Health | Breeding | Getting Started | Nutrition | Plants | Predation | Quality Assurance | Record keeping
Find Drug Labels
The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has a searchable database for animal drugs. The database can be searched by key words, application number (NADA, ANADA), ingredients, sponsor (tradename), proprietary (manufacturer), species, dosage form, route (of administration), or indication. The database provides label information, including approved species and withdrawal times.
Scrapie Eradiciation - get scrapie tags
With few exceptions, all US sheep and goats must be officially identified when they enter commerce or ownership changes. USDA-APHIS provides official metal ear tags free of charge to producers. Plastic tags are no longer provided for free. Producers may request free tags by calling 866-USDA-TAG (873-2824). In addition, producers may purchase tags directly from approved manufacturers to fit their needs.
National Scrapie Eradiciation Program | Animal Identification and Recordkeeping Guide
The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) an online course to educate sheep producers about scrapie: A Producer's Guide to Scrapie
What's the withdrawal period?
A withdrawal period is the amount of time that must elapse (hours or days) before the meat or milk from a treated animal can be consumed. The Food Animal Residue Avoidance Database (FARAD) is a repository of comprehensive residue avoidance information. FARAD provides current label information, including withdrawal times on all drugs approved for use in food animals in the United States and on hundreds of products used in Canada, Europe, and Australia.
Food Animal Residue Avoidance Database (FARAD)
Since few drugs are FDA-approved for small ruminants, especially goats, several universities have developed charts showing the approximate withdrawal periods for extra label drugs for goats.
Medications Commonly Used In Goats and Withdrawal Times
Drug Use Guide: Goats
The American Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control (ACSRPC) has developed deworming charts that give extra-label withdrawal periods for anthelmintics (dewormers).
Camelid Dewormer Chart
Goat Dewormer Chart
Sheep Dewormer Chart
Due Date Calculator
The gestation period of a doe or ewe ranges from 138 to 159 days and averages about 147 days. Use a gestation calculator to figure out when your ewes and/or does are due. You can also use a gestation table to figure out the due date.
Lambing and Kidding Calculator from PBS Animal Health
Sheep Pregnancy Calculator
Goat Gestation Calculator - American Goat Society
Goat Gestation Calculator - Biology of the Goat
Business Planning: How Much Money Can I Make?
With careful planning, sheep and/or goat production can be a profitable undertaking. It is recommended that all sheep and goat producers develop a business plan for their operation, especially if outside funding will be sought. A business plan is a roadmap. It allows you to plan your business before spending any money. It increases your chances of success and helps avoid costly mistakes. There are numerous tools online for developing business plans.
Farm Business Planning Workbook - University of Maryland
Create a business plan online - University of Minnesota AgPlan
Space Requirements: How Big Should I Make My Barn?
The design of any livestock facility requires careful planning to optimize production. There are recommended space requirements for housing, feeding, and watering sheep, depending upon class of sheep. The sheep recommendations can usually be adapted for goats. Building plans are available for housing, feeders, and handling equipment. The Sheep Housing and Equipment Handbook, published by Midwest Plan Service, is considered to be the definitive resource on equipment and housing for small ruminants.
Free Sheep Building Plans - Iowa State University
Sheep building plans - North Dakota State University
Sheep Equipment and Housing Plans - Colorado State University
[Purchase] Sheep Housing and Equipment Handbook - Midwest Plan Service
Building plans for sheep - LSU Ag Center
Production Manuals: Planning Guides
Best Management Practice for Dairy Goat Farmers (166 pp) - University of Wisconsin
A Guide to Starting a Commercial Goat Dairy (168 pp) - University of Vermont
Management Guidelines for Efficient Sheep Production (67 pp)
National Goat Handbook
Oklahoma Basic Meat Goat Manual
Self-teaching manual in hair sheep production - FAO United Nations
Sheep Production and Management (39 pp) - New Mexico State University
Sheep Production Guide (20 pp) - Oregon State University
Sheep & Goat Production Handbook for Ethiopia
Feeding: Balance Rations Online
The Montana State University Sheep Ration Program was designed to help producers meet the nutritional needs of their sheep with available forages and feeds. It is a free online program. Nutritional recommendations are adapted from “Nutrient Requirements of Sheep", Sixth Revised Edition, 1985, by the National Research Council.
MSU Sheep Ration Program
Langston University's Nutrient Requirement Calculators calculate energy, protein, calcium, and phosphorus requirements of goats and predict intake of goats. The data is transferred to a ration balancing program for diet formulation. Nutrient requirements are those recommended by the NRC (2007). It is a free online program.
Langston University Nutrient Requirement Calculators | Producer Version
Links to additional ration balancing software can be found in the article, Ration Balancing Software for Sheep and Goats.
Feed Composition Tables
To balance rations for sheep and goats, you need feed composition tables. Feed composition tables provide "book values" for feedstuffs commonly fed to small ruminants. While it is better to have feedstuffs, especially forages and by-product feeds, analyzed for nutrient content, it is acceptable to use book values for feedstuffs that don't vary much in composition, e.g. corn grain.
2014 Feed Composition Table from Beef Magazine
Feed Composition for Cattle and Sheep - Colorado State University
Forage ID: What Kind of Plant is this?
It is important to know how to identify the forage species that are commonly consumed by sheep and goats. There are several good online resources.
Forage and Pasture Plant Identification - University of Vermont
Forage identification and use guide - University of Kentucky
Plants of Texas Rangeland: Help Me Identify My Plant
A Plant Out of Place: Weed ID
A weed is a plant out-of-place. While many so-called weeds are preferred by sheep and goats --and quite nutritious -- they are also a common management problem that can inhibit productivity of pastures.
Weed Identification - University of Illinois
Weed Identification - Weed Society of America
Weed Identification Tool - University of Wisconsin
Is this plant poisonous?
There are various databases and published fact sheets of plants that are poisonous to livestock. The databases can usually be searched by common or botanical name. The potential toxicity of a plant depends upon plant part, season, availability of other forage plants, and amount consumed. Generally, livestock do not consume poisonous plants, unless there is nothing else to eat.
Cornell University Plants Poisonous to Livestock and Other Animals
FDA Poisonous Plant Database
Plants Poisonous to Livestock in the Western United States (120 pp)
Poisonous plants in pasture - University of New Hampshire
Predators: Who or What Killed My Livestock?
Many sheep and goats are killed by predators, but not all death losses are the result of predation. Texas A&M University has published a field guide that depicts predation from different predators and describes the principles and procedures used to separate predator caused injuries and mortalities in livestock and wildlife from those resulting from other causes.
Procedures for Evaluating Predation on Livestock and Wildlife Illustrated Field Guide
Consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about how their food is produced. They want assurances that is it safe, wholesome, and free from drug residues. The American Sheep Industry Association began development of an industry-wide quality assurance program in 1991. Three levels of certification are available to producers.
Sheep Safety and Quality Assurance Program (SSQA)
A Meat Goat Quality Assurance Program was developed by Langston University. Upon completing the training, meat goat producers can receive certification.
Web-based Training and Certification Program for Meat Goat Producers
4-H and FFA members are usually required to complete quality assurance training before they are allowed to exhibit their animals at their county and/or state fair. The University of Maryland has developed an online quality assurance program.
4-H and FFA Animal Husbandry and Quality Assurance Program (AHQA)
Record keeping is an important aspect of sheep and goat production. There are many types of records that should be kept. Records can be kept by hand or a computer can be used to simplify or enhance the task. For financial recording, programs such as Quicken and QuickBooks are good choices.
There are numerous software choices for flock record keeping, including Basic Goat Manager, Easy Keeper, EweByte, farmrecords,net, FarmWorks, FlockFiler, Ovitek, Ranch Manager, Sheep Master Gold, Sheep Tracker, and ZooEasy. You can usually download fully-operational trial versions of software. A spreadsheet can also be used for flock record keeping. Oklahoma State University has developed an Excel spreadsheet for goat kidding record keeping. Mississippi State University has developed similar software for wool sheep and hair sheep.
For producers who prefer to keep records by hand, these resources may be helpful.
Ewe Record Sheet
Doe Record Sheet
Barn Record Sheet (sheep)
Barn Record Sheet (goats)
You can get a free pocket record-keeping book for sheep (and goats) from Shepherd Magazine and various other sources.