Sheep producers are annually faced with the task of rearing orphan lambs. This problem has been increased with incorporation of prolific genetics into our ewe base. However, ewes were not designed to feed three, four or more lambs. So what is a shepherd to do?

An upcoming Winter Sheep ICN program on orphan rearing will provide best management practices that support successfully rearing orphans. This presentation from Iowa State University (ISU) Extension is set for Dec. 14 at 7 p.m., and will feature Yves Berger, Spooner Research Station Superintendent, University of Wisconsin. Berger will cover how they successfully rear over 500 lambs annually at the Spooner Research Station, University of Wisconsin. The research station is the leading dairy sheep research unit in the United States, resulting in a large number of orphans.

Additional presenters will be Wes and Ester Moser, Rock Rapids and Jim Secor, ISU McNay Research Farm Superintendent, Chariton. They will share their best tips for successfully rearing orphans. Dan Morrical, ISU sheep specialist, will wrap up the evening with an overview of management practices to minimize orphans. Grafting methods will be his primary area of discussion.

Winter Sheep ICN programs are partially supported by the Iowa Lamb and Wool Promotion Board. More than 20 ICN classrooms around the state are available for producers to attend. Those interested in participating should contact their ISU Extension county office for the nearest location. A registration fee of $10 per person is payable at the door.

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