This is a picture of a wormy lamb. We don’t have any like this but I’ve seen plenty of lambs like this in 37 years of raising sheep. Because there has been such reliance on synthetic pesticides in sheep raising for many years, internal parasites in sheep have developed resistance, also. The biggest challenge to organic sheep production is controlling internal parasites.
How does one do this organically? First off, we select for breed. If we had a flock of Suffolks there’s no way we could manage them organically. We manage pastures. We move ’em and we try to not let them graze too low or come back to a pasture too soon. And we monitor.
But the fun thing I learned today that is going to be a helpful management tool is how to do my own fecal testing. Claire Sandrock, one of my MOSA colleagues, is a sheep expert, and she came out after work today and showed me how to do fecal testing. We took fresh samples and looked at them under the microscope and couldn’t hardly find any eggs. This was great. But now I’m going to take this further and test individual sheep to determine potential as breeding stock.