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  • Welcome to Sheep 101. The purpose of Sheep 101 is to teach 4-H and FFA members, students, teachers, beginning shepherds, and the general public about sheep, their products, how they are raised, and their contributions to society. The site uses simple language and pictures to illustrate the various topics. To begin learning about sheep, click on a link in the menu bar or choose a topic from the drop down menu above.

  • About the author. The author of Sheep 101 is Susan Schoenian, Sheep & Goat Specialist at the University of Maryland's Western Maryland Research & Education Center. Susan has been with University of Maryland Extension since 1988. She raises Katahdin sheep on her small farm, called The Baalands, in Clear Spring, Maryland. Susan has B.S. and M.S. degrees in Animal Science degrees from Virginia Tech and Montana State University, respectively.

  • Susan Schoenian
    Sheep & Goat Specialist
    W. MD Research & Education Center
    University of Maryland Extension - (301) 432-2767 x343

Ewe restrained

Ewe restrained for AI

 At the trough
At the trough

In the hoop house
In the hoop house

Katahdin ewes
Katahdin ewes


    Science of the lambs

  • Research
    Each year approximately 24,000 sheep and lambs are used in research in the United States (USDA, 2000). Sheep have been used as a model in heart valve research. Research with sheep led researchers to perfect and implant the arteriovenous shunt, a device that allows patients with kidney failure to be connected to dialysis machines for long term treatment. Sheep have been used in the development and testing of a device that assists lung function in infants soon after birth. Sheep have been used as a model to develop techniques for fetal heart surgery.

    Read Raising Sheep for Science=>

  • Orthopedics
    The use of sheep for orthopaedic research continues to increase. This is due to sheep's similarity with humans in weight, bone and joint structure and bone regeneration. Sheep models have been used to study bone healing and test synthetic bone replacements. The spina cord of the sheep is similar to the spina cord of humans, so sheep can be used as models for spinal cord research.

  • Ovaries
    Scientists in Israel successfully transplanted frozen and thawed ovaries in sheep, retrieved oocytes from the ovaries, and triggered them in the laboratory into early embryonic development. This holds out hope that this approach could become a feasible treatment for women facing premature ovarian failure. The new freezing techniques may also have potential for other human transplants. Sheep were chosen for this research because their ovaries are similar.

    Source: Medical News Today

  • Artificial lung
    The MC3 BioLung® (artificial lung technology) is a device designed to suppor the respiratory needs of adult patients as a bridge to lung transplantation or lung recovery. The technology is being tested in adult sheep.

  • Osteoporosis
    Osteoporosis sufferers could soon have sheep to thank for new types of therapy. Scientists have demonstrated how even gentle, but regular shaking of the limbs can ward off the weakening of the bones associated with the disease. The researchers showed this by mechanically stimulating the hind legs of adult sheep for 20 minutes every day for a year by standing them on a vibrating platform. By the end of the study, the density of spongy bone in the animals' thighs was 34 percent higher than in sheep not receiving the treatment.

    Source: BBC News

  • Osteoporosis reduces the density and quality of bone, leading to weakness of the skeleton and an increased risk of fracture. The bones most at risk are the vertabrae, wrist, hip, and pelvis. Approximately 1 in 9 people suffer from osteoporosis or low bone mass.

    Learn about transgenic sheep=>

    Find out what they do with sheep's blood=>



Last updated 12-May-2009
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