Comparing feeding schemes for lambs of grazing ewes

The ewes in the Extension Learning Farm flock lamb at the end of April or early May and are put to pasture. Normally, the lambs are left on the ewes until they are 100 days old. This study would compare the profitability of weaning half the lambs by about 60 days of age and self-feeding them in the barn compared with the other half left on their mothers on pasture. The intern could compare growth rates, treatment costs, lamb losses, cost of gain, market prices, and the overhead cost of keeping the lambs longer. Fecal egg counts will be done on all the lambs.

Roles and responsibilities 

The intern will be responsible for some sheep care (assist with feeding, vaccinating), helping with rotational grazing, data collection (weighing lambs, keeping track of feed consumed, etc), and equipment set up. The student will also learn to do fecal sample egg counts. Some data collection might happen after the student returns to campus for the fall semester and staff could collect this data and provide/send it to the student. There is an opportunity to learn about other farm operations and ag education while at the Extension Learning Farm as well.

Qualifications and previous coursework

This opportunity is available to students in Cornell University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Additional qualifications include: 

  • Interest in livestock, nutrition, grazing, marketing (previous experience is not required)
  • Expect variety and be prepared to work outside and get dirty as well as enter data on a computer

Learning outcomes 

The student will understand more about doing a research trial, animal nutrition, raising lambs, rotational grazing, and parasites.