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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


 Spring grazing
Spring grazing

 Lamb frolic
Lambs running

Young ewe lambs
Young ewe lambs



    Life goes on

  • Out to pasture
    Once the grass starts to grow in the spring, the lambs go outside where their mothers teach them how to graze. Wherever their mother goes, they will go.

  • Life of a lamb
    During the day, the lambs spend their time eating, sleeping, and playing. Siblings tend to stick together. At the beginning, lambs don't venture too far from their dams. As they get older, they form play groups. They become more independent and active. They love to run and jump. Their favorite "game" is "king of the hill."

  • Vaccinations
    When the lambs are about six weeks old, they are vaccinated for clostridium perfringins type C & D (overeating disease) and clostridium tetani (tetanus). They receive a booster when they are approximately 10 weeks old.

  • Weaning
    The lambs are weaned (separated from their mothers) when they are between 60 and 90 days of age. They are weighed to see how fast they are growing. After weaning, the lambs stay in familiar surroundings, while the ewes are moved to a pen for special feeding to help dry up their udders. Between 3 and 4 months of age, the ram lambs are separated from the ewe lambs.

  • After weaning
    After weaning the lambs continue to graze. They are fed supplemental grain while they are grazing. The ewe lambs and some of the best ram lambs are sold for breeding, while the rest of the males are sold for meat. Most of the lambs are sold by August 1st.

  • Deworming
    Lambs are not routinely dewormed at the Baalands, as this is neither necessory nor recommended, as frequent and unnecessary deworming promotes the development of drug-resistant worms. Only lambs showing signs of barber pole worm infection (anemia) are given an anthelmintic. Katahdin sheep are more resistant to internal parasites than wooled breeds. The minerals include a coccidiostat to prevent coccidiosis.

  • Keepers
    The Baalands retains a few of the best ewe lambs to add to the flock. The replacement ewe lambs are bred when they are about seven months old and have achieved approximately two-thirds of their mature size. The ewe lambs will not be raised with the mature ewes until they wean their first set of lambs.

  • After weaning
    After the ewes wean their lambs, they spend the next several months "recuperating" and getting fat eating grass. The only supplement they receive while grazing is a mineral mix. Ewes that did not raise lambs or have physical problems are removed from the flock. Breeding commences again in mid-October, when the "sheep year" starts all over again.

  • Being George
    George doesn't do much. Mostly he eats and gets fat. His most important job is to keep the rams company when they are not with the ewes for breeding. George works on the sheep101 web site in his spare time.

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Last updated 13-Dec-2009
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