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Livestock

Chickens

The Penn State Extension Poultry Team website has extensive information for commercial poultry and small/ specialty avian flock producers. They provide information on nutrition, common problems, breed identification, housing, health and diseases, pest control, waste management and more.

Are you raising poultry and wondering what rules apply to you? The following summary states where you can sell your poultry depending on how it was processed and what other regulations apply.

Small-scale poultry producers who market their products directly to the consumer sometimes find the ever increasing prices of inputs, particularly the cost of feed, a challenge.

Pigs

Any family interested in raising some of their own meat should consider pigs. They grow rapidly and require very little space or management.

Farmers interested in raising hogs may find hoop houses ideal for raising groups of pigs. This article by researchers in the Midwest outlines the strengths and weaknesses of raising pigs in hoop houses, and offers recommendations for successful production.

Mike Yezzi from Flying Pigs Farm shared his pastured pig production system at this year’s Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) conference. Pastured pigs fit well into Mike's hilly, wooded 170-acre farm, a challenging environment for many farm enterprises.

Sheep

Learn about sheep shearing tool use and maintenance in this video.

In this video, Mike Fournier, former Penn State Extension Educator demonstrates how to shear sheep. He also demonstrates the six sheep shearing positions.

Feed costs are the major cash expense in any sheep operation. Keeping feed costs low while still supplying the necessary nutrients to keep the flock healthy should be the goal of every shepherd.

January is the traditional start to the winter lambing season. Lamb mortality is highest in the first few weeks of life with starvation and hypothermia the leading causes of loss. To see that your lambs get off to a good start, be sure you incorporate “clip, dip & strip” in the lambing jug.

Your management over your sheep flock does impact the number of lambs your ewe produces each season. What can you do to ensure your ewes lamb twins this breeding season? Read on to find out more.

Okay, so you’re thinking about raising livestock for direct-to-consumer sales. You’ve figured out what kind of livestock you want to raise, what kind of infrastructure you will need, soil tested your pastures, the works. One question remains; how much should you charge your customers?

Finally, March has rolled around and old man winter has loosened his death grip on us. The days are getting longer and warmer, the daffodils and crocuses are starting to bloom and newborn lambs are frolicking around the barnyard. These wonderful signs of impending Spring should signal all shepherds that March is also the unofficial start of the sheep shearing season.

Once we shear our wool, we need to think about selling it. Discover some tips for marketing wool on the East Coast.

Goats

Dairy goat production is an alternative livestock enterprise suitable for many small-scale or part-time livestock operations. Some dairy goat producers have been successful in pasteurizing goat milk and building an on-farm jugging business, while others have ventured into processed milk products for retail distribution, especially specialty cheeses and yogurt. The potential also exists for selling milk to processors, usually on a regional basis. Although fluid milk and processed products are important markets, dairy goat producers should also consider the potential for selling animals to hobbyists and youth involved in vocational agriculture livestock projects.

Meat goat production, like any other animal production enterprise, requires that good husbandry practices be followed in the areas of sanitation, health, feed, water, and shelter. These are all integral parts of managing a successful goat enterprise.

Beef

The spring season on beef cattle operations, usually means heavy calving as well as preparing the pastures. Here are a few tips that will help to keep you prepared and make calving season easy!

December for many cattle producers means preparations for winterizing their herds. What is on your checklist for this month? Nutrition and winter feeding, body condition evaluation, and calving issues should all be on your list.

Proper management of animal mortalities on the farm has important implications in nutrient management, herd health, as well as farm family and public health.

Every year, hundreds of accidents occur on the farm whether it’s caused by livestock, tractors, machinery, or mistakes. According to statistics, one out of every six injuries is caused by livestock. There are actually more injuries from livestock on farms than tractors.

East National Technology Support Center technical specialists acquire and develop science-based technology for a range of agricultural and environmental topics.

Dairy

So, you want to be a dairy farmer. Maybe you grew-up on the farm and are taking over ownership from your parents or grandparents, maybe you have worked on a dairy and milked cows for years, or maybe you’re a novice to dairy farming but think dairy farming seems like a lifestyle for you. Whatever your background and experience, there are some things you need to know before you get started milking cows.