People begin raising goats or sheep because they are smaller than cows, so they must be easier, right? Most people learn after the fact that there is a huge learning curve with sheep and goats. To help with that learning curve, several great organizations have developed very thorough materials on raising sheep and goats. Here are a few of my favorite resources.
The most complete resource I know of is the Small Ruminant Toolbox recently released by ATTRA, The National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service. It includes a 978 page Small Ruminant Resource Manual, links to the Tennessee Master Meat Goat materials, and links to many other small ruminant educational materials. It covers meat goats, dairy goats, hair sheep and wool sheep, and is generally a one-stop shop for everything small ruminant.
When I am looking specifically for information on small ruminant parasites, my favorite resource is the website of the American Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control (ACSRP). This website has articles about current research and recommendations in small ruminant parasite control as well as dewormer dosing charts for sheep and goats, alternative parasite control methods, and information about upcoming workshops.
When looking for specific breed information, the registry websites can be helpful. Most dairy goat breeds are registered with the American Dairy Goat Association, and there is a lot of dairy goat information on their website. For dairy goat pedigree information visit ADGA Genetics. There is also a very strong dairy goat club at the state level. The Indiana Dairy Goat Association is very active and puts on many dairy goat shows. This is a very helpful resource when researching a potential new purchase or planning a breeding. Meat goat registries are less centralized. The American Boer Goat Association is the primary registry used by Boer breeders. The primary registry for Kikos is the American Kiko Goat Association. Other meat breeds have their own registries as well. Sheep are like meat goats in that the registries are very decentralized. A good way to learn more about sheep in Indiana is the Indiana Sheep Breeders Association. Sheep breeders are more organized than goat breeders when it comes to marketing. The American Sheep Industry Association is a good way to learn more about those resources.
If you want personalized information about sheep or goats, feel free to email me at sdzimian@purdue. edu with your questions.