Evaluation of continuous suckling or ewe-rearing strategy by lamb producers

2013 Annual Report for ONE13-174

Project Type: Partnership
Funds awarded in 2013: $14,792.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2015
Region: Northeast
State: Pennsylvania
Project Leader:
Marlon Knights
West Virginia University

Evaluation of continuous suckling or ewe-rearing strategy by lamb producers


The purpose of this project is to compare, in partnership with producers, the effects of continuous suckling (CS) vs. weaned lambs (W) on growth, intestinal parasitism, and productivity and profitability, and, to increase producer awareness of the management practice by conducting on farm demonstrations at partnering producer operations.  The goals for the last quarter of 2013 were to discuss with partners the objectives and benefits of the management procedure and to gain commitment to the project. These objectives were achieved through participation in two educational workshops and five farm visits. Additionally, participating producers bred ewes as required to ensure lambs and ewes are available for the project in spring of 2014. A preliminary study was conducted at one location which provided the opportunity for project personnel and producer to gain experience conducting necessary procedures. Project partners do not foresee any need for changes to the project timetable.

Objectives/Performance Targets

Our objectives for the Period September 2013-December 2013 is listed below:
1. Meet with Extension agents and participating producers. Participating producers should breed ewes in September-October 2013. 
2. Discuss experiment rationale/significance and layout of study, commitments and expectations with producers at WVSRP workshop. 
3. Identify pastures and other housing requirements.

We completed the first 2 objectives and is in the process of completing objective 3. 
We discussed the project at two (2) workshops conducted in March and November 2013. We were also able to conduct a preliminary study at George Wherry’s farm. This initial study provided an opportunity to train students in conducting PCV and FEC analyses.

Producers have bred ewes to ensure animals are available for conducting the study in spring/summer 2014.


1. Producers are aware of the project, its objectives and potential benefits and their commitments
2. Students are trained on collecting important pieces of data
3. Ewes are bred to facilitate project
4. Preliminary study conducted

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

1. Preliminary study conducted in which suggest that the benefits of continuous suckling observed in Katahdin lambs are achievable in Dorset X Texel lambs
2. Farmers are aware of the project and its benefits
3. Producers are aware of the importance of preweaning nutrition.
4. Students trained in conducting PCV and FEC which will support the project activities.

In February and March we will begin collecting lambing data and finalize producers who will participate in the upcoming study. The project is currently on track to commence this spring using the lambs that will be born in the next few months.


Kenney Pomeroy

3223 Maple Spring Highway
Eglon, WV 26716
George Wherry

526 Spring Valley Road
Scenery Hill, PA 15360
Office Phone: 7245541443
Jeffrey Harsh

Horse Shoe Run Road
Tera Alta, WV 26716
Office Phone: 3046989801
Mark Teets

Aurora Pike
Aurora, WV 26705
Office Phone: 3046987197
Rick Humphreys

858 Plum Run Road
Mannington, WV 26582
Office Phone: 3048251988
Mark Teets

Aurora Pike
Aurora, WV 26705
Office Phone: 3046987197