University of Maryland Extension

Sheep and Goats

University of Maryland Small Ruminant Extension Program

Susan Schoenian, Sheep & Goat Specialist

Extension educational programs for sheep and goat producers in Maryland are coordinated by Susan Schoenian, Sheep and Goat Specialist, at the Western Maryland Research & Education Center.  Susan holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Animal Science from Virginia Tech and Montana State University, respectively. She has been with University of Maryland Extension since 1988.

Currently, Susan is a member of the American Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control, American Sheep Industry Association’s Production, Education, and Research Council, Productivity Improvement Team of the Lamb Industry Roadmap project, NSIP Relaunch committee, and two multi-state research committees that focus on small ruminant production:  SCC081 (Sustainable Small Ruminant Production in the Southeastern U.S.) and NCERA214 (Increased Efficiency of Sheep Production).

Extension Programs

Wild and Woolly

Wild & Woolly is a quarterly newsletter for sheep and goat producers and anyone else interested in small ruminants. The newsletter is available via mail for a cost recovery fee of $10 per year (payable to the University of Maryland). The newsletter can be viewed in web format or downloaded as a PDF file for free.  Past issues are archived. You can subscribe to the newsletter listserv to receive an e-mail message when a new issue of the newsletter has been posted to the web.

Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test

A pasture-based meat goat performance test was initiated at the University of Maryland’s Western Maryland Research & Education Center in 2006. The purpose of the annual test is to evaluate the performance of meat goat bucklings consuming a pasture-only diet with natural exposure to internal parasites. The test is open to goat producers in any state, who may consign up to five bucks to the test. Top-performing bucks are sold via public auction.

Goat Carcass Evaluation

In 2009, the University of Maryland Small Ruminant Extension Program began harvesting goats to collect carcass data.  In 2009 and 2010, goats from the Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test were harvested to determine carcass characteristics of pasture-raised goats. From 2011-2013, meat goats have been harvested to determine carcass differences between pen-fed and pasture-raised goats. Differences in goat health, performance, and value of the goats is also contrasted. The 2012 and 2013 studies were funded by the Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board. Additional funding is being sought to repeat the study in 2014.

Junior Sheep & Goat Skillathon

The Junior Sheep & Goat Skillathon is held in conjunction with the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival. The Festival is always held the first full weekend in May at the Howard County Fairgrounds in West Friendship.  A skillathon provides youth with the opportunity to blend knowledge and skills acquired in livestock judging, demonstrations, and care and exhibition of animals into a single activity. The Junior Sheep & Goat Skillathon consists of a series of stations where youth are tested on their knowledge and abilities related to sheep and goats. The competition is open to individuals and teams  of youth between the ages of 8 and 18. Pre-registration is usually required a week before the event.

Integrated Parasite Management (IPM)/FAMACHA© workshops

FAMACHA© is a novel method for assessing anemia in small ruminants and determining the need for deworming. In order to receive a FAMACHA© card, producers must take an official training and be certified in the FAMACHA© system. Susan has been holding FAMACHA© workshops since 2004. Information about upcoming FAMACHA© workshops is posted to web. FAMACHA© workshops consist of 2 hours of lecture/discussion and 2 hours of hands-on (FAMACHA© and fecal egg counting).  Contact Susan to schedule a workshop.


Webinar short courses (4 to 6 webinars each) are held every winter and cover various aspects of sheep and goat production (management, nutrition, genetics, and health). Recordings of past webinars are available for viewing. The PowerPoint presentations that accompany individual webinars are also available for viewing and/or downloading. You can subscribe to the webinar listserv to receive notification of upcoming webinars.


The University of Maryland Extension Small Ruminant Program has created four listservs to communicate with producers and disseminate information:  newsletter (sheepandgoatnews), Shepherd’s Notebook blog (shepherdsnotebook), Meat Goat Test Blog (meatgoattest), and Webinars (sheepgoatwebinars). To subscribe to a listserv, send an e-mail message to In the body of the message, write subscribe nameoflistserv.

The University of Maryland Small Ruminant Extension Program makes extensive use of the Internet to disseminate information and communicate with program participants.

Web Sites

Maryland Small Ruminant Page

The Maryland Small Ruminant Page serves as the information portal for the University of Maryland Extension Small Ruminant Program. The web site contains original articles as well as links pertaining to all aspects of sheep and goat production and marketing.

Sheep 101 and 201 and

Sheep 101 provides basic information about sheep to students, teachers, and the general public. Sheep 201 is an online Beginner’s Guide to Raising Sheep.

American Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control

The Southern Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control was formed in 2003 to address the growing problem of anthelmintic resistance in the small ruminant industry. As the consortium membership expanded, the name was changed to the American Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control. Susan Schoenian has been a member of the consortium since 2007. She maintains the consortium’s web site, which provides the latest information pertaining to internal parasite control in small ruminants.

Online Biosecurity Plan
Web page under construction

University of Maryland and Maine Extension collaborated to create an online template for creating biosecurity plans. The biosecurity template is part of the University of Maine Foot Health Program (, in which University of Maryland Extension is a collaborator

Social Media

Shepherd’s Notebook blog

Shepherd’s Notebook blog was created in 2006 to provide timely information to sheep and goat producers and anyone else interested in small ruminants. You can subscribe to a listserv to receive Shepherd’s Notebook blog entries via e-mail.

Meat Goat Test Blog

A blog is used to communicate with consigners to the Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Test, and anyone else interested in meat goat performance testing. Bi-monthly reports are shared via the blog, as links to PDF files.  During the test period (early June through late September), the blog is very active with many posts. You can subscribe to the meat goat test listserv to receive blog entries via e-mail.

UME Small Ruminant Program on Facebook

The University of Maryland Extension  Small Ruminant Program has a presence on the world’s largest  social networking site. Facebook is another method for sheep and goat producers (and others) to receive timely information pertaining to sheep and goat production.

UME Small  Ruminant Program on Twitter

Shepherd’s Notebook blog entries are automatically tweeted to Twitter followers.

Presentations on SlideShare

Over 100 PowerPoint presentations and documents have been uploaded to SlideShare, a public presentation-sharing web site. Presentations are available for producers, students, scientists, and educators to view and/or download.

Publications on Issuu

Sheep and Goat Images at Flickr™

Over 2,900 images pertaining to sheep and goat production have been uploaded to Flickr™, a public image-sharing web site. Images may be used for non-commercial purposes.

Videos/Recorded Webinars on YouTube

Other Web Resources

Small Ruminant Articles and Info Sheets


Calendar of Events

Online Quizzes

Sheep and Goats
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