The Small Ruminant Program educates landowners and small-scale producers about best management practices and the economic benefits of raising healthy goats and sheep. The program also explores sustainable methods of integrating livestock, timber production, and forage production in silvopasture systems and the long-term effects of different grazing systems on the environment.
Current Research Projects
- Meat Goat Demonstration Project – This project was funded by the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA). The project was developed on Alabama A&M University forestland in collaboration between Alabama Extension and Alabama A&M University’s College of Agricultural, Life and Natural Sciences. The objective of this project is to investigate how rotational browsing and stocking rate affect the understory vegetation, soil health, and gastrointestinal parasites of the goats browsing on forestland. This forestland contains a variety of invasive plants such as Chinese privet, bush honeysuckle, kudzu, thorny olive, mimosa, tree of heaven, paulownia, and many other invasive plant species. The project uses Kiko goats to control this understory vegetation while also improving the visual appearance of the landscape.
Online Learning Options Now Available
The Small Ruminant Program offers online learning experiences through Zoom and Facebook Live. Join us for a public session or reserve a private online series for your group or organization. Contact Alabama Extension animal scientist Valens Niyigena to share your interest in joining a future online workshop or follow a link below to register for an upcoming session.
- The Small Ruminant Production Virtual Series offers effective best management tools necessary for goat and sheep producers to run a profitable farm operation. In these free monthly sessions, Extension professionals explore emerging issues in small ruminant production systems. Join us the last Thursday of each month, March through June 2021, from 5:30 until 6:30 p.m.
Sample Webinar Topics
- Managing internal parasites in sheep and goats.
- Getting the most out of available pastures.
- Soil health, forage quality, and grazing management.
- Silvopasture basics, dealing with poisonous plants in sheep and goats.
- Vaccination and common diseases for sheep and goats.