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					PART- II                            SHEEP AND GOAT PRODUCTION

           SHEEP AND GOAT

                   Bakht Baidar Khan
                       Arshad Iqbal
                  Muhammad Iqbal Mustafa

             Department of Livestock Management
            University of Agriculture Faisalabad

PART- II                                                                                  SHEEP AND GOAT PRODUCTION

The past more than half a century is a witness to the fact that except a few, no serious attempts have been made to write books even on a few of the so
many wide open aspects of the field of animal sciences. Among other factors that keep the animal science sector lagging behind, utter lack of relevant
books of local origin is probably the most important. The dearth of documented information concerning various species of our farm animals adversely
affects the learning potential of our students, who have been reported to complain about the non-availability of professional books written in Pakistan. I
personally feel that as animal scientists we cannot exonerate ourselves of this responsibility. Of course, not all of us would have the aptitude to write
books. However, those who opt to take up this tiresome and time-consuming job, their efforts must be appreciated. We must not forget that beginnings
are always small.

It is really encouraging to learn that sheep and goats being the victims of a long neglect, have attracted the attention of experienced animal scientists and
teachers of long standing to write a book on them. A look into the contents of the book ‘Sheep and Goat Production’, makes me believe that it would
adequately serve the purpose for which it has been produced. Its made-easy format would be rather more helpful to the students, field workers and
progressive farmers. A collection of over 650 questions along with their answers should more than suffice to cover the discussion on important topics in
relation to sheep and goat production.

                                                                                                                     Sajjad Zaheer Malik
                                                                                                                      Director General (Ext.)
                                                                                                                    L & DD Dept., Punjab

Innumerable publications on sheep and goat farming/production are there in the world market. More than 98% of them are of foreign
origin and are thus either not available here or their prices are beyond the means of a common man. The book under discussion has not
been produced to burden the market with another such publication rather it has been brought out employing a novice format to meet
the requirements of beginners who venture to plan a small ruminant enterprise, but are found confronted with a series of questions.
Answers to many of such questions are already embodied in this ‘easy to read and understand’ book. In addition, feasibilities in
respect of keeping sheep and goats (pertaining to one breed of each spp.) have been outlined herein to facilitate the solution of their
input: output dilemma.

Another section of society most pertinent to books is professional students community. It often happens that even at the end of an
academic session/semester, many students in a class, would not know what type of questions, relevant to a course, may be asked in the
Exam. This book, for sure, would create an awareness in them as to the type of Exam. questions and as to the manner of answering
them. Among other features of the book are: the discussion on behaviour and welfare of small ruminants and clues on the application
of biotechnology in animals. A comprehensive review on terminology related to various aspects of small ruminants is also a part of
this book. Most of the answers to the questions included in this book have been picked up as such from various sources of literature
listed under references at the end. We feel highly obliged in sharing the fruit of hardwork of those so many authors/editors. Under the
circumstances it does not seem possible for us to individually convey to them our grateful thanks, but indeed we remain indebted to all
of them.

No book will ever be complete and this one is no exception since knowledge about sheep and goats is increasing so rapidly that no
book can be an absolute ultimate. We feel no hesitation to mention here that at places details of a few most sophisticated techniques
used abroad in small ruminant production have been intentionally avoided simply because farmers/producers here have yet to go a
long way to enable themselves to take full advantage of such costly tools and techniques.

We would like to record our thanks to our colleagues, namely Drs. Muhammad Younas, Muhammad Abdullah, Muhammad Yaqoob,
Syed Hassan Raza and Prof. William Hohenboken, a friend from USA; all of them provided us a lot of useful literature for this book.
Special thanks are extended to Mr. Farooq Ahmed, Dr. Akhter Saeed and Dr. Asad Saeed for arranging recent literature for the
purpose from abroad.

Suggestions in black and white from any quarter to effect further improvement and to remove any omissions in the contents of this
book will always be welcome.

March, 2003                                                                                Bakht Baidar Khan
                                                                                           Arshad Iqbal
                                                                                           Muhammad Iqbal Mustafa

PART- II                       SHEEP AND GOAT PRODUCTION

PART- II includes following contents of the book:


PART- II                                             SHEEP AND GOAT PRODUCTION

Q.       Write a detailed note on selection for breeding of small ruminants.
Most people who farm sheep/goats or for that matter any farm animal, would expect to
gradually improve the productivity of their stock. Big improvements can often be made
by changes in husbandry practices so that the animals become fitter, healthier and better
fed. However, there will be limitations on how much productivity can be increased in this
way. These limitations will be the result of the genetic make-up of the animals. In other
words all animals are born with a potential for production and that potential is the result
of mixing of characteristics inherited from the animals’ parents, grandparents and, in fact,
all of its ancestors. By selecting animals with certain characteristics and mating them it is
possible to gradually improve the performance of that line, generation by generation.
Some characteristics are readily passed on and are highly heritable while others are not
readily passed on and are referred to as of low heritability.
Since it is not possible to discuss genetic gain or improvement without a basic
understanding of genetics, therefore, for the purposes of this book only a simplified
explanation is given. All inherited characteristics are carried by genes, which occur in
pairs, one from the sire and one from the dam. A pair or more of genes will control a
particular characteristic and thus in the case of colour a goat will either be coloured or
white (most of the discussion made here in respect of goat, just as an example, is equally
applicable to sheep). If the goat has a gene for colour from one parent and one for white
from the other, it will, in fact, be white because white is what is called a dominant gene
and colour is what is called a recessive gene. If two different genes for a particular colour
come together, the dominant gene will always be expressed. If in this example the goat
had received genes for colour from both its parents, it would then have been coloured. If
an animal is carrying a pair of identical genes for a particular character such as the
coloured offspring in the example, it is known as homozygous for that particular
character. If it carries different genes like the goat in our example with the genes for
white and colour, it is termed heterozygous.
The appearance of an animal as controlled by its genetic make-up is referred to as its
phenotype. In this example, the white goat is phenotypically white but its genotype is
white/coloured. This is shown in Figure 6 where two goats are mated. One is
homozygous for white and will be genotypically white. The other is heterozygous and
will be phenotypically white because white is dominant. When these two are mated, their
kids or what is called F1 generation, could be like the parents either heterozygous or
homozygous white. If, however, both parents were heterozygous white, the offspring
would be either white or coloured in the ratio 3:1 (Figure 7) with 1 homozygous and
phenotypically white, whereas the other 2 whites would be heterozygous and 1 would be
homozygous for colour and would therefore be (phenotypically) coloured. It is rare for a
single gene to control a characteristic or trait as shown in the simple example but it serves
to show how characters are inherited.
With selective breeding the intention is to cross animals together in such a way that the
progeny will hopefully be even better than their parents. It helps if the genetic make-up of
the parents is known. Some characteristics are linked to others and it may be, in selecting

PART- II                                             SHEEP AND GOAT PRODUCTION

for one desirable feature or trait, that one also selects for an undesirable feature, which
may cancel out or be even less desirable than the trait that was being selected for. One
such trait in goats is polledness or hornlessness. If a naturally polled male is mated with a
female carrying the gene for polledness, there is a good chance of producing female
offspring that will be homozygous (pure) polled animals. These will be inter-sexed,
which means they may have some parts of the male and female reproductive tract and
characteristics and they will be infertile. They are not, as some people describe,
hermaphrodites, which means possessing both female and male sexual organs. Naturally
polled males do occur without the problem of inter-sex but evidence suggests that fertility
is lower in these.
If traits or characteristics are of low heritability, the genetic gain achieved by selecting
specific animals showing those characteristics will be less than for traits of high
heritability. Thus the hope for improvement will be achieved only slowly over a number
of generations.
Q.       Discuss the importance of breed improvement.
There is an old saying “breed the best to the best and cull the rest”. It sounds no less than
a universal truth. Your chances of improving your flock are practically nil if you breed
your ewes/does to the neighbour’s nondescript ram/buck simply because it happens to be
cheap and available. You are not going to milk the buck, but never forget that you are
going to get milk from its daughters and meat from its male offspring. If the sire is not
better than the ewe/doe, you are not working for breed improvement. In fact, you are not
even breeding sheep/goats, you are merely freshening them. To further elaborate, a
reference to commercial dairy farming in several western countries appears logical.
Almost invariably these practical, tough-minded, cost-conscious farmers use the best
purebred registered animals they can find. Milk production per cow has more than
doubled during the last century. While some of that, of course, is due to better feeding
practices, surely a large share of the credit must go to genetics. No animal is perfect, all
have faults. It is the job of the breeder to eliminate those faults as much as possible in
future generations, while at the same time preventing new ones from showing up.
Q.       Briefly indicate the importance of twins.
Although multiple births certainly require more attention and care, yet the profits seem
worth the effort. In USA, at one of the universities the data were analysed in this respect
and it was stated that it would require 5721 ewes producing one lamb each to yield a
$25000 profit, while 353 ewes producing two lambs each to equal it. These figures
seemingly sound strange, but consider the vast reduction in the amount of grain and hay
expenses (grain feeding not largely practised under our conditions) for the smaller
number of ewes, to produce double the number of lambs. The same is applicable to goats.
Choose your potential replacement ewes/does from among your earlier-born twin
ewes/does. Turn these twin ewe lambs/doe kids in with a ram/buck wearing a marking
harness. The ones that are marked and presumably bred, can be kept for your own flock
and sell the rest. Ewe lambs/doe kids that have twins the first time are more valuable than
those who lamb/kid with a single, even though ewes/does with a future history of
twinning may have only a single that first time. Still they pass on both the inherited
ability to breed early and to have twins and they will produce more lambs/kids during
their lifetime. However, it all depends on how well fed the animals are.
Q.       Discuss the sheep breeding management as it does prevail in Pakistan.

PART- II                                              SHEEP AND GOAT PRODUCTION

Some mating occurs throughout the year but the principal breeding seasons remain

autumn and spring. Hand mating is not known since it may be impracticable in the case

of transhument and sedentary breeders because of absence of mating facilities. Breeders

who practice seasonal breeding tie an apron around the belly of ram in the off-season to

avoid mating. Others tie a cord on the opening of the sheath to check mating. In some

areas (D.I. Khan), many small farmers do not maintain their own rams, but hire them at

Rs. 4 to 5 per day for 4 to 5 days. A ram is usually put with a flock of 40 to 50 ewes but

in some cases as many as 80 to 90. In the bigger flocks, two or more rams may be

allowed to mate at a time. In such cases the stronger ram is overused and the weaker

underused and as a result some of the ewes are not mated and others are served by

overused rams and do not conceive. Some breeders in Balochistan believe that breeding

twice a year ensures regular milk supply for the families. Rams are not allowed to breed

before 2 years of age.

A comparison of spring and autumn breeding seasons indicated that:

   i)     Fertility was 83% in autumn and 73% in spring;
   ii)    The number of lambs born per ewe was 1.04 in autumn but 0.88 in spring;
   iii)   The number of lambs born per ewe conceived was 1.25 in autumn and 1.21 in
          spring; and
   iv)    The incidence of twin births was 36% in autumn and 21% in spring.
A study of the incidence of post-lambing oestrus in Lohi, Kachhi from Sindh and Awasi

from Lebanon and its crosses showed that oestrus occurred:

   i)       In the second to fourth month after lambing, 70% Lohi came into oestrus;
   ii)      During the same period 65% Kachhi were in oestrus; but
   iii)     The crosses behaved mid way between two parents.
Selection is largely subjective in the absence of records such as birth and weaning

weights, fecundity, or quality and quantity of wool produced, but at public experimental

farms due attention is paid to such traits. Private breeders do care for growth as the larger

PART- II                                            SHEEP AND GOAT PRODUCTION

and heavier ram lambs would attract the attention of the breeders. Lambs are allowed to

suckle for 4 to 5 months. Lambs are not allowed to accompany the mothers to pasture. In

most parts of the Punjab province, lambs accompany their mothers as soon as they are

able to walk. In parts of Balochistan lambs are grazed separately by children near the

camp. Where lambs are kept separate, suckling is allowed morning and evening after the

families have removed part of the milk especially from good milkers. Since white wool

fetches the highest price, ram lambs with a white coat, well developed body and strong

constitution are selected for future breeding. Breed uniformity is keenly maintained for

an all−white body and recognized spots, if any, on the extremities. The incidence of

mismothering is high in cases where lambs are kept separate from their mothers.

Mismothered lambs are reared on foster ewes by forced suckling. Mortality in such lambs

is high and the growth rate generally below average. The shepherds of Balochistan take

extra care to avoid mismothering. There the flock is halted at a distance from the lamb

enclosure and ewes are freed one by one to allow them to recognize their lambs when

rejoining occurs. The records at public sheep farms show that the incidence of

mismotheirnbg varies in different breeds (1.5 to 3%), being the highest in Kachhi breed

(4 to 23%), probably due to poor mothering instinct.

In most of the cases culling of sheep is not very systematic. It is practised in ewes and
male lambs and is generally done when the family needs money or 2 to 3 months before
the annual religious occasion of Eid-ul-Azha. Others avail the occasions of
weekly/monthly/sheep goat markets to sell their surplus/culled stock. Male surplus stock
is commonly castrated and reared to one year age and in other cases to 2 years age to sell
at high prices. Culling of ewe lambs is rare. The ewes are culled for broken mouths,
damaged udders, permanent lameness or infertility.
Q.     Briefly discuss the anatomy and physiology of sex organs of a small ruminant
Anatomy: The most obvious part of the male’s reproductive system is the scrotum
containing the testes, which are suspended herein by spermatic cord. This may vary in
size according to breed but, in general, abnormally small testes are a sign of likely low

PART- II                                             SHEEP AND GOAT PRODUCTION

fertility. The scrotum not only supports and protects the testes but also it is an important
means of temperature regulation. Normal production of spermatozoa occurs at a
temperature 4 to 7°C lower than body temperature. Thus in hot weather the scrotum will
allow the testes to hang down from the wall of the abdomen and conversely when cold
they will be drawn up close to the body. In extremely hot weather this temperature
regulatory mechanism may break down resulting in poor spermatozoa production. In
some goat breeds especially in some Angoras, the scrotum may be almost completely
bifurcated (split purse). It is considered a fault in show animals. However, this may not
cause a severe fertility problem.
Failure of the testes to descend into the scrotum will also cause problems of fertility. One
testis may not descend (called monorchid) or in some cases both may not (called
cryptorchid). When purchasing males for stud, it is the most important to ensure that both
testes are in place in the scrotum and that they are of reasonable size with no abnormal
swellings and that they feel firm and not soft and spongy. The other external sex organ is
the penis. In the male sheep/goat, the penis is normally retracted into a tube called the
prepuce. To give extra length during copulation, the penis has a S-bend known as the
sigmoid flexure (Figure 8).
On the end of the penis is the thin tubular protrusion of the urethra called the urethral
process. When the penis is protruded from the prepuce, especially during the breeding
season, the male (goat) is able, with remarkable directional accuracy, to spray urine over
himself or anyone who is standing close enough.
Physiology: The rams/bucks, except in temperate regions, show year round sexual
activity, especially when stimulated by receptive females. Young males are particularly
precocious and fertile matings have been recorded from kids of 4 months of age. Males of
Teddy goat breed exhibit quite a bit sexual activity at 5 to 6 months of age.
Spermatozoa are formed from cells in the testes called spermatogonia. These
spermatogonia divide repeatedly to form spermatids, which eventually form the
spermatozoa, which are discharged into the lumen of seminiferous tubules. The
spermatozoa travel along in fluid secreted by the tubules, until they reach the epididymis
where they are stored. These newly formed immature spermatozoa are immotile and are
very sensitive to unfavourable temperature and nutritional conditions. Full maturation
occurs in the tail of the epididymis and the spermatozoa become motile during
ejaculation when they come in contact with the secretions of the accessory glands (the
vesicular or the seminal vesicular gland, prostate and bulbo-urethral glands). It takes
about 50 days from the formation of the spermatozoa in the seminiferous tubules to the
time they are stored in the tail of the epididymis. During periods of intense sexual
activity, this duration may be reduced as the movement of the spermatozoa through the
epididymis may be speeded up.
Another important function of the testes is the production of the hormone testosterone.
The secretion of this hormone is controlled by gonadotrophic hormones secreted by the
pituitary gland situated at the base of the brain. Although sexual desire in ram/buck is
influenced a great deal by the presence of receptive females, nutritional status and
environmental factors also play an important part.
Prior to mating a ram/buck will spend varying amounts of time in courtship behaviour,
which certainly is an important stimulation for both male and female. During hand
mating of pedigree animals, when a female is led to a specific male, it is important that

PART- II                                              SHEEP AND GOAT PRODUCTION

restraints are not imposed on this behaviour and the most successful results will always
be from animals that are allowed some time together in an enclosure.
Q.       Briefly discuss the anatomy and physiology of sex organs of a small ruminant
Anatomy: Unlike the male most of the female’s reproductive organs are internal and
would only be seen by attending a post-mortem examination or by obtaining the relative
part of the body from a slaughtered animal. The only external feature is the vulva which
undergoes some changes during oestrus and when parturition (lambing/kidding) is
imminent. The vulva opens into the vagina wherein the male’s penis deposits semen
during copulation. In a normal adult ewe/doe, the vagina is approximately 7 to 8 cm in
length. At the end of the vagina is the cervix or neck of the uterus (Figure 9). The cervix
varies in length from about 4 to 8 cm and is made up of 5 to 6 muscular rings, which
effectively act as a seal between the vagina and the uterus. The uterus is made up of two
large tubes or horns and at the end of each of these horns are the oviducts and ovaries.
The ovaries change in appearance according to the stage in the reproductive cycle. The
eggs or ova are shed from what are called the Graafian follicles and these can be seen
during a postmortem examination if they are near to maturation.
When an ovum is shed, the remaining structure is called a corpus luteum, meaning yellow
body, and these also can be seen on the ovary and are an indication of an ewe/doe that is
ovulating normally. If the ewe/doe is pregnant, the corpus luteum remains and plays a
part in maintaining the state of pregnancy. If she is not pregnant, the corpus luteum
Physiology: The decreasing daylight triggers off breeding activity in small ruminants.
The lengthening nights cause increased release of the hormone melatonin from the pineal
gland within the brain. It then causes the release of gonadotrophin releasing hormone,
which stimulates the pituitary gland into secreting follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).
As its name suggests, FSH stimulates the development of the follicle within which an
ovum will develop and from which it will be released. The onset of the sequence of
events gives rise to oestrus behaviour, or heat, in an ewe/doe and the whole cycle of
events is called the oestrous cycle.
As the Graafian follicle matures, it secretes the hormone estrogen, which eventually
stimulates the brain into triggering off the release of luteinising hormone (LH) into the
bloodstream. The release of LH causes the follicle to rupture and an ovum will be
released into the oviduct. The ovum remains viable in the oviduct for 10 to 12 hours.
About 30 to 36 hours before ovulation occurs, the ewe/doe will normally begin to show
oestrus or heat behaviour. Pheromones (specific odours) are released by the female,
which also stimulate the male to sexual excitement. This behaviour is a combination of
signals to the male that she is at the correct period in her ovulation cycle for mating when
changes in the reproductive tract, to facilitate mating, have occurred. The vulva becomes
somewhat swollen, copious mucus is produced and the cervix dilates.
If a fertile mating takes place, the fertilised embryo develops freely in the uterus for about
21 days until implantation takes place and the embryo becomes attached to the wall of the
uterus by way of the placenta. The caruncles which form the points of attachment on the
uterine wall are present all the time.
If an ewe/doe is pregnant, the corpus luteum, formed after rupturing of the follicle,
remains and produces the hormone progesterone. Progesterone acts as a signal to the

PART- II                                            SHEEP AND GOAT PRODUCTION

brain to shut down the cycling mechanism and prepares for and helps maintain
pregnancy. In some animals, but not the goat, the role of corpus luteum is taken over by
the placenta. In case conception does not occur, the corpus luteum regresses and the level
of circulating progesterone consequently falls. The cycle then starts again and a non-
pregnant ewe and doe will continue to cycle in this way every 16 to 17 days and 19 to 21
days respectively until the end of the breeding season.
Q.      What do you understand by Induced Cryptorchidism or Short Scrotum?
This is still another approach where the elastrator rubber ring is used on the scrotum, but
the testes are pushed back up into the body cavity. This sterilizes the animal due to
increased body heat. While the male hormones are still present to increase weight gain
with more lean meat, the animal shows little or no sex activity. This method is used at
about four weeks of age and the animal is called an induced cryptorchid (having hidden
testicles). Extensive tests (Figure 10) in Australia have shown such animals gain weight
faster, get to market faster and have more lean meat than either castrated or uncastrated

Q.      Discuss the salient points in respect of proper breeding age and care of a
Ordinarily a well-grown ram/buck is considered the best. However, if he is a lamb/kid,
use him sparingly during his first breeding season. One way to conserve his energy is to
separate him from the females for several hours during the day, at which time he can be
fed and watered and allowed to rest. One good ram/buck can handle 25 to 30 ewes/does.
On a small flock where the ram/buck gets good feed, about six years of service can be
expected of him. On open range there may be overuse with more females per ram/buck,
fighting with other males and little or no supplemental feed, rams/bucks (get run down)
lose condition during the breeding season from eating so little and chasing the females.
They then succumb to diseases because of their low resistance. If you are buying a new
ram/buck, do this long enough before breeding season so that he becomes acclimated to
his new surroundings. Keep him separate on good feed and pasture until breeding time. In
case you are going to feed him a different ration than he had previously, be sure to
change gradually. Excess weight results in a lowering of potency and efficiency. Keep
him in good condition but not fat. A buck may be ready to breed at about six to seven
months, depending on his breed (Teddy bucks at four to five months), but it is better not
to use him until one year. Use him two or three times a week from the age of one year to
one and a half years.
During the breeding season, feed the ram buck at least 300 g concentrate mixture per day.
After separating him from the bred females, a maintenance ration of at least 100 to 150 g
per day, plus leafy hay as necessary during the winter should carry him through until
good pasture is available again.
Since summers here are very hot, therefore, provide him a cool shady place to protect
from the heat. An elevated body temperature whether from heat or due to an infection,
can cause infertility. Semen quality is affected at 100 degrees and is seriously damaged at
air temperatures beyond that. Several hours at that temperature may leave him infertile
for weeks. The scrotum of ram should be sheared before the onset of severe summer. The
ram/buck may be run with the ewes/does at night and in the early morning, but keep him

PART- II                                            SHEEP AND GOAT PRODUCTION

penned in a cool place during the heat of the noon and afternoon and provide fresh water.
High humidity coupled with temperature can also decrease sexual urge.
A sense of smell greatly determines a ram’s/buck’s awareness of oestrus in the
ewes/does. A study of sex drive in rams done at a university in UK showed that some
breeds of rams have keener olfactory (nose) development than others and are able to
detect oestrus in ewes that goes unnoticed by other breeds.
Q.       Does the presence of a ram/buck show some effect on ewes/does?
The presence of the ram/buck, especially its smell has a great effect on sexual activity of
the ewes/does. This stimulus is not as pronounced when the male is constantly with the
females as it is when he is placed in the adjoining pasture or pen about two weeks ahead
of the breeding season. Owners of large flocks often use a vasectomized ram/buck turned
in with the ewes/does about three weeks prior to scheduled breeding, in order to stimulate
the onset of oestrus in the flock. Be careful that at any one time not more than one normal
male should be turned in with the ewes/does, otherwise there is inevitable fighting and
head-butting until the boss is decided. Aggressive potential and ram/buck fertility are not
necessarily related. However, there are reports that mating success of dominant
rams/bucks does far exceed that of the subordinate ones.
Q.       What are the uses of a ram/buck marking harness? Is there any suitable
         alternative to it?
The ram/buck marking harness is a device that helps keep track of the ewes/does who are
bred. It has a holder on its chest for a marking crayon. Each ewe/doe is marked with the
colour of crayon the day he breeds her. While using a colour in the crayon, the colour of
female animals be kept in view (Figure 11). Inspect the ewes/does each day and keep
record of the dates so that you will know when to expect each one to give birth. In case of
ram use one colour for the first sixteen days he is with the ewes, then change colour for
the next sixteen days and again for the next. Change of colour in case of buck may be
done after 18 to 19 days. If many females are being re-marked, it means they were not
bred the previous times he tried to breed them, since they are still coming into heat. This
might indicate that the breeding male was sterile. If the weather was extremely hot just
before or after you turned the male in, you can blame heat for it. But to be on the safe
side, it is better to try another ram/buck.
As an alternative, instead of marking harness, use a marking paint on the ram/buck
brisket (lower chest). Mix the colour with a lubricating oil or even with vegetable ghee,
using only paints that will wash out of the fleece such as lamp black, venetian red. The
same colour will be stamped on the back of the ewe/doe indicating that it has been bred.
The same happens when marking harness is used.
Q.       What are the advantages of raising your own ram/buck and what care is to
         be observed?
One advantage of raising your own ram/buck is that you can see that what he looks like at
the usual market age for meat. The older a ram/buck gets, the less you can tell about how
he looked as a lamb/kid or how his offspring will look when they attain market age. If
you are raising lambs/kids for marketing as meat animals, you may try a system called
‘recurrent selection of ram lambs/buck kids’. This system consists of keeping the fastest-
gaining ram lambs/buck kids sired by the fastest-gaining ram lambs/buck kids. Recurrent
selection is a way of improving the potential for fast growth in your lamb/kid crop. It
involves changing rams/bucks fairly frequently and creates the problem of disposing a

PART- II                                             SHEEP AND GOAT PRODUCTION

three or four year old ram/buck. If it is a good one, it can be sold as a breeding male, can
trade with another small ruminant raiser or can be sold for slaughter on Eid-ul-Azha.
The way ram lambs/buck kids are raised can have some effect on their future sexual
performance. Various studies have shown that rams/bucks raised from weaning in an all-
male group will show lower levels of sexual performance in later life. Some will actually
show no interest in receptive females. When you are raising a lamb/kid as a breeding
male, do not pet him much or handle him unnecessarily. Do not let children play with
him even when he is small. He will be more prone to butting and becoming dangerous if
he is familiar with you than if he is shy.
Q.      Define gestation period and give the range and average gestation periods for
        sheep and goats.
The period from the date an animal gets conceived to that date it gives birth to one or
more newborns is called gestation period or pregnancy period. It ranges from 148-152
days in sheep and goats with an average of 150 days (five months).
Q.      What is meant by oestrous cycle? Give the duration of oestrous cycles for
        sheep and goats.
The duration between two heat periods is called the oestrous cycle. Normally each
oestrous cycle has four different phases i.e. proestrus, oestrus, metoestrus and dioestrus.
The duration of oestrous cycle on average is 16-17 days in sheep and 18-21 days in goats.
Q.      What do you understand by oestrus or heat period?
Oestrus is one phase of the oestrous cycle and it denotes the period during which an ewe
or doe is receptive to the breeding male. On average the duration of oestrus or heat period
in sheep and goats is 28 and 24 hours, respectively.
Q.      What are the usual indications that an ewe/doe is in heat?
The usual signs are nervous voices such as ‘baa baa’/bleating, slightly swollen vulva
sometimes accompanied by a discharge, riding other does or being ridden by them,
somewhat off feed, tail wagging and drop in milk production (in milk goats). In some
cases increased but interrupted micturition is also observed. At the beginning of heat, the
mucus discharge from vulva will be clear, but it will turn cloudy toward the time of
ovulation. After the ewe/doe ovulates near the end of heat, the mucus will get thick and
Q.      What may be the optimal time of year for lambing/kidding? Discuss briefly.
The optimal time varies greatly among different geographical areas. It may vary even in
the same country. The desired lambing/kidding time may depend on the availability of
pasture, local weather conditions, time restraints, labour, targeted lamb/kid markets etc. It
is better to choose the lambing/kidding time that fits your priorities and plan to breed
about five months before you want newborns. When the cost of hay or concentrate
feeding is a consideration, lambing/kidding should be timed to take advantage of new
pasture growth. Thus you could plan for the lambs/kids to be about five to six weeks old
at about the time of the first good early growth of pasture.
Q.      What is meant by early-or late lambing/kidding? Give advantages of both
        early and late lambing/kidding.
 What constitutes ‘early’ or ‘late’ lambing/kidding will depend on climate of the given
area. In areas where modern husbandry practices are in operation, there with moderate
winters and hot summers, the lambing/kidding is planned for autumn or early winter to
maximize weight gain, knowing that newborns experience very poor weight gain in hot

PART- II                                           SHEEP AND GOAT PRODUCTION

temperatures. On the other hand, those in far northern areas often plan for
lambing/kidding during March or April in order to avoid severe winter, while those in
temperate coastal climates may let the rams/bucks run with the ewes/does the year round
and let nature take its course. Advantages:
Early Lambing/Kidding
    i)      There are fewer parasites on the early grass pasture.
    ii)     Ewe lambs/doe kids are more apt to breed as well grown lambs/kids.
    iii)    You can have all lambs/kids born by the time best spring grass is there.
    iv)     There are fewer problems with flies at docking, castrating and disbudding.
Late Lambing/Kidding
    i)      It is easy to shear ewes before lambing.
    ii)     It avoids lambing/kidding danger in severe weather.
    iii)    Milder weather means fewer chilled lambs/kids.
    iv)     Ewes/does can give birth on the pasture, if needed.
    v)      Concentrate ration can be saved since there is good grazing available.
Q.       What age is appropriate to breed an ewe/doe for the first time?
A female that is bred before she matures fully may become stunted since she cannot put
nutrients into both her growth and foetal development. A well fed ewe/doe is ready for
breeding earlier than a poorly fed one. An ewe/doe should reach 70 to 75% of her mature
weight before being bred. Some breeds are slow maturing than others. Breeding season is
shorter for ewe lambs/doe kids than for mature ewes/does. Teddy goats mature much
earlier than other goat breeds. A properly fed Teddy doe is ready for breeding at five
months of age. In milk goats a reasonably early breeding helps the udder develop better.
In countries where early marketing of lambs for meat is practised, there the ewes who
breed as lambs are thought to be the most promising as they show early maturing which
is a key to prolific lambing. Ewe lambs according to their feeding practices should have
attained 38 to 45 kg by breeding time as their later growth will be held back a little as
compared to unbred lambs. If not well fed, their reproductive life-time may be shortened.
If replacement ewes are chosen for their ability to breed as lambs, the flock will improve
the capacity for ewe lamb breeding, which can be a sales factor to stress when selling
breeding stock.
Q.       What preparations specific to the start of breeding season need to be made?
Deworm the ewes/does. Trim away any wool/dung-tags from around the tail. Trim their
feet since they will be carrying extra weight during pregnancy. Subject the ram/buck to
deworming too. Check all animals for ticks. If you eliminate ticks before
lambing/kidding, none will get on the lambs/kids and thus you will not have to treat for
ticks again. At seventeen days/nineteen days before you want to start breeding, put your
ram/buck in a place adjacent to the ewes/does, with a good fence between them. Some
studies have indicated that the sound and smell of the male will bring ewes/does into heat
earlier. Also, a similar reaction was obtained just by fastening a ram/buck-scented pad to
the ewe’s/doe’s nose.
Some large flock owners have initiated the use of a vasectomized (sterilized) ram/buck to
stimulate the onset of oestrus in the flock. Never pen your rams/bucks next to ewes/does
before this ‘sensitizing’ period just prior to breeding. Remember, ‘absence makes the
heart grow fonder’. It is the sudden contact with the rams/bucks that excites the females.
Appropriate vaccines important to both mothers and/or newborns should be timely used.

PART- II                                             SHEEP AND GOAT PRODUCTION

Q.       Define flushing and explain its role in small ruminant breeding.
Flushing is the practice of placing the ewes/does on an increasing plane of nutrition i.e. in
a slight weight-gain situation to prepare for breeding. High quality forage may be used
for flushing or it can be accomplished by supplementing the usual summer diet with
concentrate ration. It is not as effective in animals that are already in good condition.
Thin females require a longer flushing period. It is most productive when initiated
seventeen/twenty-one days prior to turning in the ram/buck and continued tapering off
gradually for about thirty days. This process not only gets the ewes/does in a better
physical condition for breeding, but it also helps synchronizing them by bringing them
into heat at about the same time, preventing long strung-out lambing/kidding session.
It is also a factor in twinning, possibly because with better nourishment the ewes/does are
more likely to drop more ova. Various studies have indicated that flushing results in 18 to
25% increase in the number of lambs/kids, and some farmers think it is even more. You
can start with 100 g concentrate mixture/head/day and work up to 300 g in the first week
continue that quantity for seventeen/twenty-one days. When you turn in the ram/buck,
taper off the extra grain gradually. The ewes/does will probably come in heat once during
that seventeen/twenty-one days of flushing, particularly if you have put the ram/buck in
an adjoining place but it is preferable to have them bred in the second heat since they are
expected to drop a greater number of eggs and are more likely to produce twins. Flushing
promotes increased ovulations, thus increasing the number of lambs/kids born.
Q.       Briefly write down the simplest and the best method for heat detection in
         small ruminants.
One of the best heat-detectors is a ram/buck wearing a breeding apron to prevent actual
mating or a male that has been vasectomized. A miniature version of the ram/buck rag
may help detect heat. Rub a piece of cloth over various parts of ram’s body or over the
scent glands of a mature buck and keep it in a jar with a tight fitting lid to retain the
odour. During daily oestrus check, open the jar and let the ewes/does sniff the contents. If
one is in heat, the signs should become more obvious.
Q.       What is an abnormal heat? Give the causes responsible for this phenomenon.
Weak or silent heat, longer than normal cycles, continuous heat, shorter than normal
cycles or heat signs during pregnancy are the conditions that may be termed abnormal
heat. Commonly known causes are anaemia, embryonic death, cystic ovaries, moldy feed
and estrogen content in some legume forages (red clover/white clover has estrogen and
lowers lambing/kidding percentages). For cases of anaemia, the animals should be treated
for blood-sucking worms (two weeks before breeding) as well as for nutritional
deficiencies. Treatment is probably unnecessary when abnormal heat is due to embryonic
death since either embryonic material become reabsorbed or abortion occurs. If cystic
ovaries are the cause, hormonal treatment can cure. No treatment is necessary when heat
signs are exhibited during pregnancy since ovulation does not occur.
Q.       What would you suggest to homesteaders having two, three or four dairy
         does, to have them bred?
Dairy does are usually kept separate from bucks to prevent male odour from ruining the
milk and are bred annually to maximize milk flow. Does bred early in the season have
better lactation records and their female kids mature early enough (if well fed) to be bred
the following season. But it is not desirable to breed a doe during her first heat of the
season. Better wait until her second or third heat to avoid having kids come during the

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worst part of winter or to have freshening of your does so spread as to create a continuous
milk flow.
The best time to breed a doe is in the middle of heat, but it is not always easy to tell when
that occurs. It seems fairly safe to take the doe to the buck as soon as you notice that she
is in heat. If possible, breed her again in about twelve hours to ensure conception. It is
better to hand breed which involves holding her collar or a lead. The buck will cooperate
quickly and the fuss will be over soon. If the buck shows little or no interest in your doe,
you may have misjudged the signs of heat or noticed them too late. Virgin does are often
hard to settle. Some keepers leave problem does with a stud for a full month, since bucks
have an uncanny sense for right timing. If you do not own a buck, pick out a stud in
advance and make arrangements early so that you do not miss the breeding season. Look
for a handsome buck that has a history of producing daughters with good milking
records/ability. Preferably identify the buck and doe(s), the date they were mated and the
buck’s owner. (These are requirements for registration of animals of the same breed-
purebred animals).
Q.      Discuss practical aspects of reproduction management to maximize goat’s
        reproductive performance to achieve optimum numbers of healthy kids.
Breeders should not depend too much on getting animals mated at the end of the season
since, all too often, the cycle before the one when mating was planned turns out to be the
last for that season. Kids show sexual activity earlier than older goats and therefore, it is
unwise to leave male and females together about 4 months after their birth.
The restriction of seasonal breeding is a problem to some farmers since it results in
seasonal milk production and for those who depend on milk production for their
livelihood, it is an advantage to be able to produce and supply milk all the year round.
There are two ways of stimulating goats to breed out of season: one involves the
administration of hormones or analogues of hormones and the other involves the
alteration of environmental conditions, usually light to induce ovulation.
The most common method of treatment involves the use of sponges impregnated with the
hormone progesterone or a synthetic version of it. These sponges are inserted into the
vagina and are left to release the hormone over a predetermined period. Table 10 shows
two methods commonly used. French workers have recently shown that prolonged
progesterone treatment can adversely affect fertility and they advocate shorter sponge-in
method. The amount of PMSG (pregnant mare serum gonadotrophin) given will depend
on the stage in the season. For Method-I 600 to 700 iu are given during the non-breeding
season and 500 to 600 iu during the transitional period i.e. within 2 months of the normal
cycle. The PMSG is given as a source of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and
Luteinising hormone (LH) to increase the ovulation rate and thus to increase the chance
of conception. For Method-II the same principle applies but 100 iu less PMSG is used
than for the longer sponge-in method. For the shorter sponge-in method 0.1 to 0.2 mg of
prostaglandin (cloprostenol) is injected intramuscularly at the same time as the PMSG

Table 10.      Two possible regimes for using progesterone sponges for induction of
                               Method-I              Method-II
Sponge-in                      Day 1                 Day 1

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PMSG                           Day 17                 Day 9
Prostaglandin                  --                     Day 9
Sponge-out                     Day 19                 Day 12
Oestrus                        Day 20-21              Day 13-14
AI*                            42-44 hours after sponge removal
   * There is evidence that time of day affects fertility, the optimum time for AI
   being 1200 to 1400 hours, thus influencing the time of sponge removal.

The purpose of prostaglandin is to cause regression of any corpus luteum that may be
present, depending on the goat’s natural cycle, thus removing any endogenous
progesterone (packets of sponges come with detailed instructions on how to insert them;
applicators are also supplied). Care should be exercised with them as clumsy use can
result in severe damage to the wall of the vagina, particularly when inserting sponges into
virgin animals. Nylon threads are attached to the sponges to facilitate removal. These
threads may be chewed off by other goats. It is also possible to synchronise oestrus by
injections of synthetic prostaglandin, a substance produced by the uterus of non-pregnant
goats, which causes the degeneration of the corpus luteum. This can only work if there is
an active corpus luteum. Goats respond quickly to prostaglandin and usually come into
heat 24 to 48 hours after treatment. If a timed mating is required for a goat whose last
oestrus is not known, two injections are given 11 days apart.
Male Effect: If a male is run with females during the transitory period prior to the
expected breeding season, he will tend to stimulate the females into oestrus some 2 to 4
weeks early and they will tend to be synchronous. If a selected mating of the females is
intended then a vasectomised teaser male can be used. In case goats failed to exhibit
oestrus, a ‘billy rag’ is used. This is a rag that has been rubbed over the stud male thus
becoming impregnated with his very characteristic smell. This rag will be kept in screw-
top jar and will be brought out to be waved under the nose of a female that is not showing
any signs of heat when it is thought she should. Often this is enough to start a female
Light Effect: Having discussed earlier that how differences in day length are the main
trigger for the onset of the breeding season, it is perhaps possible that by housing goats in
late summer or early autumn in a shed that is fairly dark, to accelerate the shorterning day
effect and thus the goats may well show first heat signs a few weeks earlier. The role of
the hormone melatonin in controlling seasonal oestrus behaviour is well known. By
administering melatonin, which can be done in feed, scientists have been able to induce
oestrus behaviour and ovulation out of season. If this technique can be used with goats, it
would be extremely useful for a farm wishing to produce milk throughout the year. Work
done in USA has shown that out of season mating can be planned by using a controlled
artificial lighting regime based on the principle of a period of long artificial days
followed by a period of shorter days. A system involving 60 days of 20 hours light during
January and February, followed by ambient lighting from March 1, resulted in the goats
showing a single oestrus period during late April through June with most showing oestrus
in May. The level of light recommended was 0.3 m of 40-watt fluorescent tube per 3
sq.m of floor space with tubes approximately 3 m above the floor. Those goats not mated
went on to cycle normally in the autumn. The increased lighting is also likely to increase
winter-feeding activity, which will probably increase milk yields. It was also suggested

PART- II                                               SHEEP AND GOAT PRODUCTION

that the males should also be kept in the same extended light conditions if they were to
work satisfactorily out of season.
Q.      Is heat detection a problem in goats?
Unlike cows and more particularly buffaloes, heat or oestrus detection in goats is not
normally a problem. Those with large herds, especially if there are male goats on the
farm, rarely experience problems in this respect. They exhibit a number of behavioural
signs which in goats that are regularly handled, such as milkers, are easily recognized.
Those who experience more trouble in detecting oestrus seem to be those who have one
or two goats. Probably in comparative isolation, the typical oestrus behaviour and the
interaction between goats at this time are suppressed. The most evident sign of heat is the
plaintive cry that nearly all goats make at this time. It is much different to their normal
call and will soon be recognized once one is familiar with the normal calls and behaviour.
If there are males on the farm, the plaintive crying will be accompanied with wishful
looks towards the males and if they get the opportunity, the females will stand around the
male’s pens showing what in human terms would be called flirting behaviour. Oestrus
often starts late at night thus signs might be observed early the following morning.
Several of the usual signs of oestrus have already been discussed elsewhere in this book.
In spite of all these signs oestrus is sometimes missed. When large groups of young goats
are run together, it can be difficult to notice oestrus behaviour. If possible it is very useful
to run a vasectomised teaser male with such groups of young goats. If a sheep raddle
harness is used on the male, he will mark the oestrus females when he attempts to mount
them. If the females are checked twice daily it will be possible to pick out those that are
in heat and these can then be taken to the appropriate stud male.

Q.      Write a note on mating management.
The age at which an ewe/doe should first be mated will vary according to breed, their
feeding and health status. It is important that the young female is well grown before she
is expected to become pregnant and rear a lamb/kid. If mated too young she herself will
be stunted, restricting her capacity for long and productive life. Young breeders are very
likely to abort or may be unable to produce enough milk for the lamb/kid, leading to
nutritional stress and a high probability that the young will die. However, feeding and
care of an unproductive female is a burden for farmers. An ewe/doe should never be
mated before one year old. Ideally she would have one pair of permanent incisors i.e. be
aged about 14 months. Dwarf breeds such as Teddy goats may be an exception.
Exceptions to these rules would also occur in intensive systems where they are well fed
and are able to develop early. It is best if rams/bucks are not used for mating before one
year age.
The main signs of male sexual excitement are pursuing the female, pawing her with the
front legs, curling back of the upper lip and usually a loud snorting sound. Once oestrus
has been detected, copulation takes place. At ejaculation, sperm are deposited into the
vagina, from where they are transported through the uterus and into the oviducts by the
muscular contractions of these organs. Sperm may be able to fertilize an ovum for 24 to
36 hours after ejaculation, but sooner the better, because with ageing of the sperm during
this period, fertility is reduced. Because the sperm has a longer (12 to 24 hours) period of
viability than ovum (10 to 12 hours), it should therefore be in place in the reproductive

PART- II                                             SHEEP AND GOAT PRODUCTION

tract before ovulation takes place so that it is ready for the descending egg. Oestrus lasts
for about 24 to 36 hours in sheep. Mating should take place 12 to 18 hours after the onset
of oestrus with ovulation occurring 24 to 36 hours after the onset. In goats the duration of
oestrus is almost 2 to 3 days and the appropriate time for mating should be 12 to 22 hours
after the onset of oestrus with ovulation occurring between 24 to 36 hours after the onset.
Q.      Give a few helpful hints to improve mating management in goats.
The simplest system is to let the male(s) run with the females during the breeding season
and after allowing 2 or 3 cycles i.e. 6 to 9 weeks, it is assumed that all females likely to
be mated will have been mated and the males can be removed. Kidding will be expected
over a 6 to 9 week period 150 days from when the males were first put in with the
females. If using this system one male will be required for every 30 to 40 females.
However, it is desirable that farmers should know when mating took place so that the
precise kidding date can be predicted and also many people would like to put particular
females to a particular male. It would thus be necessary to group the females according to
the male that one wanted to use. These would be put together in a pen, paddock or field.
To be able to time matings, a sheep raddle harness could be used and thus the females
would be marked as they were mated. If the goats are checked twice a day, it would be
possible to record the goats mated each day. If the raddle crayon is changed to a different
colour every 20 days, it will be possible to detect those matings that were unsuccessful as
these goats will be mated a second time 21 days after the first. This mating system is
exactly the same as used for most commercial sheep flocks and can be used with
extensive goat system such as prevalent here.
For pedigree mating and certainly where a single female is brought to a particular stud
male, a hand-mating technique will be used. This simply means the female will be led to
the male who would normally be brought out of his pen onto a convenient level piece of
ground nearby. If the male is working well and the female is properly in heat, mating will
usually take place very quickly. However, a male may spend some time going through
courtship behaviour, which may involve much rubbing against and spluttering over the
female. This behaviour should not be constrained in any way as this could jeopardize the
chances of success.
When the male mounts the female, a good sign of a successful mating is if he throws his
head back as this is the normal sign of ejaculation having occurred. If the male spends a
lot of time rubbing and spluttering without mounting the female, it probably means the
female is not in oestrus. If the male has behaved like this with a number of females, his
performance and ability must be suspected. Whichever, system of mating is used, goats
are normally fertile animals and a conception rate at the first mating of over 80% can be
expected during the natural season. Goats that have been induced into oestrus out of
season using hormone treatment such as progesterone sponges, usually have a lower
conception rate.
Q.      Discuss manipulation of breeding in small ruminants.
For various reasons sheep/goat keepers may want to control the time of mating. This may
be in order for lambs/kids to be born at a favourable time of year when feed is plentiful or
it may be to ensure in respect of goats that milk is available at a certain time of year. In
more intensive systems, farmers may want to breed their sheep/goats to take advantage of
seasonal changes in the prices of sheep/goats or their products. There are several methods
to control mating and the season at which kids are born.

PART- II                                             SHEEP AND GOAT PRODUCTION

Separation of Males from Females: This requires the year round separate management
of males and females, introducing males into the flock at the time desired for mating. For
most farmers this method of breeding control is suitable only for goats that are housed for
most of the year.
Ram/Buck Apron: The ram/buck wears an apron made of leather, canvas or other
suitable material. The apron tied above behind the shoulders hangs below the abdomen of
the animal in front of the prepuce in such a way that if penis is extended, the ram/buck is
unable to perform mating.
Ram/Buck Penis String: A string is looped at one end around the testicles and at the
other around the prepuce of the ram/buck so that if the animal extends its penis, it is
forced to deviate to the right or left, making copulation impossible. The string must be
removed for successful mating (Figure 12).
Castration: Unwanted breeding males may be made infertile by crushing their spermatic
cords using a special metal pincer called Burdizzo castrator. Rubber ring method is also
used but only on very young lambs/kids. Castration is one method of ensuring that poor
quality males do not breed. In some countries it is also used to reduce the odour of the
meat from male goats. It will also increase both the fat content of the final carcass and the
lamb’s/kid’s growth rate, by reducing the energy spent on sexual activity and fighting.
For ease of management it is desirable to castrate all unwanted young males if they are to
be kept beyond the age of 3 to 4 months since fertile matings have been recorded at this
Q.      Devise a simple chart providing space for the number of matings, predicted
        lambing/kidding dates, number of lambs/kids born and a column for
A breeding chart for the day-to-day recording of mating and lambing/kidding

  Fe     Male      Ist     2nd     3rd      Due      Date      No. of      Remar
  mal              mati    mati   matin     date     gave    lambs/kid     ks
  e                 ng      ng      g        for     birth       s
                                                             Ma    Fem
                                                             le     ale

  Nur Hero         10.1      -       -      10-3-    9-3-     1      1     Female
  i                0.00                       01     2001                  small
  Ran Goga         11.1      2-      -       3-4-    3-4-     2      -     One
  o                0.00     11-               01     2001                  was
                            00                                             dead
  Hir    Goga      11.1      3-      -      6-4-     5-4-     1      1
  ni               0.00     11-              01      2001
  Ma     Goga/     15.1      6-     28-     28-4-    27-4-    -      2
  no     Hero      0.00     11-    11-00     01      2001

PART- II                                              SHEEP AND GOAT PRODUCTION

As can be seen in the example above (chart) that the male Goga was at fault since Mano
mated successfully with Hero at 3rd mating. The male Goga also did not prove successful
on Ist mating with Rano as well as Hirni, it is therefore, possible that he is no longer
adequately fertile. Similarly, if the chart shows that a certain female does not mate
successfully even with three attempts, twice with one male and 3rd time with another
male, it is then probable that she is infertile. Such animals may be culled from the flock.
Q.       Suggest some effective measures for pregnancy diagnosis in small ruminants.
For economic reasons it is often useful to determine whether or not an ewe/doe is
pregnant. Such a diagnosis can save feed as a non-pregnant animal will be fed less and
also if non-pregnant there may be time to try another mating before the end of season. It
may also be necessary if one is buying or selling sheep/goats that are supposedly
pregnant. A milk test for pregnancy, developed for cows, involves testing for a metabolite
produced by the placenta of pregnant animals called oestrone sulphate. Since it is only
produced by the placenta, false positive results do not occur. A goat milk sample can be
tested for the purpose after 35 to 50 days gestation.
A recent development, particularly for sheep, is the pregnancy diagnosis by ultra-sonic
scanning. Using a rectal probe, diagnosis can be done after about 35 days gestation and if
left a little longer, can usually count the number of foetuses. This system works equally
well with goats. Diagnosis may also be made by X-ray. Foetal bones show up after about
85 to 90 days and of course with a good X-ray, the number of foetuses should be clearly
visible. During the last 6 weeks of gestation, it is often possible to see the foetuses
moving particularly when the goats are lying down. At this time foetuses can be felt by
firm palpation deep into the lower abdomen just in front of the udder.

Q.       Write a note on genital hypoplasia.
Genital hypoplasia also called inter-sex or hermaphroditism denotes lack of proper
development of the reproductive organs. It is an important cause of infertility in small
ruminants especially goats (both bucks and does). It can appear in any breed, most often
in offspring of two naturally hornless goats. It may also occur when one parent is horned
and the other polled. The gene for hornlessness some how inhibits normal development
of the reproductive organs. Affected goats may have abnormal external genitals, but
many are not so easy to identify. A small ruminant-oriented reproduction expert, after
thorough examination can identify such an animal. As soon as it is identified do away
with it. It is useless for breeding; even its meat tastes strong and bucky.
Q.       Normally what physical changes can be observed during gestation period in
         small ruminants? Discuss the case of a dairy doe.
For the first three months you will see little change and it will be nearly impossible to tell
whether she is pregnant. Tests can provide an answer. The most practicable for small
flocks is to check milk or urine for estrone sulphate, a hormone produced by a living
foetus that can be detected as early as thirty-five days after conception. If you find that
the doe is not pregnant, you may still have time to rebreed her. A doe that has been bred
should be dried off three months later for replenishment of depleted body reserves and so
that milk production would not compete with foetal development. Unborn kids put on
about 70% of their weight during the last five to six weeks of gestation. About a month
before kidding, the doe should really fill out. Start feeding her a little grain ration on the
milk stand both to readjust her to milking routine and to check her udder for any

PART- II                                              SHEEP AND GOAT PRODUCTION

problems. Two or three weeks before kidding, restrict legume roughage and calcium
supplements in the rations of high producers.
Older and poorly fed does tend to kid late. Multiple births usually shorten the gestation
period. During the last week or two, the doe may develop depressed areas on both sides
of her tail and hollowness at her hips. She may carry the kid(s) lower so that her pelvic
bones seem sharper and her pinbones become raised. Her vulva may distend. Her udder
may fill out. If the udder of a heavy milker becomes tight and shiny, milk her out to
prevent damage to the udder and ligaments supporting the udder. At the end of or close to
five months, the doe may become withdrawn, bleat, eat less and discharge white mucus,
indicating that her time is near. Clip the hair around her tail and udder. Take the doe to a
roomy stall (pen) where the bedding is fresh and clean for the health of both the mother
and newborn. She may paw the ground, lie down and get up restlessly, pant or rearrange
the bedding. She may lie down and not get up until her first kid is born. She may labour
for a few hours before she actually kids. When contractions get closer together at the start
of hard labour, she will pass gelatinous strings of bloody mucus. The first kid should be
no more than fifteen minutes away and the entire process should take about forty-five
minutes, depending on the number of kids born, which may be two, though three or four
are not uncommon. A single is possible for does first kidding. When parturition starts,
you will see a round, dark, bulging water bag. It will burst to reveal two feet with a tiny
nose resting on them. Soon come out shoulders, hips and hind legs. Do not interfere or
you will upset the doe and may cause unnecessary complications.
The afterbirth or placenta usually comes out at the time of kidding or just afterwards. It is
a stringy, light, thin, milky-looking membrane. In a multiple birth, there may be one or
more. The doe may consume placenta and if she does, she will not be very hungry for the
next few days. Otherwise remove the placenta and burn or bury it.
Q.      What do you know about selective breeding? Explain in detail.
If you intend to build up a sizeable flock, careful selective breeding will increase its
value. The two basic rules of selective breeding are:
i) Never mate two sheep/goats that have the same fault, no matter how minor it seems. ii)
Keep sight of your goals and make every decision with those goals in mind.
Goals may include improving milk production, improving quantity and quality of wool,
increasing the lambing/kidding rate, improving growth rate of lambs/kids or decreasing
susceptibility to certain disease conditions. Breeding for appearance alone often leads to
degeneration of wool and milk production or reproductive capabilities. Any time you
seem to be achieving your goals, raise your standards.
Selection in favour of desirable characteristics involves culling against undesirable ones.
Unwanted hereditary defects include overshot or undershot jaw, anomalies of the teeth or
joints, extra or double teats, undescended testicle(s), weak anatomical structure or
incorrect conformation and colour for the breed. How fast you make progress toward
your goals depends on the accuracy of your records, how good your foundation stock is,
the uniformity of its gene pool, the number of breeders you select from, the relationship
between the traits you are selecting for and their degree of heritability. Fortunately, most
of desirable traits for sheep and goats are heritable to a fairly high degree. Some traits are
not genetically controlled but depend on environment (nutrition, management etc.). You
can reach your goals faster if you concentrate on only one trait at a time, but do not
ignore all others, otherwise undesirable ones may creep in.

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Do not get excited by your early success, which may give you a false sense of
satisfaction. This is especially true if you start with unrelated sheep/goats so that your
first few matings produce exceptionally fine lambs/kids, the result of hybrid vigour. Only
years of careful selection can make you certain of the pedigree of each sheep/goat in your
breeding team and that no undesirable latent characteristics lurk in the background.
Selective breeding needs a whole lot of record keeping and a huge amount of patience.
Q.      Write short notes on inbreeding, linebreeding, outbreeding and
Inbreeding: Methods of selective breeding include inbreeding, linebreeding, outbreeding
and crossbreeding. Inbreeding is the mating of closely related animals to develop a
uniform genetic base so that eventually every sheep/goat in your flock is nearly identical
in production and/or appearance. Inbreeding allows this by intensifying desirable
characteristics, but it can also intensify undesirable ones if those are not carefully culled
against. Inbreeding brings out latent weaknesses to make you aware of their existence so
that you can work toward eliminating them. If after four or five generations of
inbreeding, you continue to produce sound offspring, you can be more or less sure that
there are no hidden genetic defects in your flock.
Linebreeding: It is a form of inbreeding. It aims at concentrating the blood of one
founding parent, usually a ram/buck but it may also be an ewe/doe. Many books contain
linebreeding charts which may be taken as suggested guidelines, because blindly
plugging the names of sheep/goats into a chart only due to their position in the family tree
is likely to produce frustration. Instead choose each breeder according to its individual
merit and potential for bringing you closer to your goals. The effectiveness of any form
of inbreeding is increased with the number of sheep/goats involved which may be divided
among cooperating flock owners. A large breeding population lets you cull freely to keep
only animals that help you to achieve your goals. Because it involves such heavy culling
that inbreeding (linebreeding) is not feasible for very small flocks.
Outbreeding: It is the opposite of inbreeding. It involves mating animals that are not
closely related or are entirely unrelated. Its goal is to combine the desirable traits of two
distinct populations with an additional advantage that it produces hybrid vigour, making
the offspring superior to either parent. Outbreeding becomes necessary in an inbreeding
programme when undesirable traits show up or when it turns out that a flock cannot be
developed according to the plan because it does not carry the genes for certain desired
characteristics. Outbreeding involves careful selection of an animal to complement your
flock with the particular characteristics you need and no undesirable ones that may spoil
your programme. Such a sheep/goat is most likely to be found in another flock that is
inbred, preferably one with distant ancestors common to your flock.
Crossbreeding: When both parents belong to the same breed, the lamb/kid is termed as a
purebred. However, each parent is of distinct different breed, the lamb/kid is called a
crossbred. In crossbreeding you get a lamb/kid that can potentially (but not necessarily),
have the good points of both the parents and is usually faster growing. The value of
crossbreeding can be determined in practice by comparing the lamb/kid with the two
parent breeds considering particularly the factors that are of importance in your situation:
body conformation, wool, milk, prolificacy, rate of growth and size. Heterosis is the
hybrid vigour i.e. the increased hardiness and growth performance that is often found in a
crossbred when it is compared to the average of its purebred parents. Hybrid vigour is the

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major reason for crossbreeding. The other reason is to breed in such a manner as to allow
the strong points of one breed to compensate for the weakness of another. Individual
heterosis comes from crossing two different breeds and normally results in an average of
8 kg more meat (if well fed) than by pure breeding. Maternal heterosis, as reported by
researchers of Ohio State University, is the crossing of a purebred ram/buck with a
crossbred ewe/doe and causes on average 18% more meat produced per ewe/doe.
Q.      Briefly discuss backcrossing and grading up.
Backcrossing: Breeding your best ewe lambs/doe kids to the same unusually good
ram/buck is called backcrossing. It is a form of inbreeding. The lambs/kids resulting from
this mating should not be bred back to the same ram/buck.
Grading Up: The use of a good purebred ram/buck on a flock of very ordinary
ewes/does and keeping the best of the resulting offspring, is called grading up. If done for
several years, keeping the best of the ewe lambs/doe kids and disposing off the original
ewes/does, you have probably improved the quality of your flock. The actual
improvement depends partly on the ram/buck chosen and partly on how carefully you
select the ewe lambs/doe kids that are kept for replacement.
Q.      Give below the estimated heritability of some important traits of dairy goats
        as well as Angora goats.
Exact degree of heritability is not easy to ascertain due to the interrelationship of
heritable characteristics as well as the complications of undetected environmental factors.
Estimates of heritability show the percentage of progress you can reasonably expect when
breeding selected parents (Table 11).

Table 11.       Degree of heritability of certain traits
 Trait                       Heritability (%)
 Annual milk yield           36-64
 Total yield                 25-66
 Fat yield                   30-67
 Fat (%)                     32-62
 Protein yield               32-47               Angora traits (%)
 Protein (%)                 59                  Total fibre yield         48
 Casein (%)                  65                  Fibre length              22
 Lactose (%)                 38                  Greasy fleece weight      15-40
 Flavour                     27                  Clean fleece weight       20
 Milking time                67                  Fibre diameter            12
 Birth weight                01                  Face cover                31-59
 Liveweight at 7 months      49-77               Kemp score                20-43
 General body weight         50                  Body weight               30-50
 Age at first kidding        54-77               Weaning weight            20-55
 Number of kids              10

Q.     Briefly discuss various methods of evaluating breeding animals.
There are several ways to evaluate the worthiness of potential breeders. One is to look at
showring experience if you want to breed for winners. But showring wins are often
weighted more in favour of appearance over meat, wool producing ability or dairy

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character. In addition, showring placement is mostly determined by comparing the
exhibited animals to each other rather than to an ideal. Another means of evaluation is
through classification, a system of scoring by comparing each animal to an established
standard of excellence for its breed. Classifiers are trained and licensed by the various
sheep/goat registered associations (mostly in western world). Like showring scoring,
classification involves some degree of subjectivity on the part of the judge. A third
alternative that provides more objective evaluation is linear appraisal. This system was
established (in USA) by a committee within the National Association of Animal Breeders
as a means of placing value on individual traits by using a sliding scale from worst to
best. It was designed to evaluate sires used for artificial insemination.
Q.       Write a note on progeny testing.
Progeny testing is perhaps the most objective way to evaluate breeding animals. It
involves keeping track of performance of an animal’s offspring. It is a form of pedigree
selection and is a method of estimating the breeding value of an animal by the
performance or phenotype of its offspring. Progeny testing cannot be practised until after
the animal reaches sexual maturity. The ram/buck must be mated to a large number of
average ewes/does and not a small number of highly selected females. The accuracy of
ram’s/buck’s estimated breeding value increases as the number of progeny with
performance information increase. However, this method of selection can be very
expensive and greatly increases generation interval because selection of parents cannot be
carried out until after offspring have been measured.
Q.       What do you understand by oestrus manipulation? Discuss in detail.
Oestrus manipulation is a means to influence the occurrence of heat, which offers some
advantages if you have a large flock. Manipulating heat cycles helps produce a more
regular flow of lambs/kids and that of milk from dairy goats by allowing groups of
ewes/does to lamb/kid at the times you designate. Synchronizing heat (having ewes/does
come into heat together) makes artificial insemination cheaper and easier, condenses the
period during which you have to be on hand for lambing/kidding and produces groups of
lambs/kids of similar ages that can be more easily raised together. A disadvantage is that
conception rates and foetus survival rates tend to be lower during out-of-season hot
summer months.
Oestrus may be controlled in three basic ways. One is by hormonal treatment.
The second is to introduce a vasectomized ram/buck into the flock or to hang a ram/buck
rag in the barn. A ram/buck rag is an empty burlap sack or an old blanket that has been
liberally rubbed over a mature ram or buck’s musk glands. Ram/buck odour generally
causes ewes/does to come into heat within about a week. The third method is through
light manipulation. Simulating the light conditions of fall prepares rams/bucks and female
animals for out-of-season breeding.
A more effective but complicated method has been devised at the International Dairy
Goat Research Center at Texas A & M. It involves light treating does for twenty hours a
day over a sixty-day period starting in early January, using one four-foot-forty-watt
fluorescent tube for each forty-two square feet of floor space, hung at a height of 2.7 to
3m. The does are then kept under natural light for another thirty-five days. Into each pen
of six does, a buck is introduced that has also been light-treated to stimulate fertility. He
is left there for sixty days during which two or three light-introduced heat cycles occur.
By this method a pregnancy rate of 67 to 100% was achieved in various breeds of dairy

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goats. How effectively the occurrence of heat can be controlled with ram/buck scent or
lighting depends on the season, the weather, your latitude, management practices and the
age and breed of your ewes/does. Environmental control of oestrus is easier with certain
breeds than with others, for which hormonal treatment may be necessary for optimum
Q.       Discuss the possibility of accelerated lambing/kidding in sheep/goats.
Obtaining two lamb/kid crops a year (without use of hormones) seems possible. Some
breeds might perform better in this respect than others e.g. Teddy goats have already
exhibited ample capacity to produce two kid crops a year. However, apart from the
physiological possibility, the possibility of proper feeding of ewes/does and their
offspring must be explored. Because underfeeding of small ruminants in this country has
definitely kept them back from utilizing their existing potential. It therefore, does not
appear advisable to burden them any more unless substantial feed resources are
developed and made available for them. The long run effect of two crops a year on
reproductive span, life span of ewes/does and on lamb/kid birth weight as well as their
growth rate needs to be considered.
Scientists in the Utah State University have devised and tested a method to overcome the
common problem of uterine debris that prevents ewes/does from breeding back early
enough to have two lamb/kid crops in twelve months. They infused the uterus with 200
ml saturated sucrose solution via the cervix, within four days of lambing/kidding and
obtained beneficial response. Sterile solution and sterile procedure are essential to avoid
serious complications. Any programme of accelerated lambing/kidding will require very
early weaning of lambs/kids to prepare the ewes/does for their next lambing/kidding. The
effect of severe hot and cold weather on newborns has also to be kept in view.
Q.       What specific traits are favourably influenced by better feeding of small
         ruminants during the last 10 weeks of pregnancy?
Better feeding during the last 10 weeks of gestation period will influence the size of
lambs/kids, the development of udder and subsequent milk yield (which is important for
the newborn lambs/kids as well as for the sale of goat milk later on), female’s forage
intake during lactation which is conditioned at this time, mohair yield of Angora kids and
probably wool producing capacity of sheep.
Q.       Briefly discuss the role of hormones in the development of udder in small
         ruminants in the last a few weeks of gestation.
The development of the udder is influenced by a number of hormones including
progesterone from the ovaries, prolactin from the pituitary gland and placental lactogen
from the placenta. The placental lactogen is produced in greater quantities according to
the amount of placental tissue. Thus ewes/does carrying a number of foetuses are likely
to produce more milk than those with single foetus. During the last a few weeks of
gestation the udder will undergo rapid development and in case of heavy milkers may
look swollen and engorged. There is often a temptation to milk out a little at this time to
relieve pressure but unless the ewe/doe is in obvious discomfort, it is better not to do this
since it will affect the production of colostrum at lambing/kidding.

Q.     What are the important measures of reproductive efficiency in small
       ruminants? Discuss briefly.

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Reproduction is said to be the engine of the flock, ensuring that sheep and goats are able
to generate enough replacements for themselves, expand the flock and supply excess
stock for sale. The reproductive rate of both individual sheep/goats and the flock as a
whole is an important determinant of the overall success of the flock. It is therefore,
important that reproductive problems, if any, are spotted as early as possible and action
taken to remedy the situation. Important measures to assess individual reproductive
performance are:
Parturition Interval: The frequency with which individual ewes/does produce
Litter Size: The number of lambs/kids born per ewe/doe.
Preweaning Mortality Rate: The number of lamb/kid deaths up to weaning.
Postweaning Mortality Rate: The number of lamb/kid deaths after weaning.
In addition, consideration must be given to the question of whether there are any females
that are not reproducing. Some measures of reproductive performance of a whole flock
may express the number of lambs/kids born either from the breeding females that were
actually mated or from the potential breeding females i.e. including infertile females.
These indicators may include the number of lambs/kids born per number of breeding
females per year (lambing/kidding rate). An index that includes an estimate of
preweaning mortality is weaning rate i.e. the number of lambs/kids weaned per number
of breeding females per year.
Q.      Give a detailed account of reproductive problems in small ruminants.
Problems of reproductive management can be identified and normally overcome, whereas
if deeper physiological problems are suspected, for example difficulties of hormonal
nature, access to a well equipped laboratory is required. Such a facility is not commonly
available. A series of questions might be asked when investigating the reasons why an
ewe/doe is not lambing/kidding, or why the reproductive rate of a flock is poor. Such
questions are:
Is the ewe/doe showing signs of oestrus? It is important to check whether oestrus is being
detected properly. In flocks where males are not run continuously with females, oestrus
detection can be a problem, unless the owner is very alert. Women and grown up
members of the family associated with handling and care of the animals might help in
this regard. However, it is necessary to check this and also to check that the ram/buck
responds normally to females. Homosexual males may not do so.
Females may be experiencing normal cycles, but may not show overt signs of oestrus.
Any of the following factors may cause anoestrus:
Poor Condition: Poor nutrition over long periods, resulting into loss of 10 to 20% body
weight can cause the ewe/doe to stop showing signs of oestrus; this is called nutritional
Lactation: In the early stages of lactation, females may not show signs of oestrus; this is
known as lactational anoestrus.
Sickness: If the ewe/doe is very ill, she may not show signs of oestrus. Alternatively she
may not be cycling at all, owing to some infertility problems and thus no signs of oestrus.
If the ewe/doe is showing signs of oestrus the next question is Is oestrus regular? Try to
record when oestrus occurs. Sometimes oestrous cycles are very short (6 to 10 days) or
very long. Causes of short cycles are:

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Stress: When the ewe/doe is stressed, for example during transportation. The corpus
luteum may prematurely regress, causing short cycles.
Ovarian Cyst: Cysts on the ovary produce estrogen, which may shorten the cycle.
Metritis: Infection of the uterus after lambing/kidding may result in short oestrus cycles.
Mummified Lamb/Kid: If a lamb/kid becomes mummified in the uterus, it can serve to
stimulate repeated short cycles. Causes of long oestrous cycles are:
Embryonic Death: The death of the embryo in the uterus.
Anoestrus: Possibly due to malnutrition or disease.
Hormonal Disturbance: A hormonal disturbance resulting in a persistent corpus luteum.
If oestrus is being regularly shown, but there are still problems, the question arises Is the
ram/buck proven to be fertile. Males may be infertile due to:
Brucellosis: Infection with brucellosis in males can result in orchitis (swollen testicles),
which can make the ram/buck temporarily infertile or permanently sterile.
Physical Damage: Any physical damage to the penis or testicles can render the male
sterile. Also lameness or other physical problems can make the male unable to mount a
Over Use: Rams/bucks should not be expected to serve successfully more than one or
two females per day. If a male is run with a batch of females that come into oestrus close
together, he may attempt to serve them but the sperm quality would fall with each female
served. By the third or fourth ewe/doe of the day, the ram/buck may be effectively
Hereditary Condition: Occasionally a ram/buck is born with deformed reproductive
organs, causing him to be sterile.
Age: When the males grow weak through age, they may no longer be able to mount and
mate a female successfully.
Homosexuality: Males reared exclusively with other males in the absence of females can
develop homosexual behaviour patterns and will not respond to females in oestrus. The
next question is Is the male with the ewe/doe all the time? If the answer is no, then there
may be problems either in detecting oestrus or in mating at the correct time in relation to
ovulation. If the ewe/doe has to be taken for matting to a distant male, it may not be
possible for her to be mated twice at the recommended interval of 12 hours. Does the
ewe/doe stand to be mated? Standing to be mated is the true sign of oestrus, however,
even if the ewe/doe is in oestrus, she may be too small to support the weight of the
It is common in crossbreeding programmes for the ewe/doe and ram/buck to need
assistance at mating. The female may have to be supported while the male mounts, in
order to achieve successful copulation. If the answer to all previous questions is yes, but
the ewe/doe is still not breeding properly, then it is time to consider the possibility that
the doe is infertile. Females may be infertile, either not showing signs of oestrus, or
simply not ovulating at all, for one of the following reasons:
Pregnancy: If the reproductive problem reported is a recent one, consider the possibility
that the ewe/doe is currently pregnant.
Previous Metritis: Infection of the uterus may occur after lambing/kidding and can leave
the female infertile.
Hereditary Condition: Hereditary deformities do occur, but are rare.
Age: Eventually females become too old to breed.

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Q.       What do you understand by metritis?
Normally after lambing/kidding there is a reddish discharge from the vulva for up to 14
days. However, if the discharge is dark red and sticky, there may be an infection and
inflammation of the uterus known as metritis. A course of antibiotics normally results in
full recovery, however, if chronic metritis develops, the ewe/doe may be rendered
Q.       What to do with a battering ram/buck?
The battering ram/buck may not be considered just funny. It can inflict serious, and
sometimes permanently crippling injuries. Keep children away from it. They can make
him playful and dangerous. Never pet him on top of his head; this encourages him to butt.
Leading a ram/buck with one hand under his chin will keep him from getting his head
down into butting position. A ram/buck butts from the top of his head, not from his
forehead. His head is held so low that as he charges you, he does not see forward well
enough to swerve suddenly. A quick step to the right or left will help you avoid the
If you have a ram/buck that already butts at you, try the water cure. A half-pail of water
on his face when he comes to butt. After repeating a few times, a water pistol or dose
syringe of water on his face suffices to check him. Adding a bit of vinegar to the water
makes it a better deterrent.
A dangerous ram/buck that is very valuable can be hooded so that he can only see
downward and somewhat backward. He must then be kept apart from other rams/bucks as
he is quite helpless.
Strange rams/bucks will fight when put together. Well acquainted ones, will, too, if they
have been separated for a while. Two strong rams/bucks who are both very determined
will keep fighting until their heads are bleeding and one finally staggers to his knees and
is hard for him to get up. Rams/bucks will occasionally kill one another. Never pen a
smaller, younger one with a large dominant one. To prevent fighting and the possibility
of being injured, you can put them together in a small pen for a few days. In a confined
area they cannot back up far enough to do any damage. If no pen is available, they can be
hobbled i.e. fore and hind legs of the same side can be fastened with ends of a broad
leather strap just above the pastern joints, leaving the legs at about the natural distance
apart. It discourages them from butting each other, or people, because they are unable to
charge from any distance. They may stand close and push each other around. Hobbling
also keeps them from jumping the fence. In addition, clogging may be tried which simply
means fastening a piece of wood to one fore leg by a leather strap. This will slow down
and discourage both fence jumping and fighting.
Q.       Is artificial insemination practised in small ruminants?
It is practised in several countries such as UK, USA, Canada, Russia, Australia,
Switzerland and France, but natural breeding is still more popular with large flocks
because breeding by ram/buck is both easier and surer. For small flock owners, in most
cases artificial insemination (AI) costs about the same as stud service and for them both
can be less expensive than keeping a ram/buck. AI is especially important where stud
rams/bucks are not available locally. AI lets you take advantage of a wide range of
superior rams/bucks from across the country. And you can keep a closed flock to prevent
the spread of diseases, since AI sires are screened for health problems transmitted
through sexual contact.

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In several countries, more and more small flocks owners especially goat-keepers are
learning how to do and many are willing to do it for others. The initial investment is
fairly high, but can be mitigated if a group of compatible members of a farmer’s
community/club pool resources. The semen storage tank is the most costly piece of
equipment. It is used to keep the semen at –320°F during transportation and storage.
After semen is selected according to the histories of stud rams/bucks (published in
various catalogues), it is delivered by a bus/van in the processor’s transporting tank. The
breeder must have another tank for the semen, so that the processor’s tank can be
promptly returned. Since semen is viable only eight to twelve hours after being thawed,
in contrast to as much as two days for natural semen, it is therefore critical that
insemination be well coordinated with ovulation. Some breeders keep a ram/buck to
stimulate ovulation and help them identify ewes/does in heat, even though they use AI to
breed their animals to superior distant studs. Conception rates vary between 50 and 70%.
Rough handling of ewes/does during AI reduces the chances of conception. If you have a
large flock, try to achieve oestrus synchronization before calling an AI technician to your
place to do the job. A record of AI should include the date, identification of ewe/doe,
ram/buck, semen processor and inseminator.
Certain disadvantages of AI are: i) Conception rates from AI would not be expected to be
as good as with natural mating, ii) special training and expensive equipment are required,
and iii) if a trained inseminator is not located nearby then travelling costs can make the
service expensive.
In Britain the company Caprine Ovine Breeding Services Ltd. (COBS) was formed about
two decades ago to develop an artificial insemination service particularly for goats. The
first few years of this company were spent making preliminary arrangements and now
semen can be successfully diluted and frozen in liquid nitrogen at –196°C and
experienced inseminators are achieving conception rates at first service of over 60%.
The most common method of restraint for AI involves holding the goat’s back legs off
the ground and presenting her rear to the inseminator. The owner or handler stands
astride the goat’s neck, facing the goat’s rear. The inseminator lifts the goat by her hocks
and brings her up so that the handler can hold the hocks tight up against the goat’s lower
abdomen pulling her up against his chest. It is best if the handler can lean into and rest his
back into a corner. By doing so it is possible to restrain even quite large goats for
insemination. The inseminator uses an instrument called a speculum to look into the
vagina of the goat to locate the entrance to the cervix. If the goat is at the proper stage of
oestrus, the cervix may be slightly dilated and it is sometimes easy to insert the AI gun
some distance into the neck of the cervix. However, the muscular bands can make it
difficult to insert the gun into the cervix, the semen is then splashed onto the entrance.
The chances of conception will be reduced if this happens.
For AI through the cervix, the semen is frozen in 0.5 ml plastic straws. The semen is
diluted so that each straw contains approximately 120 million sperm. The amount of
semen collected from a male varies but averages 15 to 20 straws per ejaculate. An
insemination technique, using an instrument called a laproscope, deposits semen directly
into the uterus through the body wall. This technique allows less semen to be used to
achieve conception rates at least as good as when cervical technique is used. The help of
a veterinarian is required for this purpose. AI programme should not be considered unless
conditions/facilities such as a supply of semen, skilled staff, technical equipment and

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good transport and communications as well as highly motivated farmers/goat keepers
exist. It may be possible to run a goat AI programme alongside a buffalo/cattle AI
programme, making use of the same laboratory and technicians.
Q.       Discuss embryo transfer in goats.
In recent years the techniques for preserving fertile embryos and transplanting them into
suitable recipient animals that become surrogate mothers have been considerably
developed in several western countries. The technique is particularly attractive for rapidly
increasing the number of progeny that can be produced by one female in a single
breeding season. It has been used most in breeds and species that, usually for reasons of
scarcity, are valuable and therefore, where the relatively high cost involved can be
justified. Embryo transfer involves treating a goat with a series of injections of follicle
stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) to synchronize oestrus and to
induce super-ovulation. The goat is mated repeatedly throughout the peak of her oestrus
period in order to enhance the chances of a large number of ova, 12 on average, being
fertilized. At the same time a number of ordinary goats, usually 7 to 10, are also treated
with hormones so that their oestrous cycle will be exactly synchronized with that of the
Six days after the donor is mated, she undergoes a small operation to exteriorize the
uterus, which is then flushed to recover any fertile embryos that may be present. The
embryos thus collected are examined under microscope by an embryologist to determine
those that are fit to be used. Two of these will then be transferred by a similar operation
to each of the recipient goats. Embryos can be frozen and stored in liquid nitrogen in a
similar way to semen and thus they can be shipped around the world and can be used a
long time after they were collected. When considering the economics of embryo transfer,
it is important to remember that 12 embryos recovered will not mean 12 live kids born.
There are many points in the programme where the embryos may die. Good
synchronization of the donor’s and recipients’ oestrous cycles is the most important and
stress and nutrition can affect embryo survival after implantation.
For every 12 embryos flushed two would probably be infertile or unsuitable for transfer.
Not all the recipients will be suitable for use and of the five, three or four will become
pregnant. Taking all these variables into account, the average number of kids born per
flush will be five to six and of these, it is normal to expect 50% male and 50% female.
The embryo transfer requires highly skilled staff and sophisticated equipment, therefore,
it might be successfully used only under research station conditions.
Q.       Write a detailed note on culling.
Culling means eliminating old and unproductive animals from the flock according to a
scheduled annual or biannual programme.
To know which animals to cull, you need to keep good records and this requires ear
tags/tattooing. Even if you can recognize each of your sheep/goats by name, still it is
important to have clear records with tags than without. The following records may be
helpful: fleece weight of each clip/each year; wool quality; lambing/kidding record;
prolapses; rejected lambs/kids; inverted eyelids; milk yield and milking ability; lamb/kid
growth; foot problems; udder abnormalities; any illnesses and their treatment.
At culling time review the records as well as inspect teeth, udders and feet. Cull out
ewes/does with defective udders, broken mouth (teeth missing), limpers who do not
respond to regular trimming and foot baths or those with insufficient milk and whose

PART- II                                             SHEEP AND GOAT PRODUCTION

lambs/kids grow slowly. There may be some exceptions to these deficiencies such as an
ewe/doe who regularly has twins/triplets and passes on her prolific traits to her daughters.
This one may warrant bottle feeding of her lambs/kids for another season of
lambing/kidding. Improvements of a flock require rigid culling. Consider all the points
listed under purchase of new ewes/does. And it is not enough to just have teeth, the bite
itself is important. An expert says, “They cannot shear grass if the blades do not match”.
Keep in mind especially the ease of lambing/kidding (to avoid animals that all require
assistance at parturition time). Consideration for only growth and conformation may not
be enough, also consider survivability, mothering instinct, production of large quantities
of nourishing milk from the start, lamb/kids that find out teats, even suck out wax plug if
Culling may be done at least a month before the dates of marketing shows that are held at
one or two nearby places. It can also be managed to coincide with the demand for
sacrificial slaughter of animals, especially male stock, on the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha.
During the four to six weeks period after culling, the animals may be provided some
supplementary ration to enhance their marketability so that they may fetch better prices.





PART- II                                              SHEEP AND GOAT PRODUCTION

Q.      Give a list of diseases which pertain to pregnant ewes/does.
Vaginal prolapse, abortions, retained placenta, mastitis, pregnancy disease (ketosis),
ketosis or calcium deficiency, milk fever (lambing sickness, hypocalcium, calcium
deficiency) etc.
Q.      Give a detailed account of vaginal prolapse in ewes/does.
Vaginal prolapse mostly occurs before parturition, but sometimes can follow a difficult
labour. The vaginal lining, protruding from genital opening can be seen as a red mass.
Early detection and treatment is important. Important causes are: anatomical weakness,
likely inherited; feeding too much roughage during late pregnancy, with foetus and
stomach causing excessive pressure; deficiency of selenium; extra fat ewe/doe; lying on
upward slope; causing ewe/doe to cough a lot as in pneumonia or lungworms; rough
handling in shearing or during deworming in late pregnancy.
For prevention of prolapse, in selenium deficient areas, inject the animals with selenium a
week before parturition. The slightest indication of prolapse would call for an additional
selenium injection along with usual prolapse-repair measures. Injection be given
intramuscular but preferably subcut. In western country markets several selenium
products are available. Too much selenium is acutely toxic. Increased forage yields are
speeding the depletion of selenium in topsoil and increased animal stocking/ha on a given
land area also contributes to the problem. Blood tests can give an accurate information
about selenium status of the animal and the soil scientist about the soil.
Conventional treatment for the vaginal lining just barely protruding is confine the
pregnant animal in such a place where her hind end is well elevated, thus decreasing
pressure. At the same time prolapse-harness may be applied. In many countries,
homemade prolapse-loop is used in case prolapse has occurred (Figure 13).
To replace the vaginal protrusion and insert the loop or retainer: Put a rope (1½ cm) or
belt around her middle in front of the udder so that she cannot strain, but not so tight that
she cannot lie down and get up. Wash your hands and disinfect the loop. Wash the
prolapsed part with normal cold antiseptic water. Replace the vaginal lining using a
lubricant. Hind end be elevated. May hold her on back, with her shoulders on the ground
and her hindquarters up against your knee, to relieve pressure. Insert the prolapse loop,
straight in, flat horizontally. Prolapse-harness may be used to hold the loop in place. Give
an injection of a suitable antibiotic to avoid infection. For lubricating and disinfecting the
vaginal mass, a cream is available in the local market. You can remove the loop as she
goes into labour. Mark this ewe/doe for culling since the prolapse produces permanent
damage and might happen again. It could be a genetic weakness.
At one time the standard holding of prolapse was with deep sutures (one at the top of
vaginal opening and one across the bottom) to hold the vagina in (Figure 14).

Q.      What is meant by pregnancy disease? Give its synonyms, causes, symptoms
        and treatment.
Pregnancy disease also termed as pregnancy toxaemia or ketosis is highly fatal if not
treated immediately. It usually occurs in last week or so of pregnancy and inflicts mostly

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twin or triplet carrying ewes/does. It can be readily diagnosed by urine tests for ketones
and acetones if test strips are available. It is possible to avoid this disease by using ketone
test strips early.
It is not a thin ewe/doe or blood sugar problem, rather mainly of insufficient energy
intake. When she is taking in less energy than required to sustain herself and the growing
foetus(es), she begins to use stored body fat to provide this energy. Ketones are the by-
product of fat metabolism. When the ewe/doe is breaking down significant levels of fat
from body reserves, she may reach the point where ketones are being produced faster
than her body can excrete them. When this occurs, they build up to toxic levels and thus
ketosis or pregnancy anaemia takes place. Simply stated, prevention requires calories.
Usual symptoms are: sleepy-looking dull eyes, weak in legs, with sweet acetoniec-
smelling breath, mostly refuse to eat, then become unable to rise, teeth grinding and
breathe rapidly. Recovery becomes doubtful if treatment delayed long. For treatment 4
ounces of propylene glycol or 4 ounces of glycerine diluted with warm water or any
commercial preparation should be given by mouth twice a day; better continue for four
days even if she is recovered, to prevent relapse.
Keep propylene glycol on hand before lambing/kidding for prompt treatment of any
suspected cases. Because once a full-blown case occurs and treatment proves ineffective,
then caesarean section will be required to save the ewe/doe. Loss of lambs/kids will occur
unless she is very close to normal parturition time.
Among important preventive measures are: avoid over fatness early in pregnancy;
encourage daily exercise; provide rising level of nutrition in last 4 to 5 weeks of
pregnancy; supply a constant source of water; give molasses in drinking water; avoid
purchasing ewes/does too close to lambing/kidding; avoid stress and hurried driving of
pregnant animals; no sudden change in concentrate ration; give special attention to
nutrition of old animals with poor teeth, treat the feet of any lame ewe/doe, or she may
not move around well; give at least 300 g concentrate ration per head/day; add molasses
to the feed of all animals if you have even one case of ketosis.
Sometimes confusion arises as to whether it is pregnancy toxaemia or hypocalcemia
(milk fever). Pregnancy toxaemia can be accurately diagnosed by test strips (ketone
sensitive strips). In general, it may be said that if it is before parturition and there is a
possibility that the ewe/doe may not have been fed properly in the last month, it is
probably pregnancy toxaemia, whereas if it is after lambing/kidding and the ewe is
providing milk for twins/triplets and has had adequate feed with molasses, it is more
likely to be milk fever (hypocalcemia).

Q.      What type of fever is milk fever? Give the most salient causes, symptoms and
        suggest an effective treatment for this ailment.
As a matter of fact milk fever is a misnomer. It is not a fever. The temperature of the
ailing animal is either normal or subnormal and the ears become very cold. It is simply a
state of calcium deficiency in the dams in post-lambing/post-kidding situation, but can be
just before.
So much calcium is needed to form the bones and teeth of foetus(es) and so much of it
goes into ewe’s/doe’s milk, that she suddenly may be unable to supply it all, due either to
simple calcium deficiency or deficiency caused by metabolic disturbance. This deficiency

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can cause death in a short time. Abrupt change of feed, a period without feed or a sudden
drastic change in the weather may be the contributory factors to cause this disease.
The onset of disease is sudden and progress very rapid. Initial signs are excitability,
muscle tremors, stilted gait followed by staggering, breathing fast, staring eyes and
dullness. Next the animal lies down and is unable to get up, then slips into coma followed
by death. To be successful, treatment should start before the animal is down.
Milk fever represents a true medical emergency in which life or death of the animal is a
race against time. Once the condition is sufficiently advanced, intravenous injection of
100 cc calcium borogluconate or calcium gluconate is the only remedy that will save the
animal. If in doubt call your local veterinarian for help. If veterinary assistance is not
available and you cannot give intravenous injection, the drug may be injected subcut (75
to 100 cc, divided equally for five injection sites). Subcut gives a slower reaction and it is
a safer procedure at home with less chance of cardiac arrest.
If milk fever occurs before lambing/kidding, it may be confused with pregnancy
toxaemia. If, however, it is a calcium shortage, the animal will show a dramatic
improvement after calcium is given.
Q.       Give a detailed account of abortions in ewes/does.
Injury is often a cause of abortion, such as when a male is running with the pregnant
females and bumps them away from feed, when pregnant ewes/does rush for feed through
narrow doorways or when they are chased by dogs. Moldy feed with mold spores
infecting and destroying the placenta, can cut off nourishment to the foetus leading to
abortion. When an ewe/doe has aborted in the last few weeks of pregnancy or has a still
birth and there is no orphan to graft on her while she has a full udder, she should be
milked out on third day and again in a week. If the newborn is dead due to a difficult
birth, the first milking should be done at once and the colostrum frozen for future use.
The other causes are vibriosis and enzooatic abortion of ewes (EAE). Vibriosis is caused
by bacteria that may live in the gall bladder and intestine of the animal, but invade the
uterus, placenta and foetus during late pregnancy. Although it is reported that ewes/does
that have aborted from this are immune to further abortions, they can be carriers that may
contaminate feed and water, infecting other animals. The rest of the animals can be
vaccinated, followed by three day injections of 8 cc pen-strep, further followed by 500
mg/head/day of chortetracyline (CTC) until the lambing/kidding season is over.
Enzooatic abortin of ewes/does (EAE) is caused by an organism called Chlamydia, which
causes late term abortions, stillbirths and weak lambs. It is not the same species of
Chlamydia that causes respiratory diseases, pink eye etc. in sheep. It spreads to ewes/does
by contact with aborting animals, infected foetal membranes, uterine discharges, or a
dead foetus. Treatment of an EAE outbreak is the feeding of 500 mg CTC per ewe or doe
per day. EAE-Vibrio vaccine used well in time protects the animals from both the
infections. Toxoplasmosis is a protozoan (Coccidium) of cats. Infection of sheep/goats
occurs through eating forage, grains and other feedstuffs where cats have defaecated.
Abortions and stillbirths are common. No effective treatment or vaccine so far. Stray cats
should not be allowed to stay at the farm premises. Strict sanitation, clean
uncontaminated water, protected storage of dry forage; grain and off-the-ground feeding
troughs may help reduce the incidence and spread of disease.
Q.       How would you proceed with retained placenta in ewes/does?

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The retained placenta is also called retained afterbirth. The afterbirth often comes out
normally mostly within first hour after birth, depending somewhat on the activity of the
dam. Do not try to pull it out, as you might cause some injury to herself. You can allow
quite some time⎯ up to six hours after birth. Some animals may eat the afterbirth if you
are not there to take care of it, causing you to think it is yet retained. In case six hours
have passed, home treatment consists of an injection of streptomycin or penicillin to ward
off infection. Forcible removal of the afterbirth to be done only by a person who can
differentiate between the maternal and the foetal cotyledons to separate them. Better get
help from a reproduction man who can administer a medicine that can assist in expelling
it. Usual causes for retained placenta are: exhaustion following difficult birth; nutritional
disorder such as deficiency of selenium, magnesium or calcium, affecting the ability of
uterine muscles to contract properly; premature birth, resulting from poor feeding in the
last four weeks of pregnancy; infection or abortion; and hereditary weakness.
Q.      Do you think mastitis can be prevalent in ewes/does? Write a note on it.
Yes! it does. Mastitis is an infection and inflammation of the udder usually affecting one
side and can be caused by one or a combination of different bacteria. In acute cases the
ewe/doe has a high fever (105 to 106 degrees) and usually goes off feed. The affected
side of her udder is hot, swollen and painful. She will limp, carrying one hind leg as far
from the udder as possible and does not want her youngone to nurse. The milk becomes
watery or thick and flaky. Early detection and prompt treatment can minimize udder loss.
Occasionally mastitis causes gangrene of the udder, which becomes almost blue and is
cold to touch. Large and repeated doses of dihydrostreptomycin may be helpful. This
type of mastitis is critical and the ewe/doe should be marked for culling. In several cases,
mastitis will respond if penicillin treatment (or other recent medication) is given early
enough in dosage of 0.5 to 1 million units. More appropriate would be to get it diagnosed
from a relevant laboratory and know which is the causative organism, then get proper
treatment. If the animal is treated promptly at the first signs of the disease, there is 50%
chance of saving the udder. Subclinical mastitis may go undetected, showing up at the
ewe/doe’s next lambing/kidding when she has milk in only half of her udder and the
other half is hard.
Important causes are: undue exposure to rainy weather, animal lying on dirty, cold and
wet ground, soiled wet bedding; infection from an active mastitic animal to another;
udder injury from high thresholds in barns or from underbrush; udder injury from large
nursing lambs/kids; loss of lamb/kid, while ewe/doe has large milking udder, which not
milked out to dry up; sudden weaning of lambs/kids while ewe/doe still has full milking
capacity; concentrate ration not withdrawn at least five days prior to weaning.
To treat the mastitis cases, suitable antibiotics be injected. Also infected side milked out
completely and milk destroyed and antibiotics inserted into the teat. There are
combination treatment drugs for both acute and mild chronic cases and these are effective
against several of the causative bacteria.


PART- II                                           SHEEP AND GOAT PRODUCTION

Q.      What type of feed needs to be given to small ruminants during early months
        of pregnancy?
When flushing related feeding period is over, just continue with normal feeding. Do not
overfeed ewes/does during the early months of pregnancy. A programme of increased
feeding must be maintained during late gestation to avoid pregnancy disease and other
problems. Overfeeding during early pregnancy can cause animals to gain excessive
weight that may cause difficulty at parturition. Provide adequate feeder space
(approximately 50 to 60 cm per animal) so that all animals will have excess to the feed at
one time; otherwise timid or older ewes/does would face difficulty in getting their feed.
Possibly, they should have free choices of a mineral-salt mix containing selenium. Do not
use a mineral mix intended for buffalo/cattle because it may be fortified with copper at
levels that are toxic to small ruminants.
Q.      What type of feed would you suggest for small ruminants during the last five
        to six weeks of pregnancy?
Ewes/does during the fourth month of pregnancy need about four times as much water as
they did before pregnancy. Since 70% of the growth of foetuses takes place in the last
five to six weeks period, the feed must have adequate calories and nutritional balance to
support that growth. During the last month the foetuses become so large that they
displace much of the space previously occupied by the rumen. Thus the need for more
high protein feed and less roughage because the ewes/does are unable to ingest sufficient
quantities of any low energy feed, to support themselves or the growing foetus(es), which
causes them to utilize excessive quantities of stored fat reserves and can in turn lead to
pregnancy toxaemia. Poor energy supplementation can also result in hypoglycemia (low
blood sugar). A good concentrate mix would be 1/3 whole oats, 1/3 shelled maize and 1/3
wheat (for the selenium content). Barley is a good feed if available. Grains can be
supplemented to 12 to 15% protein content with soybean meal or other source of protein.
Grain and berseem hay should be given on regular basis to avoid risk of pregnancy
disease or enterotoxaemia. Approximately not less than 300 g concentrate mix per
day/animal is a good rule of thumb. For larger ewes/does 400 g and for Teddy does 150 g
should suffice.
Q.      Do the weaned and nursing kids need supplementation?
As long as kids are receiving adequate amounts of milk from their mothers, they do well
provided the range is in good condition. Since here most of the range is poor, therefore,
450 g of supplement for each 3 kids should be provided. Older and larger kids may have
their supplement reduced to 450 g daily for each 5 kids. In addition, kids should have
access to quality hay. These recommendations should be considered to be minimum
Q.      What harmful effects are expected if small ruminants are maintained on
        poor feeding during last five weeks of pregnancy?
Low birth weight of newborns; low fat reserve in newborns, resulting in more deaths
from chilling and exposure; low wool production from lambs as adults; shortened
gestation period, some born slightly premature; increased chances of pregnancy

PART- II                                              SHEEP AND GOAT PRODUCTION

toxaemia; ewes/does slower to come into milk and less milk; production of tender layer
(break) in ewe’s fleece. These consequences are more pronounced in ewes/does carrying
twins and triplets. Excessive feeding, on the other hand, can result in excessive growth of
the lambs/kids and an overweight condition in ewes/does, resulting into serious problems
at parturition time. Also, at this advanced stage of pregnancy, take notice of any droopy
ewes/does and those that are found off feed; they might be developing pregnancy
Animals that are not getting enough feed to meet their energy requirements will use
reserve body fat. When fat cells are converted into energy, waste products called ketones
are created. Pregnancy disease (ketosis) results when ketones are produced faster than
they can be excreted and they rise to toxic levels in the blood stream, which can be easily
detected in urine. A simple test kit for ketones is available at big medical stores, which
can be used to identify the animals deficient in energy. Such animals can be separated to
provide them extra feed and thus to avert the risk of some serious disease problems.
Q.      Are there any advantages of shearing before lambing?
If weather is mild and you are sure that sheep would be handled gently then they can be
sheared about four weeks before lambing. The following are some advantages:
No dirty, germ-laden wool tags for lambs to suck; clean udder makes it easier for lambs
to find teats; fewer germs in contact with the lamb as it emerges at birth; easier to assist at
lambing, if necessary; easier to spot an impending prolapse in time to save ewe; easier to
predict lambing time by ewe’s appearance; ewe less apt to lie on her lamb in pen.
Q.      What do you understand by Crotching (crutching, tagging)?
It simply means trimming wool/hair from the crotch and udder and a few centimeters
forward of the udder. Only about four or five ounces of wool/hair from goats having long
hairy coats are removed. Wool can be washed dried and sold with rest of the fleece
(Figure 15).
Q.      Discuss in detail the requirements for an ideal lambing/kidding pen.
Have a 1½ x 1½ meter lambing/kidding pen (also called claiming pen or jug) ready for
newborn and its mother, with clean bedding, a small feeder and a container of water that
cannot be spilled and is tall enough that a newborn cannot fall into it and drown. As a
general rule you will need approximately one pen for every ten ewes/does in the flock. A
healthy barn must not be very warm but should be clean, dry and free of drafts. Warm or
drafty barns can cause pneumonia. A warm, damp barn is extremely conducive to
bacterial growth. A closed barn without proper ventilation allows build up of ammonia
from faecal decay and urine, which can irritate the lining of lungs and trachea,
predisposing the animal to respiratory diseases.
The pen is primarily for use after the lamb/kid has born. Ewes/does prefer a large area for
actual lambing/kidding, where they can walk around freely before labour. The larger pen
is preferred if you want to have the ewe/doe confined where facilities are better for
helping in a difficult birth. It is said that in goats 90% births are normal. The pen allows
the mother and newborn to become well acquainted, keeps the lamb from getting
separated from its mother (especially in the case of twins or triplets) and protects the
lamb from being trampled by other animals or becoming wet and chilled/exposed to high
temperature. Ordinarily, they are penned together for three days so that they can be easily
observed and treated should complications arise. Some people remove the newborns from
their mothers soon after birth especially in case of milk goats. Do not allow dogs or

PART- II                                             SHEEP AND GOAT PRODUCTION

strangers to approach the pen area because the ewes/does usually become frightened and
nervous and can quickly turn a protective pen into a ‘lamb/kid blender’ with fatal results.
Q.       What care needs to be observed with young females lambing/kidding first
Young ewes/does undergoing parturition for the first time can be nervous or confused
because of lack of experience or not yet fully developed maternal instincts. They should
be penned with their newborns for at least three days until they have become accustomed
to nursing lamb(s)/kid(s). If the newborn cries loud, that is one indication of its being
hungry, but not always. Newborns sometimes will starve to death in a pen without a
sound. Therefore check milk daily for the first three days i.e. she does have milk and the
newborn is getting some. Some ewes/does (especially first timers) come to milk only to
dry after a day or two, so never assume that she will continue to milk after the first day.
If a young ewe/doe does not have sufficient milk for the newborn, supplement it with a
couple of 2-ounce bottle feedings for the first two days, preferably with milk taken from
another ewe/doe or with newborn milk formula. Insufficient milk letdown can sometimes
be resolved by injections of oxytocin. If the mother is well fed its milk should increase. If
still insufficient for the newborn, supplement it with a couple of 4-ounce feedings of
lamb/kid milk-replacer during the first week, then increase to about 8-ounce feedings at
two weeks old. Poorly fed old ewes/does also may have insufficient milk supply.
If the ewe/doe drops newborn outside, it is not difficult to get her to the pen nearby.
Carry the newborn slowly, close to the ground so that she can see it and follow. If the
newborn is raised more than one half meter off the ground, the mother will lose its sight
and run back to where she dropped it. If the newborn (lamb/kid) calls out to her along the
way she will normally follow readily.
Q.       Give below the formula for emergency newborn lamb/kid milk and how
         much to use?
It may be stated here that the milk prepared according to the below given formula is not a
complete substitute for colostrum, however, it can be beneficially fed for the first two
         26 ounces milk (½ canned milk, ½ water) One tablespoon castor oil (or cod
liver oil)

       One beaten egg yolk                   One tablespoon glucose or sugar
Mix well and give about 2 ounces at a time the first day, allowing from two to three hours
between feeding. Use a baby bottle and enlarge the nipple hole to about the size of a
pinhead. Lamb/kid nipple is larger, use that one when the newborn is older. On the
second day, increase the feedings to three ounces at a time or four ounces to a large
lamb/kid, two to three hours apart. On the third day the formula can be made without the
egg yolk and sugar and the oil can be reduced to one teaspoon per 26 ounces of milk.
After third day goat milk or buffalo milk can be used changing the formula milk
gradually. Powdered milk-replacer is not yet available in this country. Do not overfeed
any milk at any time. It is better to underfeed than to have a sick lamb/kid. A bottle
lamb/kid is more subject to infections than the one on mother’s milk, so keep bottles and
nipples clean.
Q.     What are the usual signs that indicate an ewe/doe is ready for

PART- II                                            SHEEP AND GOAT PRODUCTION

As the time approaches for actual lambing/kidding, the ewe/doe gets a sway-backed,
sunken appearance in front of the hip bones and a restless attitude. This is more notice-
able in case of sheared sheep. The udder is enlarged. She will pick out her spot to give
birth to lamb/kid, sometimes pawing the ground before lying down. Sometimes animals
carrying twins or triplets start grunting several days before parturition, as they lie down
or get up. They go off feed. The vulva will relax and often be a little pinker than before
but should not be protruding and red. The ewe/doe will normally have made a bag by
now but some seem to hold until the last minute.
Q.      Your ewes/does are soon approaching parturition. What preparations do you
        need to make in this regard? Preparations should be ideal.
Here is a list of pre-lambing/kidding supplies which should be on hand before the actual
lambings/kiddings start. The list is not in the order of importance or the sequence in
which these may be needed. Some of the things even may not be used still it is logical to
have them on hand because births may take place any time during day or night.

   •       Keep your fingernails clipped close in case you have to assist in delivery.
   •       Old terry towels for drying off newborns. Store these in shopper bags to keep
   •       Some appropriate device for warming and drying newborns in cold weather.
   •       Tincture of iodine (7%) in a small wide-mouth bottle for treating umbilical
   •       Small sharp scissors for trimming umbilical cord.
   •       Hand shears for crutching.
   •       Antiseptic and lubricating ointment for your hands if you have to assist in
   •       A reliable disinfectant (not irritating to skin) for hands and equipment.
   •       Antibiotic uterine boluses in case of retained placenta (afterbirth).
   •       Sterile syringes and disposable needles, 18-gauge.
   •       Combiotic, pen-strep.
   •       Lambing/kidding snares (loops) to pull newborn in difficult delivery.
   •       Heavy cotton or nylon line (rope) for loops, dip well in antiseptic solution
           before using.
   •       Molasses.
   •       Propylene glycol for treatment of pregnancy toxaemia.
   •       Baby bottle with slightly enlarged nipple hole for the newborn.
   •       Appropriate arrangement for light if electricity not there.
   •       Mineral oil in case of constipated newborn.
   •       Frozen colostrum (thaw at room temperature if needed) or use newborn
           lamb/kid milk formula if mother’s milk not available.
   •       Pepto-Bismol for simple diarrhoea due to overfeed.
   •       Bucket of warm water for ewe/doe to drink.
   •       Clean plastic bucket.
   •       Elastrator pliers with rubber rings for castration and docking (if necessarily
   •       Calcium gluconate for treatment of milk fever.

PART- II                                              SHEEP AND GOAT PRODUCTION

     •       Ear tags and applicator.
     •       Alcohol and cotton.
     •       Record book and hanging scale to weigh newborns.
     •       Prolapse retainer and prolapse harness.
     •       Antibiotic preparations for lamb scours.
     •       Rectal thermometer.
     •       5% glucose in saline solution.
     •       Lambing/kidding pens with feed and water.
Colostrum powder or Colostryx (new antibody supplement), if available, otherwise
colostrum of another ewe/doe may be used.
Q.       What needs to be done when actual lambing/kidding starts? Give details of
         precautions and care to be observed in this respect.
When the ewe/doe lies down with nose pointed up and strains and grunts, that indicates
the beginning of actual labour. Let her take her time to deliver the lamb/kid before trying
to assist unless the newborn is showing and she is making a little/progress. It is mostly
recommended that you allow the mother one-half to one hour after the water bag comes
out. But it has to be judged from her appearance as to whether the ewe/doe is becoming
so tired that she needs assistance. You can pull the newborn by timing your pulls with her
straining. Great majority of cases will give birth normally and easily.
When the birth has taken place, wipe the mucus off the newborn’s nose, then place it near
the ewe’s/doe’s nose quickly so that she can identify it as her own and clean it off (now is
the time to graft on an orphan or triplet that needs a foster mother). If the newborn has
difficult breathing or excess mucus in the throat or lungs, grasp it firmly by the hind legs
and swing it aggressively in an arc several times in order that centrifugal force will expel
the mucus. Make sure that you have a good grip on the lamb/kid to avoid throwing it out
of the barn. Also make sure that its head does not strike the ground or any other article
If the navel cord is over 5 cm long, snip it off with scissors and submerge it in 7%
tincture of iodine contained in a wide-mouthed bottle. Press the container against
newborn’s belly, then turn the animal up so that the entire cord and the area surrounding
it are covered. Iodine should be applied soon after birth because many bacteria can enter
via the navel. It penetrates the cord, disinfects it and assists in drying. As an extra
precaution against infection, you can treat the cord with tincture of iodine again in twelve
hours. If the cord is not cut to the proper length, some ewes/does may try to nibble too
much of the navel and can injure the newborn.
If the mother is too exhausted by a difficult labour to dry off the newborn, do it yourself
with clean old terry towels so that it does not get cold from being wet too long. Do not
remove the newborn from her mother’s sight, as this can disrupt the mothering-ownership
pattern. Even if she is not able to lick off, put the newborn near her nose to encourage her
to establish identity with her lamb/kid.
Protect the newborn from severe hot or cold weather. Put the mother and her lamb/kid
under a covered place having through and through ventilation, to protect from scorching
heat. If it is extremely hypothermic, give it one to two minutes bath in fresh water up to
neck. Remove it from the water, dry it and give one to two ounces of colostrum if it can
take it. Put it under a slow-moving ceiling fan, if electricity is available. In cold weather,
guard the newborn against hypothermia. Once dry they can withstand quite low

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temperatures, but due to a large ratio of skin area to body weight, wet lambs/kids can
chill quickly. Such a newborn will appear stiff, unable to rise and its tongue and mouth
will feel cold to touch. The best method of warming a frozen lamb/kid is to submerge it
up to neck in water that is quite warm to touch. Most newborns will revive in just a few
minutes. When the mouth begins to feel warm to the touch and it begins to struggle, dry it
well and place it in a warm environment until totally recovered. Feed it one to two ounces
of warm colostrum as soon as it can take it. In certain countries plastic lamb coats are
used in cold weather, which retain a great deal of body heat. These can be especially
useful for twins and triplets on marginal milk intake.
If a dead lamb/kid is born, you can rub a young orphan lamb/kid all over with the birth
fluid and give it to ewe/doe to mother. In countries where modern husbandry practices
are in vogue, people there plug the teats of sheep/goats with wax after weaning the
lambs/kids. Therefore, strip the teats to unplug them, as the lamb/kid may not suck
strongly enough to remove the little waxy plug. Also the eyelids need to be checked to
see if they appear to be turned in, if so, the eyelashes would irritate the eye (a condition
called entropion). This can cause serious trouble and blindness if it is not corrected.
Q.       Discuss nursing in relation to newborn lambs/kids.
Nursing here refers to getting milk by the newborn from her mother. When the ewe/doe
stands up, she will nudge the newborn toward her udder with her nose, if it is strong
enough to get on its feet. Normally the newborn has the instinct to look for her mother’s
teats. It has also been reported that the newborn is drawn by the smell of the waxy
secretion of the mammary pouch gland in her groin. The udder or teats should be cleaned
with a few swabs of a weak chlorine solution (Clorox) before nursing by the lamb/kid.
This helps prevent intestinal infection in the newborn. Let the lamb/kid nurse by itself,
but do not wait more than one-half to one hour without it nursing as the mother’s first
milk (colostrum) provides not only warmth, energy but also antibodies against the
common disease organisms in its environment.
Occasionally the ewe/doe will not allow its newborn to nurse because she is nervous, has
a tender or sensitive udder, or is rejecting the newborn. If the udder appears sensitive, it
may be tightly inflated with milk. Restrain her and allow the lamb/kid to nurse. You can
then milk out the excess colostrum (save it if possible) to remove the pressure on the
udder. Nervous mothers may require restraint for the first few feedings until they get the
feeling of being a mother. The colostral protection of the newborn could have been
greatly enhanced if the ewe/doe was previously vaccinated (twice) with Covexin-8 to
protect against tetanus, enterotoxaemia and other common clostridial diseases (see
elsewhere under vaccination schedule).
It is often not advisable to wait for the newborn to nurse, rather just roll the mother on her
side and push the teat into lamb’s/kid’s mouth from the side. It usually cooperates,
getting the urge when it feels the warmth in its mouth. After the first feeding there is
some assurance that it will have the strength to look for the next one, but you need to
keep watch from time to time that it does nurse.
Q.       What is colostrum? Why is it important to feed it to the newborn?
Colostrum is the first milk secreted by the small ruminants during 48 to 72 hours after the
termination of pregnancy. It is comparatively denser than normal milk and off white to
yellowish in colour. It has higher nutrient contents such as protein, vitamins and is a mild
laxative to pass the meconium (the foetal excreta, black tarry substance that is passed

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shortly after the newborn nurses). If fed in time it provides warmth, energy and much-
needed antibodies to the newborn against the common disease organisms in its
The antibodies protect the newborn until it starts to manufacture its own. The small
intestine of the lamb/kid possesses very temporary ability to absorb these large molecular
antibodies from the colostrum. This ability to absorb decreases by the hour until it is
almost nonexistent by sixteen to eighteen hours of life of the newborn. The longer a
lamb/kid has to survive without colostrum, the fewer antibodies it has the opportunity to
absorb and the less chance of survival if it develops problems. A weak newborn or one of
light birth weight can be lost because of a delay in nursing. Many deaths that are
attributed to disease are actually due to starvation and the newborns will often die having
not uttered a sound or indicated that they were starving. Always make sure that the
newborns are actually nursing and always recheck the dams that they are continuing to
give milk for the first few days.
Q.       What is to be fed to an ewe/doe after birth of a newborn?
Ewes/does are often thirsty after giving birth. They are offered a bucket of warm (not hot)
water containing half a cup of stock molasses per head. They may be reluctant to drink
cold water which then can result in lowered milk production. Offer good berseem hay but
no concentrate the first day especially to those ewes/does that have one newborn.
However, those animals having twins and triplets to nurse, they may be given some grain
the first day. The milk goats, depending upon their yield, should gradually be given from
400 to 500 g concentrate mixture per head/day. If an ewe/doe has too much milk that her
udder is too full and the teats are enlarged from it, milk out a bit of this colostrum and
freeze it in small quantities in separate containers. Solidly frozen colostrum will keep for
a year or more. Cow/buffalo or goat colostrum can be stored and used in emergencies.
Thaw frozen colostrum at room temperature or in lukewarm water. Never use hot water
or a microwave oven to thaw colostrum because it can denature and destroy the
antibodies, rendering the colostrum worthless.
Q.       What extra care is required for twins/triplets?
Rarely sheep in this country produce twins. However, a good percentage of goats are twin
producers, while the Teddy goat is well known for its triplets. Twins/triplets require
vigilance to assure that all newborns are claimed by their mother and that each is getting
its share of colostrum. If the mother does not have plenty of milk for them, increase
concentrate ration gradually. Continue offering molasses in lukewarm water till the time
she is penned with the newborns. If they are crying a lot, they are probably not getting
enough milk. Find out the hungry ones and assist them by holding them to their mother.
If she is short of milk, give a supplemental bottle but still leave them nursing. Give two-
ounce feedings the first two days and increase to four to five ounces by the third and
fourth day, gradually increasing as they grow. For such lambs/kids some sort of
economical milk-replacer may be used. To identify such newborns, temporary marking
may be done on a visible part of their body so that they can be easily traced for
supplemental feeding.
Q.       What is meant by ear tags? What are the different types of tags?
Ear tags are a device used for identification of animals. Since these are either inserted
into or clinched on the ear hence called ear tags. When there are several lambs/kids, the
best is to identify them by ear tags. This makes it possible to keep records of newborn’s

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parentage, date of birth and growth, and easier to decide what to keep for your flock and
what to sell. With identification tags on ewes/does also, you can be certain which
newborns are hers, even after they are weaned. Some tags are metallic with almost any
combination of numbers and letters and some are plastic in a variety of colours. The
different colours are used to identify sex, whether singles or twins, the month born etc.
Some are self-clinching, while others need a hole punched for the tag. These should be
applied while the newborn is still penned with its mother. The small lamb/kid tag should
only be inserted into the ear approximately half the length of the tag in order to leave
room for growing ear.
Q.      Write a short note on lamb/kid droppings.
One evident advantage of penning newborns with their mothers is that you can keep an
eye on how well they are eating and how well it is coming out the other end. The
condition of droppings is important. First to come out is the foetal meconium, which is
passed a few hours after the birth of a lamb/kid. The droppings are bright yellow. These
remain yellow for at least a weak, then gradually get darker until they are a normal brown
small bunch of pellets sticking together in clumps. Later, these are little brown marbles.
If these become loose and runny, this is called ‘scours’.
Q.      What equipment and medicines you need to have on hand to deal with
        abnormal lambing/kidding positions at the time of parturition?
The following are essentially required:
     •      Several long pieces of strong cord, with a noose on the end of each one.
     •      Antiseptic lubricant or mineral oil.
     •      Bucket of clean soapy water to wash hands and arms and external parts of
     •      Antibiotics to give after assisting.
     •      Old clean terry towels.
     •      Iodine (tincture) in small wide-mouth bottle.
     •      Antibiotic uterine boluses.
     •      Good light in the delivery area.

Q.      At what stage ewe/doe needs help in delivery?
Often the ewe/doe will give birth unassisted but you should be prepared for abnormal
delivery. During lambing/kidding season keep your fingernails cut short. As a general
rule you can allow a half-hour to an hour after the water bag breaks, one and one-half to
two hours of labour, before trying to determine the position of lamb/kid. Give her time to
expel it herself but do not wait until she has stopped trying. The pelvic opening is usually
large enough for the lamb/kid to come out if it is in the normal position, with the front
legs and the head coming first. If it is not in this position, delivery is seldom possible
without some repositioning or assistance. When you are sure that the ewe/doe has tried
enough without success, then wash your hands and arms and external parts of the mother,
lubricate one hand and slip it in gently to try to find out the position of the lamb/kid.
Q.      How the lamb’s/kid’s legs and position are identified in a dystocia case?
First make sure that the legs you feel belong to the same lamb/kid. In twin births, often
one or both of the lambs/kids come backwards and it is easy to get their legs mixed up.
The front legs above the knees have a muscular development. The hind legs have a
prominent tendon. The front knee bends the same way as the pastern, while the hock

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(back knee) joint bends the opposite way from the hind foot. If you have a small
lamb/kid, catch it and feel the difference between its fore and hind legs.
When repositioning a lamb/kid to change an abnormal position, avoid breaking the cord
as the lamb/kid will not attempt to breathe as soon as the cord is broken. While helping,
time your pulling to coordinate with the mother’s contraction. If she is tired and has
stopped trying, she will usually start again when you start pulling.
If the mother is obviously in distress and has laboured over an hour with no progress and
it seems difficult to get the lamb/kid into proper position for delivery, get the help of an
obstetrician. Be sure you learn all you can, while he is working to get the lamb/kid out. If
a lamb/kid is dead in a mother and is so large that it cannot be pulled out, the obstetrician
may have to dismember to remove it out.

Q.       What are the possible lamb/kid positions in which it may be found in the
         uterus of its mother?
There are almost a dozen of such positions; only one of these is normal (Figure 16). The
rest embody varying degrees of abnormality.
    i.       Normal, front feet and head coming out.
    ii.      Large head or shoulders or both large (tight delivery).
    iii.     Front half out, hips stuck.
    iv.      Head and one leg, with one leg turned back.
    v.       Head, with both legs turned back.
    vi.      Both legs, with head turned back.
    vii.     Hind feet coming first.
    viii. Breech.
    ix.      Lamb/kid lying crossways.
    x.       All four legs presented at once.
    xi.      Twins mixed up, presented at once.
    xii.     Twins, one coming backward, one forward.
Q.       Write short notes on three of above mentioned positions i.e. normal birth,
         large head or shoulders and front half out while hips stuck.
Normal Birth: Nose and both front feet are presented. The back of lamb/kid is toward
mother’s back. It should start to come out one-half hour to an hour after the water bag has
passed. No help needed unless the lamb/kid is large or has large head or large shoulders.
Large Head or Large Shoulders: Mother may have difficulty even with the lamb/kid in
normal position, if lamb/kid (l/k) is extra large or the mother has a small pelvic opening.
Large shoulders are stopped by the pelvic opening. Use a gentle outward and downward
pulling. Pull to the left or right, thus shoulders go through at more of an angle and more
easily. Occasionally the head is large or swollen if the mother has been in labour quite a
while. Assist by pushing the skin of the vulva back over the head when the l/k is half-way
out, the mother usually can expel it by herself, unless she is completely exhausted. When
the head is extra large, draw out one leg a little more than the other, while pushing the
mother’s skin back past the top of the l/k’s head. Once the head is through, you can
extend the other leg completely and pullout l/k by both legs and neck. Pulling gently from
side to side assists birth more than only outward and downward movement as in normal

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Use mineral oil or antiseptic lubricant with difficult large l/k. Use loop over l/k’s head so
that the top of the noose is behind the ears and bottom in the l/k’s mouth (Figure 17).
Gentle pulling on the head as well as the legs is better than pulling on legs only.
Front Half of l/k Out, Hips Stuck: This is a difficult position for the mother who may
be exhausted from labour. While pulling gently on l/k, swing it a bit from side to side,
and if it does not work, give it about a quarter turn while pulling. A large l/k in a small
ewe/doe will often need this kind of assistance.
Q.      Write short notes on the following three abnormal positions of lamb/kid (l/k).
        i) Head and one leg coming out, ii) Head, with both legs turned back, iii)
        Both legs, with head turned back.
Head and One Leg Coming Out: To change this to a normal birth position, attach a
snare (loop) cord to the one leg that is coming out and also one onto the head. Then push
them back enough to enable you to bring the retained leg forward, so that you can pull the
l/k out in normal position. The cord on the head is important, for the head may drop out
of the pelvic girdle, making it difficult to get it started again. If the right leg is presented,
the mother should be lying on her right side so that the turned-back leg is uppermost.
This would make it easier either to get that backward leg into the right position or even to
help the mother to l/k even though the leg is not in the normal position.
Head, With Both Legs Turned Back: Attach noose onto head (behind ears and inside
mouth). Try to bring one leg down into position, then the other, without pushing the head
back any further than necessary. Attach cord loop onto each leg as you get it out, then
pull l/k. If your hand cannot pass the head to reach the legs, place the mother with her
hind end elevated, which gives you more space. With loop over l/k’s head, push it back
until you are able to reach past it and bring the front legs forward, one at a time. Put the
mother back in normal reclining position, start head and legs through pelvic arch and pull
gently downward.
Both legs, With Head Turned Back: Head may be turned back to one side along the
l/k’s body or down between its front legs. If front legs are showing, slip a noose of heavy
cord over each front leg then push back the l/k until you can insert lubricated hand and
feel the head position, then bring head forward into its normal position. With noose on
legs you would not lose them. Pulling gently the legs in downward direction, guide the
head so that it will pass through the opening of the pelvic cavity at the same time as the
feet emerge on the outside.
If the head does not come out easily, it is either large in size or the lamb/kid may be
turned on its back (with its back down toward the mother’s stomach). With cords still
attached to legs, you may have to push it back again and give it a half turn, so that its legs
are pointed down in normal position since it will come out easier that way.
Q.      Write short notes on the following three abnormal positions of lamb/kid (l/k).
        i) Hind feet coming out first, ii) Breech, iii) Lamb/kid lying crossways.
Hind Feet Coming Out First: Pull gently as the l/k often gets stuck when half-way out.
Swing the l/k from side to side while pulling until ribs are out, then pull out quickly.
Wipe off its nose at once so that the newborn can breathe. Delay at this point can
suffocate the l/k in the mucus that covers the nose. Sometimes it is easier for the l/k if it is
twisted one-half turn so that its back is toward the mother’s stomach or even rotating a
quarter turn while pulling it out. Finish pulling it out quickly since the umbilical cord is

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pinched once the l/k is half out and if l/k tries to breathe, it will draw in mucus, making
the respiration difficult.
Breech: In this position the l/k is presented backwards with its tail toward the pelvic
opening and the hind legs pointed away from the pelvic opening. Change breech position
by placing the mother with her hind end somewhat elevated so that the l/k inside her can
be pushed forward in the uterus. This will hardly make enough space to reach and slip
your hand in under the l/k’s rear. Take the hind legs one at a time, flex them and bring
each foot around into the birth canal.
When the legs are protruding, you can pull gently until the rear end appears, then grasp
both the legs and the hind quarters if possible and pull downward, not straight out. If the
mother is too exhausted to labour any more, try to determine if there is another l/k still
inside her, if not give her an injection of an appropriate antibiotic or insert an antibiotic
uterine bolus to prevent infection. If still there is no progress, get the help of an
Lamb/Kid Lying Crossways: It sometimes happens that the l/k is lying across the pelvic
opening and only the back will be felt. If you push the lamb/kid a little, you can feel
which direction is it. It can usually be pulled out easier hind feet first, especially if these
are closer to the opening. If you do push it around to deliver in normal position, the head
will have to be pulled around. In case it is also upside down, it will need to be turned a
half-way to come out easily.
Q.      Write short notes on the following three abnormal birth positions of
        lamb/kid (l/k). i) All four legs presented at once, ii) Twins coming out
        together, iii) Twins, one coming out backward.
All Four Legs Presented At Once: If the hind legs are as convenient as the front, choose
the hind legs and you would not have to reposition the head. If you choose the front legs,
head also must be maneuvered into correct birth position along with the legs. Attach
cords to the legs before pushing back to position the head.
Twins Coming Out Together: When you have too many feet in the birth canal, try to
sort them out, tying cords on the two front legs of the same l/k and tracing the legs back
to the body to make sure it is the same l/k, then position the head before pulling. Push the
second l/k back a little to give room for delivery of the first one.
Twins, One Coming Out Backward: With twins coming together, it is often easier to
pull out the one that is reversed. More often both lambs/kids are reversed, so you will pull
the lamb that is closer to the pelvic opening. Sometimes, the head of one twin is
presented between the forelegs of the other twin, a confusing situation but very rare.



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Q.      What management practices do you suggest to take good care of baby
The following practices are usually taken into consideration. Identification, vaccination,
docking (only in sheep, if necessary), castration, proper feeding, proper housing
(protection from severe weather), weaning and deworming.
Q.      Write a note on the use of vaccines in baby lambs/kids.
Even though the ewe/doe had her Naselgen, there is only a limited immunity passed on to
the lamb/kid. To protect against certain forms of pneumonia to which the newborn is
quite susceptible, it should have its own vaccination (intranasal) with Naselgen. The
ewe’s/doe’s primer and booster injections of Covexin-8 will protect her and will pass on
this protection to lambs/kids from birth until the age of about nine or ten weeks. Since
they will still need immunity from tetanus, enterotoxaemia and other clostridial diseases,
therefore, each lamb/kid should get its own injection of Covexin-8 by the age of ten
weeks. Local vaccines that meet the requirements should preferably be used.
Q.      What is meant by docking and why is it done? What appropriate methods
        are available for this purpose?
Docking denotes removal of tail. Although currently it is not in vogue here but it has
advantages especially in long-tailed sheep breeds. It is not practised in goats.
Tails should be docked before the lambs are turned out of the lambing pen. This is much
easier when the lambs are two to three days old and the tail is still small. Long-tailed
sheep can accumulate large amounts of manure on the wool, attracting flies and then
maggots (fly strike) and can serve as a general source of filth, interfering with breeding,
lambing and shearing.
There are many ways to remove tails. Docking can be done by cutting with a knife, a
knife and hammer over a wooden block, a hot electric chisel or clamp (this cauterizes the
wound to lessen bleeding), a Burdizzo emasculator and knife or the elastrator, which
applies a small strong rubber ring to cut off the circulation, causing the tail to drop off in
a couple of weeks. The use of the elastrator is the most favoured method. It minimizes
shock and eliminates bleeding problems. It is also very economical in terms of
accessories and equipment and is the easiest to learn and use. To remove the tail by
elastrator, apply the rubber ring at the third joint, which is about 2.5 to 3.5 cm from the
base of tail. The elastrator rubber rings should be stored in a small wide-mouth bottle
having a disinfectant or Clorox solution (dilute chlorine solution) to keep them sterile.
While using dip the elastrator plier and your fingers in clorox solution to disinfect them.
If the lamb has not been protected with Covexin-8 vaccine then administer 300 to 500
units of tetanus antitoxin to the lamb at docking.
Q.      What does castration mean? Discuss two important methods used for
        castration of male lambs/kids.
Castration simply means to render the male animal ineffective for breeding purposes.
Castration of male lambs/kids can be done as soon as the testicles have descended into
the scrotum. Two important methods used for castration are: (1) by Emasculator
(Burdizzo emasculator), 2) by Elastrator (using a rubber ring).
Emasculator: It is a pincer instrument that gives bloodless castration by crushing the
spermatic cord and arteries when you clamp it onto them like pliers. There is no loss of

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blood, less pain and setback to the lamb’s/kid’s growth and no danger of infection. Check
that testicles have descended into scrotum, then clamp the emasculator onto the neck of
the scrotum where it joins the body, on each testicle cord separately. The testicles will
atrophy in about 30 to 40 days.
Elastrator: When the lamb/kid is about ten days old and that the testicles have
descended into the scrotum, you can pull the scrotum through the stretched rubber ring
over the jaws of the elastrator, which is just a special pliers. Be sure that the testicles are
down. When the elastrator is removed, the ring tightens around the neck of the scrotum
where it attaches to the body, cutting off the blood supply. Thus the testicles wither
within twenty to thirty days. There is no internal haemorrhage or shock and the risk of
infection is slight. If there is some infection problem, put tincture of iodine on the ring
after about a week. In hot weather, a fly repellent spray can be used.
Do not castrate good promising males that you need for breeding or you want to sell as
breeding males. Moreover, in countries such as Australia, New Zealand, USA where they
market for meat at the age of five or six months, castration may not be done. Uncastrated
males will grow faster than castrated males and ewe’s lambs/doe kids. Also their meat
will be leaner. If you intend to keep the male lambs/kids longer than six months (for
slaughter), castration is desirable.
Q.       Discuss in detail an ideal programme (or plan) to feed lambs/kids and
It is our wish that our sheep/goats could have a higher percentage of twins or triplets
produced by them so that they could be made here a subject of discussion for an ideal
feeding plan but keeping in view the situation on the ground it simply seems a wishful
thinking on our part. The ignorance and economic condition of small ruminant producer
in this country have kept them underfed and ever resigned from being considered for an
ideal feeding plan. However, an ewe/doe with a single lamb/kid (l/k) should
approximately have (under our conditions) 200 g/day concentrate ration, while those with
twins should get at least 350 to 400 g/day plus some hay or good grazing. Lambs/kids
from heavy milking mothers can gain up to 70% more during the nursing period than
those from poor milkers. Lambs/kids from good milkers will double their birth weight in
two weeks.
An ewe/doe with twins or triplets cannot consume enough roughage to support herself
and give milk for them to grow, thus she will need sufficient supplemental feed until they
are weaned. In addition to mother’s milk and the grass, which they start nibbling at about
ten days old, the growing lambs/kids need grain and hay in their own feeders (called
creep). Start creep feeding early since it helps to establish their rumen function. Much
earlier than weaning, the lambs/kids must be eating at least 100 g concentrate a day/head
plus leafy hay otherwise they will suffer an acute setback in growth at weaning.
A lamb/kid restricted to milk nursing diet will develop the various compartments of its
stomach at a slower rate than those started on creep and hay at say ten days of age. As a
general rule, these compartments are turned on at about three to six weeks of age. In other
words, an early introduction of the creep feeding is important, especially if you wish to
wean your lambs/kids early, as is necessary in an accelerated lambing/kidding
programme when you intend lambing/kidding more frequently than the customary once a

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It has been recommended that you prepare your own concentrate mixture using the
following: 60% maize, 20% oats, 10% bran, 10% soybean meal with about 1% bone meal
and 1% mineralized salt. This mixture can be coarse ground at first, then fed whole later.
Since ewes milk heavily for only three to six weeks after lambing, it is therefore
advisable that the lambs and may be kids also be well adjusted to getting a good amount
of their nutrition from creep feed and leafy hay.
Q.       What does creep feeding mean?
The creep is an enclosed space where lambs can enter and eat all they want, but ewes
cannot enter because of the size of the doors (20 cm wide, 35 cm high) and openings
(Figure 18). The creep should be sheltered, having good fresh water, well bedded with
clean paddy straw. If the creep is in the barn, it should be well lighted because lambs like
it that way and eat better. They can start using creep at ten to fourteen days of age.
Q.       Write a short note on weaning of lambs/kids.
Weaning denotes separation of lambs/kids from their dams so that they do not any more
get milk from their udders. Simply cessation of feeding milk to lambs/kids at an
appropriate age is also termed as weaning. When the lambs/kids are ten days to two
weeks old, offer them hay free choice since they need it for rumen development. Also
introduce a little grain. Sprinkle some grain in the water to encourage them to eat. It is
important to make them eat some solid food. As weaning time approaches, gradually
substitute water for some milk until they are drinking entirely water. Weaning is
commonly effected at about eight weeks of age or when lambs/kids triple their birth
weight and are chewing their cuds. At weaning time, the lambs will adjust better if the
ewes are removed, leaving the lambs in familiar surroundings. Weaning can be done
gradually by putting the ewes in a different pasture during the day and then returning
them during the night. This has the advantage of keeping them from calling to each other
and disturbing your sleep. Ewes (but not milk goats) should have their grain decreased
and then withdrawn at least five days before weaning so that their milk supply will
dwindle accordingly (to lessen the incidence of mastitis).
Q.       Do you think deworming lambs/kids is necessary? Explain.
Yes! Lambs/kids are much more susceptible to parasite infestation than adults because
sheep/goats like some other species, develop a degree of resistance to worm infestation
over a period of time. Lams/kids should be dewormed at weaning time using a safe
dewormer such as Lavamisole, Ivomec, Panacur or any other more recent drugs. Read
label directions for proper dosage and note withdrawal times for animals going to be
slaughtered in due course of time. Lambs/kids on lush, heavily stocked pastures or
overgrazed pastures may need deworming before weaning and then again when they are
separated from the ewes/does and placed on clean pasture. Parasite populations thrive
where warmth and rainfall (or irrigation) are sufficient to promote maximal vegetation
growth. In some circumstances it may be necessary to deworm lambs/kids every four
Q.       Why do people suggest to use lamb/kid coats for the newborns?
In certain parts of Pakistan it is very cold during winter. Although sheep/goat flocks
migrate in winter to comparatively less cold areas, yet newborns are very susceptible to
chilling because of their large skin area and they are born without the fat covering under
the skin that serves as a natural insulation against cold and chilling. The use of a coat
greatly reduces the heat loss, allowing the lamb/kid to direct the energy it consumes

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toward growth and fat production. A less expensive disposable coat, very similar to the
commercial coats, can be made from white plastic bags. By folding the bag lengthwise,
two coats can be made from a single bag. These are tear resistant but not so strong that
the lamb/kid cannot walk out of it in case it gets caught or snagged. Since these are
completely open at the rear and the bottom, therefore, are very sanitary and do not
confuse or frighten the mother.


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Q.      How does a lamb/kid become orphan?
An orphan lamb/kid may result from the death of the ewe/doe, abandonment, rejection or
loss of milk production before the lamb/kid reached weaning age. An ewe/doe may even
disown one or all her lambs/kids for reasons known only to her. The following are the
most common reasons:
The ewe/doe may have a painful or sensitive udder because of overabundance of milk or
mastitis. She may have delivered one baby in one location, then moved elsewhere and
delivered the other, forgetting about the first. The lamb/kid (l/k) may have wandered off
before the mother has had a chance to lick it and become familiar with it. She may have
sore or chapped teats. Because of a difficult birth, she may be exhausted and not
interested in her newborn. The newborn may be exhausted with heat/chilled and then be
abandoned as dead. First time mother syndrome: If a young ‘first-time’ ewe/doe, she may
be nervous, confused or just frightened of the newborn. Swapping newborns: If two
ewes/does give birth at the same time in close proximity, occasionally one will adopt and
bond to the other’s newborn and the second ewe/doe will reject the first ewe’s/doe’s
Q.      How would you persuade the ewe /doe to accept her newborn?
It requires a lot of patience and ingenuity. If an ewe/doe has a single lamb/kid which she
rejects, you have double trouble, one that of a hungry lamb/kid (l/k) and the other of an
uncomfortable mother. You want to get her to accept her newborn. If she rejects one of a
pair of twins, either you can convince her to accept it or you can attempt to graft it onto
another mother who has lost her l/k or has only a single. Your first consideration is the
urgent need for the l/k to receive colostrum, so either roll the mother on her side and put
the newborn’s nose against her teat to get it to nurse or milk the dam and feed the
newborn with a bottle. Try to provide the l/k with several nursings of the vital colostrum,
either from its own mother or from another.
In most cases, the newborn is hungry and thus very cooperative. Tickling it under its tail
helps stimulate the sucking reflex. First feeding thus gives you a little time to arrange a
forced acceptance by the mother. Do not leave a rejected newborn unattended with the
mother, since she may injure it by stepping on it or butting it. Should the mother reject
the newborn after it starts to nurse, not before, check her udder for sensitivity as well as
check the l/k’s teeth. A little filing can remedy sharp teeth. Treat the teats if they are sore
or lacerated. Keep the dam tied where the newborn can nurse until she accepts it.
Generally it is said that once an ewe/doe rejects a l/k for any reason, it is hard to fool her
into accepting it. However, there are a number of things to try. These are a sort of brain
washing techniques or ‘fool the sense of smell’ methods:

   i)      Use foetal fluids from the mother to which the l/k is to be grafted (either its
           mother or another one) and smear over the newborn. This is considered one of
           the most effective methods of grafting.
   ii)     Rub the newborn with a little molasses water to encourage the mother to lick

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   iii)      Use an ‘adoption coat’ or ‘fostering coat’ made of cotton, which is stretched
             over an accepted l/k for a few hours, it will absorb the smell and can then be
             turned inside-out and stretched over the newborn you wish to graft.
     iv)     In case she is a ‘first-time mother’ or she is not very tame, a tranquilizer will
             sometimes work well to calm her.
     v)      Another method which might sound a bit cruel, is to flick the tips of the
             mother’s ears with a switch until she becomes so rattled that she urinates from
             the mental stress. She may then accept the l/k.
Q.       How would you proceed for ’forcible acceptance’ of lamb/kid (l/k) by her
If polite attempts do not succeed then it is time to get tough. One possibility is to pen or
tie the mother in such a way that she cannot hurt the newborn. You may need to tie her
hind legs together temporarily so that she cannot keep moving and thus prevent the l/k
from nursing. You may need to help the l/k by holding the mother and pushing the
newborn to the right place. Make sure the ewe/doe has room to lie down and has plenty
of feed. In any such attempt, be sure she gets water often with molasses mixed in it, for it
may be difficult to leave water in front of her. It may take one to five days before she
surrenders to accept the l/k.
Care and judgement has to be exercised in assessing the size of l/k that you are
attempting to graft. An orphan l/k that is one or two weeks of age may be so aggressive at
nursing that it will frighten the ewe/doe. Also, if there is a significant difference in age
and size between two lambs/kids placed on an ewe/doe, the weaker l/k may not be able to
compete with the larger one and will suffer restricted growth or at times may be starved
The most typical situation is the birth of twins and the rejection of just one of them.
Spraying the rear end of both lambs/kids with a confusing scent is the easiest thing to try
and most often it works. If the mother starts showing hostility toward one of her twins,
then do not wait until she starts butting it, rather take positive action right away. The most
reliable and successful way is to tie her up and adopt the rest of the procedure as stated
above. In the meantime, if another ewe/doe goes into labour and delivers one newborn,
you might choose to graft the rejected l/k to it.
Q.       How would you graft an orphan lamb/kid on a different ewe/doe?
Have a bucket of warm water ready and also an empty bucket. Have the rejected (orphan)
l/k nearby and watch the lambing/kidding. If fortunately you are able to catch the water
bag, put its contents into the empty bucket. As the delivery is completed, dip the waiting
orphan into the water bag liquid, or if you did not catch the water bag, dip the orphan into
the warm water up to its head, then rub the orphan with the newborn, especially the tops
of the head and the rear ends. Present them both to the ewe’s/doe’s nose and usually she
will lick them and claim them both. Do not neglect the newborn when you are working
with the orphan. Now, if the mother delivers twins, you may have to take the orphan
(reject) back. Dry it off and keep trying to get its mother to take it (or bottle feed it
yourself). While grafting an orphan on an ewe/doe, be sure that the orphan l/k is less than
a week old otherwise the new l/k will not get its share of milk. Therefore, both of them
will have to be supervised carefully.
Q.       How would you give an orphan lamb/kid to an ewe/doe who has lost her

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When you find an ewe/doe who has delivered a dead l/k and you have a young orphan
who needs mother, dip the l/k in warm water containing a bit of salt and some molasses.
Dip your hand in the same warm water and wet its head. By the time she licks off the salt
and molasses, she usually has adopted the l/k. When it is a l/k that is several days old and
does not need the colostrum as much as a newborn, this gives you an opportunity to milk
out and freeze some of this valuable fluid.
Q.       Why is the method of using ‘dead lamb/kid skin’ for fastening like a coat
         over the orphan not desirable for grafting an orphan onto an ewe/doe?
Skinning a dead lamb/kid is not simple unless you are adept at it. The process is messy
and unsanitary since you may not know why the l/k is dead and could result in
transferring germs and disease. It is therefore, not advisable. Instead another less messy
method may be adopted. Rub a damp towel over the dead l/k, then rub the towel on the
orphan. Before doing this, wash the orphan with warm water, giving special attention to
washing the rear end, which is the first place, the ewe/doe checks in determining whether
the l/k is her own.
Q.       What is meant by a bottle lamb/kid?
When the mother of a l/k has died or has no milk or has been incapacitated by pregnancy
disease or calcium deficiency (at least temporarily) or completely refuses to accept her
baby, such l/k then becomes a bottle l/k. Such lambs/kids are considered a real headache
for the flock owner/supervisor.
Q.       What care needs to be given to a bottle lamb/kid?
The first need of a bottle lamb/kid is to have its nose mucus wiped off to enable it to
breathe. Even if the ewe/doe is weakened by a hard labour and/or has no milk, she should
be allowed to clean the l/k as much as she will; if unable to nurse, she will still claim it
and even as a bottle baby it can stay with her. If the mother does not lick off its nose, you
wipe it off, then dry it and put iodine on its navel at once. Now it needs some real
colostrum, either from its mother who may have rejected it or is too weak to stand up
(roll her over and help the l/k) or from another mother who has just given birth, or
defrosted from the freezer. Buffalo or cow colostrum are the next best substitutes for
ewe/doe colostrum. In certain countries there is commercial preparation of colostrum
powder called Colostryx. It is milk whey antibody product for lambs/kids and transfers
certain amount of immunity to the newborn when mixed with diluted canned milk or cow
milk for the first day.
For orphan l/k, the best thing is to give one or two ounces of another ewe’s/doe’s
colostrum for the specific antibodies. Then mix one ounce colostrum powder (if none of
the colostrum available) with one cup warm water for the first twelve to eighteen hours of
feeding. After that one ounce colostrum powder with two cups of warm water for the next
day. Then one ounce colostrum powder can be mixed with 950 ml of canned milk diluted
with ½ water. After that just use lamb/kid milk replacer. For the first 48 hours you can
feed the newborn every three hours with no more than ½ cup per feeding. On the third
day you can add child’s vitamin drops. It is possible, but no doubt, difficult to raise a
colostrum-deprived l/k. The l/k is too young to receive Covexin-8, therefore, you need to
administer antiserum in order to protect it temporarily against enterotoxaemia and
Q.       Can buffalo or cow colostrum be used beneficially to feed a lamb/kid as a
         substitute for its mother’s colostrum?

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Yes! It may be substituted. A pregnant buffalo or cow can be vaccinated with sheep/goat
vaccine Covexin-8 or a locally available vaccine, several times and the first two milkings
of colostrum will be high in antitoxins and give lambs/kids good protection (it would
provide an enormous quantity of colostrum for freezing). The lambs/kids can still be
vaccinated at six to nine weeks, which will then protect them up to twenty-four weeks.
The best time to inject buffalo or cow would be 5 ml Covexin-8 six weeks prior to
calving, with a booster dose of 5 ml two weeks before calving.
Q.      What is a milk-replacer and what are its main contents?
Milk-replacer is a high protein high energy feed. A lamb milk-replacer contains 30% fat,
24% protein on a dry matter basis and no more than 25% lactose. High lactose levels can
cause diarrhoea and bloat. It is suggested that when used during the first week the
replacer should at least be diluted up to 20% dry matter. Since ewe milk contains higher
percentage of fat, therefore, more fat has been provided in a lamb milk-replacer. Fat
percentage in a kid milk-replacer may range from 20 to 25%. Milk-replacers are fully
fortified with vitamins A, D and E and necessary minerals. In a number of countries,
milk-replacers are commercially prepared and marketed for calves, lambs, kids etc.
However, livestock producers, feed industry as well as the provincial Depts. of Livestock
& Dairy Development in this country have not shown any interest so far in this respect.
Q.      How would you take care of a bloated bottle lamb/kid?
Although this is an infrequent situation yet it can happen if the l/k is overfed or if it
drinks too fast (nipple hole too large). Immediately cut back on the amount of milk being
given and give one small feeding of two ounces of milk containing one tablespoon (for
l/k under one month) or two tablespoons (for l/k over one month) of human antacid
medicine with simethicone or mucaine. If it does not take in the bottle, give with spoon.
It is important to control the volume of milk fed per feeding to bottle lambs/kids. A
yellow semi-pasty diarrhoea is the first sign of overfeeding. If this occurs, substitute plain
water or oral electrolyte solution (such as ORS or Nimkol) for one feeding because the
l/k needs fluid. Reduce the volume of milk until the condition clears. If the droppings
become more loose, treat for diarrhoea. As with other animals, the water needs increase
with age in case of orphan or bottle lambs/kids, especially when they start eating grain
from the creep feeder. Therefore, dilute their regular feeding with more water or
substitute an occasional feeding with plain water.
Q.      Suggest a feeding plan for an orphan lamb/kid

 Age          Amount
 1-2 days     2-3 ounces, six times a day approximately (colostrum)
 3-4 days     3-5 ounces, six times a day (gradually changing over to milk-
 5-14 days    4-6 ounces, four times a day and start with leafy hay and crushed
 15-21        6-8 ounces, four times a day, along with concentrate mixture and
 days         leafy hay
 22-35        Slowly change to ½ litre, given three times a day. When lamb/kid
 days         is three months old, may feed whole grain and alfalfa or good
              gazing containing 25% grain, but the ration be changed very

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Q.      What measures may be adopted to aid a weak lamb/kid at birth?
A lamb/kid might have been weakened by a protracted or difficult birth. In this case it
may be suffering from anoxia (lack of oxygen) or have fluid in its lungs. The first few
minutes are critical. If it gurgles with the first breaths or has difficult breathing, dry off
the nose, grasp the newborn firmly by the rear legs, swing it upward vertically in a
gentlearc, catching it momentarily on the return end of the upswing with the free hand so
that the newborn is stopped abruptly with the head up in a vertical position. This helps in
two ways: i) centrifugal force aids the movement of the fluid from the lungs and ii) the
weight of the viscera presses on the diaphragm, causing a forced expiration. When you
catch it vertically on the upswing, the weight of the viscera falls in the opposite direction,
causing a forced inspiration. Normally two or three ‘swings’ will suffice. Be sure that you
have a firm grasp on the newborn (since it will be very slick) and that there are no
obstructions in the path of your swing.
Q.      If the heart is beating, but the newborn is still not breathing, what to do?
In such a situation, artificial respiration becomes mandatory. Grasp the lamb/kid by the
nose so that your thumb and fingers are slightly above the surface of the nostrils. Inflate
the lungs very gently (newborn’s lungs small and may be ruptured) by blowing into the
nostrils until you see the chest expand. Release the pressure and gently press on the chest
to express the air. Repeat procedure until it begins to breathe. If your attempts are still
unsuccessful, sometimes a cold water shock treatment will work. Put the newborn in cold
water in a drinking trough keeping its head out. The shock may cause the lamb/kid to
gasp and to breathe. Sometimes a finger inserted gently in the throat will stimulate the
coughing reflex and thus breathing may start. Then make sure the newborn is warmed
and help it to nurse.
Q.      How would you warm a newborn lamb/kid if it gets too cold due to
If a newborn is so cold from exposure that its mouth and tongue feel cold or cool to the
touch, then apply external heat instead of warming it with a heat lamp, because the
newborn has lost its ability to maintain and control its body temperature. The quickest
method to warm a chilled newborn is to immerse it in hot water, comfortable to touch,
keeping its head out, then gradually heated to about 110 to 115°F (43-46°C) over a period
of 5 to 10 minutes. Move its legs around in the water to increase circulation. Keep it in
warm water until its body temperature is near 102°F now the mouth and tongue feel
warm. Rub the newborn dry, give warm milk if it will suck and wrap it in a blanket until
it begins to regain its strength. Heated water has advantages over a heat lamp, as it is
faster, easier to control the temperature and does not tend to dehydrate the newborn. Be
sure that water is heated gradually otherwise death due to shock may take place. If,
however, the temperature of newborn is 102 degrees, there is no need of excessive
heating and unnecessary use of heat lamp, because too much of a temperature differential
will predispose it to pneumonia. Soaking the newborn in water removes its natural odour,
involving the risk of rejection by its dam.

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An alternative to warm water is hot air. The newborn can be put in a small box and
through a small opening in the box, hot air may be provided from the nozzle of a hair
dryer. The head of the animal is to be kept out of box for fresh air. It should be warm
enough but not too hot. The newborn needs to be turned and rubbed and its legs exercised
occasionally. When its body temperature is 100°F, see if it will suck or else use a
stomach tube. Maintain heat until its temperature is normal. A severely chilled newborn
may need four hours of heat to return to normal temperature.
When there is no electricity nor a hair dryer, you may use a hot water bottle (not hot
enough to burn). Put the animal in a small box and apply the heat first to belly where it is
the most needed. For extremely chilled newborns this would not be sufficient.
Q.       How to proceed with feeding of a weak lamb/kid? Discuss.
A weak newborn that has not been able to stand up to try to nurse within half an hour will
need help. Hold it up to the dam if she will stand still, or put the dam down and hold the
newborn to nurse. The same procedure may be used for a stronger newborn if it has not
located the right place and begun to nurse within one hour after birth. For a very weak
newborn, you may have to give the first feeding from a baby bottle with the nipple
enlarged to about the size of a pin head. Use two ounces of the dam’s colostrum, warm,
to give it strength. Do not force the newborn, if it has no sucking impulse otherwise the
colostrum will go into its lungs and cause death. Try the dextrose injection, using 50 ml
of a 5% dextrose solution in saline, warmed to body temperature, and inject in divided
doses of 5 or 10 ml per injection site subcutaneously (neck area or behind the armpits).
Then wait for half an hour to see if this gives it energy and the desire to suck. If not, then
try the stomach tube feeding method.
Q.       Discus the importance of colostrum feeding to newborn lambs/kids.
In case the newborn has not yet regained its sucking instinct, colostrum may be fed
through stomach tube as the newborn is in dire need of energy. If you do not have
colostrum then cow’s milk, diluted canned milk, milk replacer, electrolyte solution (or
Gatorade) or clean water with a small amount of corn syrup will suffice. Feed about 1
ounce. Experienced farmers state that it is not necessary that the very first feeding be
colostrum (to avoid confusion it is emphasized here that this would be applicable to those
cases which yet lack sucking instinct or where colostrum is not available immediately),
but the newborn must receive colostrum in subsequent feedings during the first few hours
of life. The ability of the newborn to absorb antibodies in the colostrum is a straight-line
decrease from time of birth to approximately 16 hours of life. The gut of the newborn
does not break down the proteins in colostrum, rather absorbs them unchanged; thus the
antibodies remain intact and are immediately usable. After about 16 hours, the newborn
loses its ability to absorb the life-protecting antibodies, no matter how much colostrum
you feed. It is thus urgent that the newborn gets its colostrum feedings soon. Some
reports suggest (need further investigation) that newborn lambs are completely dependent
on colostrum to protect them against certain diseases for they get no protection from
antibodies transferred to them while they are still in uterus.
Q.       Name the possible substitutes for colostrum when the colostrum of the dam is
         not available to its newborn lamb/kid.
The following can be used in place of colostrum but these may not be called as 100%
substitute for colostrum. Colostrum from another newly lambed ewe, or from a goat
having a newborn, cow colostrum, frozen colostrum from these species, commercial

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colostrum powder “Colostryx” milk whey antibody product for lambs. In addition, there
is an Emergency Colostrum Formula, having the following constituents and can be fed
for the first two days after birth:
                 26 ounces milk (½ canned milk, ½ water)
                 1 tablespoon cod liver oil or castor oil
                 1 tablespoon glucose or sugar
                 1 beaten egg yolk
Q.       What care is required in injecting dextrose to a very weak newborn
Dextrose injections can be given if the newborn cannot suck and you do not have or you
cannot comfortably use the stomach tube feeding. Dextrose injection is meant to provide
quick energy to the very weak newborn. You can purchase 50 ml of 5% dextrose solution
in saline from an animal health supplier. Warmed to body temperature, this solution is
injected subcut in divided doses of 5 to 10 ml per injection site. Any area of loose skin on
the neck or behind the armpit is a proper injection site. Never inject direct into the armpit.
Do not worry about the small bumps on the injection sites. They will resolve rapidly. Use
a sterile disposable 18-or 20-gauge needle. Sterilize the top of the vial with alcohol, wipe
dry, and insert a disposable sterile needle into the stopper to fill the syringe. Leave this
needle in the vial and use a separate needle to make the injections, to avoid contaminating
the glucose solution. Even the slightest contamination will grow very rapidly in glucose,
spoiling the vial for further use. Always refrigerate the glucose solution after opening and
do not use it if it becomes cloudy. Calcium solutions containing dextrose or 50% dextrose
should only be used intravenously, because these are very irritating to tissue.
Q.       Discuss the stomach tube emergency feeding method and the precautions
         required in this connection.
Stomach tube feeding is resorted to in case of a severely weak lamb/kid with no sucking
impulse. Sheep/goat supply companies have devised a ‘Lamb/kid Reviver’ for this
purpose. When it is not available, get a male catheter tube from a drugstore and use it
with a 60-cc hypodermic syringe for a direct feeding into the newborn’s stomach. The
tube should be about 40 cm long. Before inserting to inject milk, disconnect the tube
from the milk-filled syringe to determine that the tube is actually in the stomach and not
in the lungs. An injection into the lungs can kill the newborn. The tube should be kept in
warm sterile solution, because wet tube slips in more easily. If you put your thumb and
finger along the outside of the neck and pass the tube with other hand, you can actually
feel the tube as it goes down. A tube into the lungs will usually elicit a cough. To further
confirm, hold a wet finger at the protruding end, if the finger feels cool from moving air,
the tube is in the lungs and not in the stomach, so remove and try again. It is easier for
two people to operate the stomach tube, but it is possible with one person. Hold the
newborn’s body (on a table) with your left forearm, making a straight line between the
newborn’s head, neck and back. Open the mouth of the animal with fingers of left hand to
insert the tube, which should be sterile, warm and wet. Insert the tube slowly over the
tongue, back into its throat, giving the animal time to swallow. Then push the tube down
its neck and into the stomach. The average insertion distance is 25 to 28 cm. Do not insert
it too far, but insertion should be far enough.
When you have confirmed the correct position of tube, insert the end of the catheter tube
into the syringe filled with 2 ounces of warm colostrum (or warmed canned milk,

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undiluted, for this feeding only) and slowly squeeze the milk into the newborn’s stomach.
Withdraw the tube quickly, so that it will not drip into the lungs on the way out. Use this
procedure cautiously and only when you feel that without it the newborn would surely
Q.      Give a list of diseases that commonly occur in lambs/kids.
Most of the diseases given in the list below inflict lambs as well as kids with the
exception of one or two. Pneumonia, scours in nursing newborns, navel ill, constipation,
entropion (inverted eyelids), urinary calculi (stones, water belly), white muscle disease
(stiff lamb), enterotoxaemia (overeating disease), parasites, tetanus (lockjaw),
coccidiosis, acidosis (grain engorgement, acute indigestion, founder), polio
Q.      Describe the causes, prevention and treatment of pneumonia in lambs/kids.
Pneumonia is probably responsible for more lamb deaths than any other disease. On
average, it is responsible for as much as 31 to 54% death loss in lamb/kid population. It is
caused by drafts in cold damp housing, floor drafts in lambing/kidding pens with solid
bottoms such as cement concrete, exposure to infectious agents, overheating of lambing
pens and then exposure to cold. Mechanical pneumonia will be dealt with separately.
It goes without saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Proper
management is the key to success in the prevention of pneumonia as well as so many
other ills. Adequate ventilation in the lambing/kidding barn is necessary. Windows in
barns with grills and covered with burlap bags or any material to stop draft, will check a
build up of ammonia-laden stagnant air. Concrete floors should have a thick layer of
paddy straw or sugar cane tops bedding to prevent floor drafts. If pneumonia is a
recurring problem in your young lambs/kids, make sure that selenium and vitamin E
levels in your ewes/does are normal, since lower levels result in immunosuppression and
increased susceptibility to infection. Another successful treatment is the use of an
intranasal vaccine, Nasalgen-IP or any other effective vaccine. Parainfluenza III (PI-3) is
a common viral disease of cattle but has been documented as a major cause of respiratory
disease in sheep. Under conditions of stress coupled with a bacterial exposure, it can
cause a high incidence of fatal pneumonia both in lambs and adult.
The Nasalgen-IP vaccine is simply to be sprayed into the nostril (1ml in each nostril of
ewe and ram; lambs given the same amount in the same way during the first 10 to 18
hours of life. It functions on the same immunological parameters as the oral polio vaccine
in humans. Lambs/kids may be given an injection of pen-strep immediately during first 4
to 5 hours of birth. This will also help to protect from pneumonia.
Q.      What do you know about mechanical pneumonia in newborns? Discuss.
Mechanical or ‘foreign body’ pneumonia results when fluids or other foreign matter
enters the lungs, such as excessive birth fluids or milk in the lungs of newborns. An
abnormal birth position or any interruption of the umbilical blood supply to the yet
unborn lamb/kid results in an oxygen deficit, which in turn stimulates the respiratory
reflex, causing the animal to attempt to breathe before birth is complete. This causes
inhalation of excessive volume of foetal fluids, thus resulting in mechanical pneumonia.
Also, forced bottle-feeding of a newborn with impaired sucking reflex, improper stomach
tubing or oral medication can allow fluid to enter the lungs. If it is a mild attack, it would
subside within a few days. Some suitable antibiotic such as oxytetracycline may be

PART- II                                              SHEEP AND GOAT PRODUCTION

administered to avoid complications. When it is a severe infliction, often the result is not
very hopeful.
Q.      Give a detailed account of scours in nursing kids.
Scours denotes diarrhoea in newborn kids/lambs. It has many causes. The yellow kind of
scours is the least serious and is caused by overfeeding of milk, either from bottle or
because a strong lamb/kid is sucking a mother who has an excess of milk. If bottle
feeding, then substitute a feeding with water or oral electrolyte solution (1 litre water, 2
ounces dextrose, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon sodium bicarbonate) or Nimcol. In case
milk-replacer powder is being used, reduce its amount until the condition resolves. If the
lamb/kid is nursing, milk out the doe to reduce the amount of milk available and give the
lamb/kid a feeding of water or Nimkol to satisfy its appetite. Two teaspoons of Pepto-
Bismol or Kaopectate or one tablet of entox in powdered form mixed with water will help
firm up the droppings and form a protective coating in the intestine; second dose may be
given after four hours.
If the scours continue for more than a day, infection may be suspected and the lamb/kid
will need preventive treatment for dehydration and infection. Oral electrolyte solution
should be given to replace the electrolyte loss and tetracycline as an antibacterial therapy.
White scours are very serious and usually indicate E. coli infection, which can result in
rapid dehydration, toxaemia and death if not treated immediately. In most cases it is
caused by filth, poor sanitation; contaminated bottle, nipple, milk, feeders or kidding pen
(in case of sheep, a lamb sucking on a dirty wool tag from an uncrotched ewe, plus all
causes stated above).
If white scours is a recurring problem in your baby kids, keep yourself in touch with a
competent veterinarian. Some scour medications contain vitamins in addition to
With bottle kids, discontinue milk feeding at once. For one day, feed either limewater (¾
teaspoon slaked lime to 2 litres water: add the lime to water, shake it several times during
the day and then let it stand until it is clear. Drain off the clear liquid as limewater) or a
similar oral electrolyte solution @ 2 ounces after each three hours to prevent dehydration.
A colostrum deprived kid is very susceptible to bacterial scours.
Give electrolyte solution only for one day or until the diarrhoea ceases, then return to
milk feeding but give smaller quantities than before. To prevent bacterial scours, some
producers give each kid/lamb 1cc of benzathine penicillin at birth, subcut. While
medicines are definitely useful in scours, good management and sanitation will prevent
many problems.
Q.      What is meant by navel ill? Write down its causes, symptoms and treatment.
Navel ill is a term used to describe infections from various organisms that gain entrance
to newborn lamb/kid’s body through the umbilical cord shortly after birth. The illness
becomes serious within a few days. By treating the umbilical site with strong tincture of
iodine soon after birth and seeing that the newborn nurses its mother for colostrum within
the first hour, you can minimize the danger of navel ill. A second application of tincture
of iodine about 12 hours later is a good practice. Clean bedding in the lamb/kid pen will
lessen the chance of infection. Acute form of navel ill causes a rise in temperature,
newborn declines to suck and often a thickening (abscess type) can be felt around the
navel. Death may follow soon.

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Tetanus is one of the serious diseases caused by a bacillus that can enter through the cord.
Some protection against tetanus is obtained by vaccinating the ewes/does in the last two
months of pregnancy (two separate injections) with Covexin-8, which protects the mother
and passes protection to the newborn in the colostrum. This vaccine is for tetanus,
enterotoxaemia and all clostridial diseases that may strike lambs/kids. A similar vaccine
is also available from VRI, Lahore. Since navel ill can be caused by various bacteria, help
from a competent veterinarian may be sought.
Q.       Write a note on constipation in lambs/kids.
A constipated newborn looks uncomfortable, stands in a humped up manner, no signs of
droppings or only a few hard ones. Sometimes the newborn will grind its teeth and if
constipation continues, will go into convulsions and may die unless medicated.
Administer two tablespoons of mineral oil or one tablespoon castor oil for two weeks old
and ¼ to ½ cup mineral oil (carefully) for two months old lamb/kid. Repeat the dose if
‘Pinning’ is fairly common in under a week old newborns. The faeces collect and dry into
a mass under the tail, produce a gluing effect there, resulting into plugging up the
lamb/kid. If not noticed and corrected, the newborn will die. Clean the dried faeces with a
damp rag, trimming off some of the wool/hair if necessary. Disinfect the area if it is
irritated and oil it lightly to prevent further sticking. Check the animal frequently.
Occasionally a lamb/kid can suffer from a rare birth defect in which it is born without
anal opening. Such cases will often go undetected for the first few days until the
distended abdomen and discomfort are observed. Quick detection and surgery is the only
treatment. The animal can be saved if the birth defect is not too severe.
Q.       Are the white muscle disease and stiff lamb two different diseases?
No! These are not different diseases, rather two names for the same disease. White
muscle disease in lambs is caused by insufficient selenium in the soil and thus in the ewe
feed, combined with a deficiency of vitamin E. Fodder/hay from deficient (in selenium)
areas should not be fed to ewes after third month of pregnancy or during lactation unless
supplemented by whole-grain wheat (where wheat is abundant) and mineralized salt with
selenium (Se) in it. Treatment should also include vitamin E.An injectable preparation
containing both Se and vitamin E is given to the ewe 2 to 4 weeks before lambing.
Animals that develop stiff lamb disease have difficulty getting up or walking and are
gradually affected by muscle paralysis. Once muscle changes occur, these cannot be
reversed. Lambs born with stiff neck will respond to SE treatment.
Q.       Write a brief note on acidosis in lambs/kids.
Acidosis is sometimes also referred to as ‘acute indigestion’, ‘founder’ or ‘grain
engorgement’, is a diseased condition which occurs very rarely under our conditions
since sheep/goat producers here, probably cannot afford high plane grain feeding to their
lambs/kids. However, the problem may arise in lambs/kids being raised as pets by certain
people. The children in the family out of love for their pets might overfeed them with
grains, leading to engorged lambs/kids. Thus excessive lactic acid is produced by the
fermentation of high energy diet. As a result, the acidity in rumen increases and severe
digestive upset occurs, which may prove fatal. Important symptoms include inappetance,
depression, lameness, coma and death. At least 70% roughage is a safe ratio for
lambs/kids under our conditions. Any shift to a higher grain percentage should be very
gradual. Here, acidosis is commonly encountered in adult male sheep/goats purchased for

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slaughter a few days to a few weeks before Eid-ul-Azha. People are excited to see their
animals fattened well before slaughter on Eid. Thus sometimes they resort to overfeeding
of grain to which the animals are not accustomed. This leads to a gross imbalance of
grain-to-roughage ratio and a severe digestive upset. Several such cases meet a fatal end
every year.
Q.      What conditions are commonly responsible for tetanus in lambs/kids?
Navel cord, castration and tail docking (if really necessary) can put lambs/kids in danger
of tetanus. It is advisable to booster the ewes/does with Covexin-8 during the last months
of pregnancy (two separate injections) as is the practice in several western countries. This
vaccine provides protection against all clostridial diseases. However, if the dams were not
boostered with Covexin-8, then you should administer 300-500 units of tetanus antitoxin
at the time of castration. The antitoxin will protect the lambs/kids for about two weeks,
while the wounds are healing. An application of tincture of iodine takes good care of
navel cord. Another application of iodine after 12 hours is further useful.
Q.      What is the other name of overeating disease? Give the causes and symptoms
        of this disease along with preventive measures.
Overeating disease is also named as enterotoxaemia. It is caused by Clostridium
perfringens and can strike the biggest and best lambs/kids. Fairly young lambs/kids who
are getting too much milk from their heavy milk dams also fall prey to this disease. Too
heavy grain feeding or an abrupt change in feed may also be the causes of this disease.
Older lambs/kids carrying a heavy load of tapeworms are especially vulnerable. Wet
bedding, chilling or high summer temperatures can cause a variable feed intake that is
conducive to disease outbreak.
Diarrhoea, convulsions or sudden death are the characteristic symptoms. Since prevention
is the very best plan, therefore, vaccinate the ewe/doe with Covexin-8, a 5 ml priming
dose between breeding and 6 to 8 weeks prior to lambing/kidding and the booster 2 ml
dose 2 weeks before parturition. In following years, the dam will need only booster dose.
The immunity provided by the dam will protect the newborns till about 10 weeks of age,
provided they got the normal amount of colostrum. After 10 weeks age, the lambs/kids
should be vaccinated with a priming 5 ml dose and 2 ml booster dose of Covexin-8 about
a month later. Vaccines available from VRI, Lahore, can partially serve the same
purpose. Some people use chloro-tetracycline to control enterotoxaeimia, but
immunization (prevention) seems a more healthier and sure way.
Q.      Do you think that lambs/kids may have the problem of urinary calculi?
Yes! The problem is there. It is a problem of growing ram lambs/buck kids that are over
one month old, castrated or not. The salts they excrete in the urine can form stones, which
may lodge in the kidney, bladder or urethra. Of the following, one or more causes can
result in this problem:
    •        Low water intake due to unpalatable water or too cold weather. Keep both salt
             and fresh water in easy access.
    •        Ration high in phosphorus and potassium such as wheat bran, maize fodder,
             and low in vitamin A. Add ground limestone or dicalcium phosphate 1 to 2%
             of the ration to make Ca: P approximately 2:1.
    •        Growing crops under heavy fertilizer, with high nitrate content.
    •        Hard water may be partly the cause. Add ammonium chloride to feed about
             1/5 ounce per day/head, using technical grade.

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   •        Animals fed pellets only have more of this problem (so far not fed here).
   •        Hormonal changes occur when ram lambs/buck kids are castrated at less than
            4 weeks age. The absence of testosterone after castration keeps the urethra
            from growing to its maximum diameter. If it is a persistent problem, may
            castrate your animals after 6 weeks.
    •       Sorghum-based rations as well as cottonseed meal add to the risk of calculi.
            Maize oil cake and soybean meal are less apt to cause problems. Animals
            having urinary calculi strain to urinate, dribble urine (sometimes bloody),
            stand with back arched, switch tail, and may kick at stomach. The blockage of
            the urinary tract causes pain, colic and eventually the rupture of the urinary
            tract into the body cavity, hence the name ‘water belly’ and death.
If an animal appears to be straining and unable to urinate, put him on a dry floor for an
hour or so, unless there is a blockage, he will urinate in that time. Turn the animal up and
feel for a small stone that can be gently pushed down the urinary passage. Sometimes
manipulation with a small catheter tube may dislodge the stone. It is reported that in 90%
cases, the blockage is at the outer end of urinary passage. If the stone can be felt right at
the end and cannot be dislodged with gentle pressure, help of a competent veterinarian
may be sought, who may administer a drug having a dilating action or a smooth muscle
relaxer to permit the calculi to pass or may even remove the stone surgically.
Q.      What type of disease is coccidiosis? Discuss its causes, symptoms and possible
        measures of medication.
Coccidiosis is an acute contagious parasitic disease spread between sheep by faecal
contamination of feed and/or water. Coccidiosis in lambs causes severe diarrhoea,
sometimes bloody but usually dark. Faeces may be got examined for the presence of the
coccidian oocysts and use Amprolium or any new drug developed for this purpose.
Deccox or Bovatec is fed continually to control coccidiosis and improve feed efficiency.
Deccox can be mixed into salt @ 900 g in 22 kg of loose salt, fed free choice. Ewes
should receive this continuously from 30 days before lambing till after the lambs are
weaned. Strict sanitation and proper arrangement of feed and water containers to prevent
contamination. Lamb may be prevented from walking in feeders so that no manure gets
into them.
Q.      Discuss the parasite problem in lambs/kids.
Mature ewes/does eliminate millions of parasite eggs in their droppings each day. Thus
the lambs/kids are subject to infestation with parasite larvae from the pasture. While
ewes/does should be dewormed before lambing/kidding, the parasite problem may recur.
The parasites seriously arrest the lamb/kid growth and a severe infestation can cause
anaemia and death. By avoiding overstocking of ranges and mandatory rotation of
pastures, parasite load can be reasonably reduced. It should be introduced as a standard
practice to deworm the lambs/kids when they are separated from their dams at weaning.
Use Ivomec or Levamisole or any other deworming drug that is safe for the youngones.
Q.      Write a note on polio (polioencephalomalacia) in sheep.
Polio is a noninfectious disease of sheep. Clinical symptoms are blindness, depression,
incoordination, coma and death. Exact predisposing mechanisms are not clear. It is
caused by an acute thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency. Ruminal contents contain high
levels of thiaminase (an enzyme that destroys thiamine). It was found in 1974 that all
strains of a common rumen bacteria (Clostridium sporogenes) produced thiaminase.
Treatment with 0.5 g thiamine hydrochloride leads to rapid recovery. Treatment may be

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repeated after two days. A lamb recovered from this disease can contract it again, if diet
remains the same as before.
Q.       What do you understand by entropion? Write a brief note on it.
Entropion denotes inverted eyelids. When a lamb is born, often its lower or sometimes
the upper eyelid or both eyelids are rolled inward. When this happens, the eyelashes
irritate the eyeball, causing the eye to water constantly, inviting infection and even
blindness. It is hereditary, but more prevalent in wooly-faced breeds. Do not keep such a
lamb for breeding. Mark it for slaughter. Inspect each lamb at birth so that the condition
is found soon and corrected. There are more than one way to correct it. You can roll the
eyelid(s) outward and hold in proper position by a clip or sewing. Using two little metal
clips (surgical clips) is easier than stitching. They can be clipped into place with forceps
or small pliers and left on for a few days. For sewing, use white cotton thread and a sharp
needle. Roll the eyelid out, put the needle through a small piece of skin and sew it down
(the upper eyelid would be sewn to the forehead and the lower eyelid to the jaw). In a few
days the eyelids will have conformed to a normal position and the stitches can be
removed. Use a mild antiseptic in stitching or applying clips.