Sheep and Goat 101 Day for Beginners


Everyone from college professors and northern New York landowners looking to use idle land to small families and those who like goat's milk is interested in raising sheep and goats. To facilitate learning the basic knowledge needed to properly care for the animals, the Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) associations of northern New York are hosting a Sheep and Goat 101 Day on March 9 at the CCE St. Lawrence County Learning Farm in Canton, N.Y.
Organizer Betsy Hodge, the NNY regional livestock specialist based at CCE in St. Lawrence County, says, "For those interested in having livestock, it is best to start small. Sheep and goats are easy to handle and do not require a huge investment, making them a good way for families to start in livestock."
The 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. program of lecture and hands-on activities is a beginners' basics course for those wanting to get started with sheep and goats or those who have recently purchased animals.
"We want people to learn the best practices for caring for sheep and goats. Sometimes the simplest things--like catching and holding an animal--can be the hardest for beginners," Hodge says.
The program is the northern New York version of the popular sheep and goat basics course offered at Cornell University.
Topics include how to buy animals, breed differences, health management with veterinarian Dr. Carolyn Pierce, feeding management, and the how-to of body condition grading, hoof trimming, tagging, tattooing, and 4-H showing.
Participants will have the opportunity to handle some of the 80 sheep at the Extension Learning Farm, along with goats provided by the Rastley family of Gouverneur, N.Y.
"This program is a great way for people across the northern New York region to learn together and begin networking. Most of those who have attended this program in the past have started small enterprises. Some will start small and get bigger over time. This course encourages people to think long-term and make wise decisions at the start," Hodge says.
Cost to attend the March 9 Sheep and Goat 101 Day in Canton is $10 per person or $20 per family. Registration is requested by calling CCE St. Lawrence County at 315-379-9192. Payment will be taken on March 9 at the Extension Learning Farm.
Find more information about raising livestock on the CCE Northern New York website at