Small Ruminant Research

  • The UMES Small Ruminant Research and Training Program is addressing three areas of concern: a) internal  parasites affecting sheep and goats, b) estrus synchronization and breeding during the anestrus phase of the reproductive cycle, and c) use of sheep and goats to manage unwanted vegetation.  At the moment, two experiments are being conducted that are investigating the effects of feeding pumpkin seeds (21% of the diet) to lambs and goat kids to reduce the internal parasite burden.  In both trials, a pelletized diet containing pumpkin seed is fed to the experimental animals.  

    One experiment is being conducted in a re-designed swine breeding facility using meat goat kids and lambs. The other parallel study is carried out in open pens on the Small Ruminant Farm using 13 meat goats (castrated males).  Once the studies are completed at the end of the summer (2012), the samples and data will be analyzed, and the results will be presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Animal Science and other national and international conferences.

    Another project is investigating and evaluating the use of several methods for estrus synchronization in small ruminants. Sheep and goats are seasonal breeders, and manipulating breeding periods would empower sheep and goat producers to satisfy the year-round demand for lamb and chevon.

    UMES was awarded a 2012 capacity building grant to study and demonstrate the use of sheep and goats to manage unwanted vegetation in forests and recreational areas on Delmarva.