The 2015 Sheep & Goat Symposium at Cornell University will be held October 2 to 4 with hands-on learning opportunities, featured speakers, including veterinarians and crop specialists, and Sunday tours to two sheep farms.

2015 Cornell Sheep & Goat Symposium activities on October 2 from 1 to 5 p.m. on the Cornell campus will include hands-on workshops from Cornell Small Ruminant Specialist Tatiana Stanton and Cornell Cooperative Extension of St. Lawrence County Livestock Educator Betsy Hodge. They will present goat and sheep management skills such as ear tagging, hoof trimming, tattooing, drenching, vaccinating, body condition and FAMACHA scoring, and Dr. Michael Thonney of the Cornell Sheep and Goat Program will cover hay evaluation.

Dr. Mary Smith, DVM, the co-author of Goat Medicine, will conduct a necropsy while discussing how farmers can do their own field necropsies to determine a cause of death in their sheep. A pasture management talk includes Northwest NY CCE Livestock Educator Nancy Glazier presenting the steps of planning a grazing system; Northern New York Field Crops & Soils Specialist Dr. Kitty O’Neil focusing on pasture renovation, and Stone Barns Farm Center Livestock Manager Craig Haney) reviewing the basics of electric fencing and how to determine equipment needs.  A pasture walk will help producers with forage plant identification.

In a session on poisonous plants with Dr. Dan Brown, Cornell Animal Science Nutritional Toxicologist, participants will practice a simple test for measuring the amount of cyanide in cherry leaves and walk to the Vet School’s Poisonous Plants garden to learn to identify plants that commonly poison livestock.

2015 Cornell Sheep & Goat Symposium events on October 3 take place in Morrison Hall on the Cornell campus with featured speaker Dr. Richard Ehrhardt, Michigan State Small Ruminant Specialist. His flock of sheep located in Danby, NY, prior to his move to Michigan, was noted for its excellent reproductive efficiency. Dr. Ehrhardt will share information from his research on best practices for managing nutrition during breeding and pregnancy to improve reproductive performance, and improving forage use to get excellent performance from pasture based sheep and goat enterprises, including comparing different types of annual, biennial, and perennial pastures for their effect on worm loads, productivity of lactating ewes and does, and weight gains and cost per pound of gain on weanlings raised exclusively on forage diets.

The 2015 Cornell Sheep & Goat Symposium concludes with tours at Shepherds Way LLC in Locke, NY, a dairy sheep and  goat farm where attendees will observe some of the newest technology available for artificially rearing suckling lambs and kids, and at Kyle Farms which produces a large volume of lambs year round with minimal stress in Avon, NY.

Fees for Friday are $10 per person; Saturday fees are $50 for the first farm member with $40 for each additional farm or family member; Sunday tour is $10 per person if providing own transportation or $30 per person in a Cornell van.