Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Penn State Sheep Home Study Course

I am taking an online course through Penn State's Ag extension program on improving sheep production. Each module is individualized to your specific situation, whether new or long time or future producer.  The modules themselves aren't offering much new info, it's the interaction with the instructor that is proving valuable.

The first module focused mainly on record keeping. I am woefully poor at record keeping for my property and needed this push to get organized. I know I need a system that is easy or I won't use it. The instructor sent me a link to a list of computerized farm/sheep record keeping programs that look interesting. I have downloaded trials of two programs and am giving them a little test drive.
The two I am looking at currently are FlockFiler and Ranch Manager.  FlockFiler is the cheapest program at $50,  but may not do all the things I might need. Ranch Manager has more options and is more comprehensive, but also more expensive, $149.

The sheep don't seem to care much for programming. They just want to know when they get to eat again.

The current module is on sheep reproduction. Again, not much new info but the Q&A with the instructor should be helpful. There was a picture of someone dipping an umbilical cord into a bottle of iodine and every nurse/midwife cell in my body recoiled with the thought of contaminating an entire bottle of iodine then using it over and over again! I think, I hope, most people pour a small amount of iodine into a smaller container to treat the cord of newborn lambs then dispose of the iodine remaining in the smaller container after use, keeping the labeled bottle clean and uncontaminated.

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