Thursday, March 26, 2015

Deworming Protocol

One of the primary goals of the Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test is identification of bucks that are both more resistant and resilient to internal parasites.

The following document may help to answer some of the questions many people have about the test's deworming protocol.

Deworming Protocol

Friday, March 20, 2015

Nominating Goats To The 2015 Test

The nomination period for the 2015 Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test is April 15-June 1. All nominations received by the deadline will be treated equally. If nominations exceed test capacity, preference will be given to Maryland residents and previous consignors.

Nomination packets will be mailed to previous consigners (2013, 2014) around April 1. Anyone can request a nomination packet by contacting Pam Thomas at or (301) 432-2767 x315. In addition, all documents pertaining to the 2015 test can be downloaded from this blog. You'll find links to pertinent documents under Forms and Info in the right hand column of the blog.

The goats will start the test on warm seasonal annuals.

Any goat producer is eligible to consign up to five male goats to the test. The goats may be of any breed or breed cross, with or without registration eligibility. They must have been born between January 1, 2015, and March 15, 2015, and weigh between 40 and 70 lbs. upon delivery to the test site on June 26. 

The fee for testing a goat this year is $120. A $20 nomination fee must accompany each goat nomination. The balance ($100) will be due when the goats are delivered to the test site on June 26.  Checks should be made payable to the MPWV Meat Goat Producers Association, as they are cosponsor of this year's test.

A $20 per head discount will be offered to Maryland residents, members of the MPWV Meat Goat Producers Association, as well as consignors who nominate five half-sibs (same sire) or whose herds are enrolled in the National Sheep Improvement Program (NSIP). NSIP calculates estimated breeding values (EBVs) for meat goats (and sheep). Discounts are not cumulative.

Identifying parasite-resistant bucks is a primary goal of the test.

This year's test will implement several changes, so be sure to read the 2015 Guidelines &  Protocol before sending in your nomination form. Health requirements remain unchanged from a year ago. All goats just be accompanied by either an intrastate (Maryland consigners) or interstate (out-of-state consignors) certificate of veterinary inspection (CVI).  All goats must carry official USDA scrapie ID.

If you  have questions about this year's test, please contact Susan Schoenian at or (301) 432-2767 x343. 2015 is the 10th anniversary of the Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test.

Only consignors to the Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test are eligible to consign does to the Bluegrass Performance Invitational to be held September 4-5, 2015, in Frankfort, Kentucky. It is recommended that some of this year's top-performing bucks be returned to their farms of origin and be sold at the 2016 Bluegrass Performance Invitational. For more information about this sale, contact Jarred Dennison at or (502) 875-8857.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Bluegrass Performance Invitational

The 2015 Bluegrass Performance Invitational will be held September 4 and 5 at Lakeview Park in Frankfort, Kentucky. All consignors to the 2015 Western Maryland Pasture-Based  Meat Goat Performance Test are eligible to consign to the sale.

If you are interested in being a consignor to this year's sale, please go the website and review the sale rules for complete details . Consignment sheets must be postmarked by April 30th to qualify for the sale.

For additional information, contact Jarred Dennison at (502) 395-0237.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Goats Replace Soldiers and Prisoners

The federal government built Fort Saulsbury, at the edge of the marsh near Slaughter Beach, in 1917 when World War I was getting into full swing. On 160 acres of sandy soil studded with native cedars, the fort consisted of two heavily fortified concrete bunkers and several support buildings.

Sam (L) and and his son Laurence (R)

During World War II, prisoners of war replaced the shells and powder and soldiers in the bunkers and buildings of Fort Saulsbury. These days, sheep and goats graze atop the bunkers and on open ground where barracks, an infirmary and other fort-associated structures stood. The Sam Burke family bought the property in 2002. 

 “We brought a few goats up here to get the vegetation under control, and they did so well we decided to try our hand with them,” said Sam Burke. Now, he said, Cedar Creek Farm -- known previously as Fort Saulsbury -- has a reputation for the quality of the Kiko goats it produces.

Read full article at

Cedar Creek Farm (Sam Burke) is a long-time consignor to the Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Winter 2015 Wild & Woolly

The Winter 2015 issue of Wild & Woolly is now available. Wild & Woolly is a quarterly newsletter for sheep and goat producers and anyone else interested in small ruminants. It is published by University of Maryland Extension It provides complete coverage of the Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test.

Winter 2015 Wild & Woolly - HTML
Winter 2015 Wild & Woolly - PDF

Winter 2015 Wild & Woolly via ISSUU

You can subscribe to the newsletter listserv to receive an e-message when a new issue of the newsletter has been published.  To subscribe, send an e-mail message to In the body of the message, write:  subscribe sheepandgoatnews.  You can also follow ISSUU to receive notification of new newsletters.

Printed copies of Wild & Woolly are available via mail for a cost recovery fee of $10/year. Checks payable to the University of Maryland should be send to Western Maryland Research & Education Center, 18330 Keedysivlle, MD  21756.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

2015 Test Schedule

Several changes will be implemented for the 2015 Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test. The purpose of the changes is to get better growth rates (ADG) and produce bigger (heavier) bucks by the end of the test, while still being able to effectively evaluate the bucks for parasite resistance and resilience.

The test will start and end later. Bucks must be delivered to the test site on Friday, June 26, from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Bucks can be brought to the test site earlier (with prior approval), but cannot be brought after June 26.

The bucks will start the test on the warm season annuals.

Age requirements remain relatively the same. Eligible bucks must be born between January 1, 2015, and March 15, 2015. Since the goats will be almost a month older at the start of the test, the minimum starting weight has been increased to 40 lbs. Since goats will lose weight during transport, it is suggested that bucks weigh at least 45 lbs. on the farm, prior to transport (more if they are being transported from a far distance).

The later starting date will allow the goats to graze the "clean" warm season annual grasses and legumes upon arrival. The first six weeks of the test will serve as a "growth challenge." Upon arrival, the bucks will be sequentially dosed with dewormers from each anthelmintic class:  albendazole (Valbazen®), moxidectin (Cydectin®), and levamisole (Prohibit®). Last year's sequential deworming reduced fecal egg counts by 99 percent, after only six days, allowing the goats to start the test equally, with regards to parasites.

The goats will have a 13-day adjustment period. Starting weights will be recorded on July 9 and 10, after the reduction in fecal egg counts. Starting weights will be determined by averaging the weights recorded on July 9 and 10.The test will last for 84 days. Midway through the test, the goats will be switched to the cool season grass paddocks. These paddocks will have been grazed by infected sheep prior to the test.

The second part of the test will serve as the "parasite challenge." The bucks will be handled every 14 days to determine body weights, FAMACHA©, body condition, coat condition, dag, and fecal consistency scores. Fecal samples will be collected bi-weekly to determine individual fecal egg counts. Pooled fecal samples will be collected for larvae ID and diet composition.

The bucks will be supplemented with soybean hulls.

The test bucks will be supplemented with soybean hulls throughout the test. Supplementation will begin during the adjustment period and will be gradually increased until it reaches 0.75 lbs. per day or approximately 1.5 percent of  body weight.  Last year, soy hulls were fed during the second half of the test. Supplementation seemed to improve the body condition, health, and welfare of the goats. Fecal data had shown that the goats' diet was deficient in energy. Vegetative pasture growth is very high in moisture.

The last data will be collected on October 1. Final weights will be determined by averaging the weights recorded on October 1 and 2. The ten top-performing bucks will be recognized.  As in year's past, the primary performance criteria will be growth (ADG), parasite resistance (fecal egg counts), and parasite resilience (FAMACHA© scores and anthelmintic treatments). Various other criteria may factor into the selection of the ten top-performing bucks, such as WDA, ultrasound data, teat configuration, scrotal circumference, and structural correctness.

Tentative schedule for 2015 test
June 26 - deliver bucks to test site
July 9 - data collection (d-0)
July 9-10 - starting weights determined
July 23 - data collection (d-14)
August 6 - data collection (d-28)
August 20 - data collection (d-42)
September 3 - data collection (d-56)
September 17 - data collection (d-70)
October 1 - data collection (d-84)
October 1 & 2 - final weights determined

The nomination period for the 2015 test will be April 15 through June 1. there will be a $20 nomination fee for each buck. The total fee for testing a buck will be $120. Discounted fees will be offered to Maryland residents and consignors who consign five half-sibs (bucks with same sire) or whose herds are enrolled in the National Sheep Improvement Program (NSIP). NSIP calculates EBVs (estimated breeding values) for meat goats. The purpose of the second two discounts is to enhance the genetic evaluation of goats. A maximum of 80 goats will be accepted for the 2015 test.

2015 will be the 10th year of the Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test. It is conducted at the University of Maryland's Western Maryland Research & Education Center in Keedysville. It is a program of University of Maryland Extension.

Please direct any questions about the 2015 test to Susan Schoenian at (301) 432-2767 x343 or