.4 lbs. in gain. One lamb lost weight (1.2 lbs). The median gain was 6.6 lbs.

Average daily gain (ADG) ranged from -0.086 to 0.800 lbs. per day and averaged 0.470 ± 0.173 lbs. The median ADG was 0.471 lbs. For the 4th weight period, the ram lambs (n=19) had the highest ADG: 0.533 ± 0.151 lbs. Their median ADG was 0.543 lbs. ADG ranged from 0.243 to 0.800 lbs. per day for the ram lambs. No ram lambs lost weight.

Pam Thomas records weights

The wethers (n=24) had the lowest ADG: 0.423 ± 0.146. Their median ADG was 0.436. ADG ranged from 0.014 to 0.586 lbs. for the wethers.  No wethers lost weight. The short scrotum lambs were intermediate in performance. Their ADG ranged from 0.143 to 0.729 lbs. and averaged 0.466 ± 0.214 lbs. Their median ADG was  0.500 lbs. One short scrotum lamb lost weight (1.2 lbs).

So far (56 days), gain has ranged from 17.0 to 40.2 lbs. and averaged 30.1 ± 5.3 lbs. The median gain is 30.6 lbs.  ADG has ranged from 0.304 to 0.718 lbs. per day and averaged 0.538 ± 0.094 lbs. The median ADG is 0.546 lbs. per day. No lamb has lost weight during the 56-day period.

The short scrotum rams have the highest ADG for the first 56 days:  0.556  ± 0.076. The wethers have the lowest ADG: 0.518  ± 0.102 lbs. per day. The ram lambs are intermediate at 0.546 ± 0.099.

It is not known if any of the performance differences observed between the ram, wether, and short-scrotum lambs, so far,  is statistically significant (different).

Sex No. ADG -4th period 56 d ADG
Ram 19 0.533 ± 0.151 0.546 ± 0.099
Wether 24 0.466 ± 0.214 0.518  ± 0.102
Short scrotum 17 0.423 ± 0.146 0.556  ± 0.076
ALL 60 0.470 ± 0.173 0.538 ± 0.094

After weighing, the lambs were moved back to the silvopasture (cool season perennial grasses). This pasture has been rested for approximately a month. In addition to the pasture, the  lambs have been consuming 2 lbs. per day of a balanced grain mixture (whole barley + soybean meal + minerals). 

Depending upon weather, the field of dwarf pearl millet will be ready for grazing in another week or so. It will provide another clean pasture for grazing.

Going back to the silvopasture

None the lambs required deworming today. Most of the lambs had FAMACHA©  scores of 1 or 2. There were a few FAMACHA©  score 3's.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Another Successful Twilight Tour & Tasting

The 4th Twilight Tour & Tasting was held Thursday, June 13, 4 to 8 p.m. at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center (in Boonsboro), with tours to the adjacent Western Maryland Research & Education Center (in Keedysville).

Image by Pam Thomas
Arik Mills, chef and co-owner of Rik's Cafe (in Hagerstown) was the featured chef. He prepared African Goat Meat over Jasmine rice, Roasted Lamb Rocket Salad, Lamb Sliders, Lamb Tacos, and Roasted Red Pepper (goat) Cheese Dip. All of the dishes were delicious. All of the meat and cheese that was used in the recipes was locally-sourced.

Exhibitors include Caprikon Farms, a goat dairy in Gapland, Maryland; Shepherds Manor Creamery, a sheep dairy in New Windsor, Maryland; Browsing Green Goats from Sunderland, Maryland, a farm that does goat yoga and leases goats for grazing; and Budding Creek Farm from Frederick, whose shepherdess teaches and hosts classes pertaining to fiber.

Joe Fiola, Viticulture Specialist from the University of Maryland was on hand to dispense wine samples and teach participants to match wine with food.  4-H educators, Ashley Travis and Chris Anderson introduced the new 4-H animal science research academy, whereby older 4-H youth will take an active role in university research, specifically this year's lamb project.

The tour part of the event included wagon tours of the Western Maryland Research & Education Center (WMREC), including a stop at the sheep research site, where our study is underway to compare ram, wether, and short-scrotum rams. The wagons were full and the lambs seemed to "enjoy" the limelight. The tours were led by Jeff Semler, Washington County Agricultural Extension Agent.

Loaded and ready for the tour (image by Pam Thomas)

The Twilight Tour & Tasting was funded in part by the American Lamb Board. It was the 4th year of the event. Plans are to repeat it next year. Attendance is always capped at 100. The event is attended by a unique mixture of sheep and goat producers, university employees, and the general public.

Editor's note:  Rik's Cafe frequently features lamb on its menu and sometimes goat. Goat cheese is also used in recipes. Follow Rik's Cafe on Facebook.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Third Weighing

Weight gains dropped off after the hay was depleted and the lambs began getting more of their intake from the fresh oat pasture. They are still consuming 2 lbs. per day of grain, split into two equal feedings. The grain is a balanced mix of whole barley, soybean meal, and minerals, 16 percent crude protein.

Rounding the lambs up for weighing

For the third weigh period, gain ranged from 0.8 to 10.8 lbs. for an average of 6.6 ± 2.0 lbs. and a median of 6.8 lbs. Looking at it another way, average daily gain (ADG) ranged from 0.057 to 0.771 lbs. per day and averaged 0.472 ± 0.145 lbs. per day. The median ADG was 0.486 lbs. 
No lamb lost weight during the past two weeks. One lamb was dewormed (with moxidectin; Cydectin @ 1 ml/11 lbs.) because it had a FAMACHA© score of 3 and failed to meet its gain objective (70% x 0.6 lbs. per day). The rest of the lambs had FAMACHA© scores of 1 or 2, mostly 1.

For the third weigh period, the ram lambs (n=19) gained an average of 0.469 ± 0.143 lbs. per day. Their median ADG was 0.486 lbs. per day. The wethers (n-24) gained an average of 0.457 ± 0.112 lbs. per day. Their median ADG was 0.464 lbs. per day. The short-scrotum lambs (n=17) had the highest, but most variable ADG: 0.496 ± 0.187 lbs. per day. Their median ADG was 0.514 lbs. per day.

For the first 35 days, ADG has ranged from 0.267 to 0.814 lbs. per day and averaged 0.560 ± 0.105 lbs. per day. The median ADG is 0.567 lbs. per day. No lamb has lost weight. So far, the ram lambs are gaining 0.551 ± 0.108 lbs. per day. The wethers have gained slightly less: 0.550 lbs. ± 0.119 per day. The short scrotum lambs have the highest 42-d ADG: 0.586  ± 0.081 lbs. per day. At this point, it is not known if any of these differences are statistically significant.

Sex No. ADG -3rd period 42 d ADG
Ram 19 0.469 ± 0.143 0.551 ± 0.108
Wether 24 0.457 ± 0.112 0.550 ± 0.119
Short scrotum 17 0.496 ± 0.187 0.586 ± 0.081
ALL 60 0.472 ± 0.145 0.560 ± 0.105

A five acre paddock of dwarf pearl millet was recently planted and has emerged. It will be available for grazing later in the summer.The project will end in mid-August, with the harvest of the lambs.

Katahdin Day in Western Maryland