Thursday, December 29, 2011

East Friesian - Colostrum Benefits

Colustrum is the first milk a ewe produces after lambing. Containing high levels of important nutrients, colostrum is a key factor in newborn lamb health starting just minutes after birth. Colustrum provides antibodies against a variety of infectious agents. At birth the lamb does not carry any antibodies as the ewes blood stream doesn't cross the placenta. It is critical for the lamb to receive colostrum during the first 24hrs of life to ensure adequate absorption of colostral antibodies.

Antibodies are large protien molocules that can cross the intestinal wall and enter the blood stream of the lamb. This occures only during the first 24-36hrs of life. At Karras Farm we closely monitor our newborn lambs to make sure they are receiving colostrum for a healthy immune system.

Happy New Year!!
Karras Farm

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

History of Sheep

Sheep were domesticated around ten thousand years ago in Central Asia, but it wasn't until 3500 B.C. that people learned to milk and spin wool. Sheep were a key component in spreading civilization. The production of sheep was well established during biblical times. Many references of sheep were made in the Old Testament and directly from Jesus. Sheep production is mans oldest organized industry. Wool was the first commodity of sufficient value to warrent international trade. Sheep milk has been instrumental in raising families from the beginning of humans time on Earth.

"We respect, appreciate and feel blessed for these wonderful animals"

Andy Karras ~ Karras Farm

Thursday, November 17, 2011

USDA Scrapie program

We wanted to share some information on the USDA Scrapie program for thoes of you who may have a small herd or just getting into raising sheep.

Scrapie is a disease that affects the central nervous system of sheep and goats. Scrapie is a degenerative disease and can be fatal. A two to five year incubation period can mask the devistation on the flock. The disease can be transmitted between animals with a high percentage of infection. The most common breed of sheep prone to Scrapie are the Suffolk and North Country Chivot however all sheep and goats are suseptable.

An infected sheep rubs its head and rump against buildings or fences, becomes very nervous and develops muscular tremors.

The USDA offers a voulantary Scrapie inspection program. CLICK HERE

Our East Friesians are enrolled in a mandatory USDA Scrapie program for exportaion of animals, embryos and semen. We recommend that everyone producing sheep or goats enroll their animals asap!

Have a blessed Thanksgiving.

Andy Karras - Owner

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sheep Tail Docking

We frequently get asked about docking tails so here is some basic information on the matter.

Docking the tails can improve the health and welfare of sheep and lambs. At Karras Farm we dock tails to an absolute minimum of 6 inches and no shorter. Docking prevents fecal matter from accumulating on the tail and hindquarter of the animal.

Tail docking also reduces fly strike while having no ill effect on lamb mortality or production.

Andy Karras

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

East Friesian - Embryo Transfer Preparation

Preparing our East Friesian sheep for embryo transfer

This video was taken Saturday October 29th 2011 which shows Dr. Blackwell and the Karras Farm team preparing the first ewe for embryo transfer. Karras Farm is committed to providing the highest quality East Friesian bloodline. We made arrangements earlier in the year to import some embryos from overseas in accordance with the USDA protocol. We know that these lambs will have highly sought after genetic qualities and allow us to repopulate our existing herd with East Friesian genetics of the same high caliber our customers expect.

Please feel free to comment, call or email us if we can help in any way!

Thanks for watching

Andy Karras

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Preparing for Embroy Transplant - CIDR Insert

Here is a quick video we shot 10 days ago while inserting CIDR for synchronising and inducing oestrus in production animals. The CIDR insert was performed by an expierenced veteranarian.

The CIDR insert uses only naturally occurring progesterone. These unique treatment programs take control of the oestrous cycle by mimicking normal physiological events.

Here are some of the approved uses for CIDR.
  • Oestrus synchronisation during the breeding season.
  • Ovulation control in ewes/does for artificial insemination, (AI), embryo collection and transfer programmes.
  • Advancing the breeding season in sheep.
We use the CIDR product annually to help control the heat cycle and ensure successful embryo implantation.


Sheep Bells - East Friesian, Assaf and Awassi Sheep

Thank you all for viewing/commenting on our YouTube videos.

We have had several comments regarding the bells we use so I thought I would take a moment to touch base on this subject.

Growing up on a sheep farm in Greece we had always used bells on the herd.
Here is a list of to top benefits to using bells.

1. Keeps the sheep at a calm disposition for proper grazing.

2. Alerts you and your guard dogs in case of danger.

3. You always know where your animals are located.

4. Helps to deter wild predators away. Predators don't like strange sounds!

Note: We put bells on half of our herd and on Ewes only. No bells on Rams or lambs under 1 yr old.

Karras Farm has made arrangements to import some more bells directly from Greece due to a number of you requesting them. If you are interested in purchasing some bells for your sheep please call or email us and we can provide you with some additional details.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

East Friesian Sheep - Time For The Protein Flush!

The Protein Flush

It's time to get the East Friesian Ewes and Rams ready for breeding. Over the years Karras Farm has developed a method to ensure the most successful breeding.

This is not rocket science but it will prove to be a huge boost for successful pregnancy and promote multiple births.

Starting now (September 20th) we feed every animal one pound of whole kernel corn straight off
the cob. This will be a 60 day cycle to boost the protein level in the East Friesian's.

The protein boost provides additional nutrients for the Ewes which have proved to enhance embryo production resulting in more multiple births. We have also notice the lambs tend to be healthier as a result. The Rams also benefit from the protein boost as the semen levels are increased giving them an added likely hood of conception.

Another benefit of the protein flush is having all our animals’ cycle at the same time. The breeding, pregnancy and births all occur in a very close time window within the herd. This cycle aids us in knowing how all the pregnancies are progressing and enables us to more closely monitor the animals’ progress.

One item of mention - We do not recommend using crack corn during the protein flush. Crack corn is much harder for the animals to digest and will not yield the same results. As the sheep regurgitate crack corn it can also affect their esophagus and stomach lining. 

Thanks for taking the time to read our blog and we look forward to a wonderful East Friesian breeding season. Feel free to comment, email or call if we can help in any way.

Andy Karras
Karras Farm

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Monday, September 12, 2011

Hoof Trimming

This is hoof trimming season at Karras Farms.

We try to pick a damp and rainy day to trim hooves.
Trimming the hoof is much easier when they are soft
and eases the animals stress during the trimming process.

It is very important to perform a thorough cleaning of the hooves.
A good clean hoof promotes a strong and firm stance for a successful pregnancy.

Friday, September 9, 2011

East Friesian Sheep - Feeding Time

We wanted to share another video of our East Friesian Sheep during feeding. These sheep have amazing qualities and they are some of the worlds best milk producers. Please bookmark the blog or sign up to be on our mailing list as we have several topics that will be discussed in the coming weeks.

We will be covering some of the topics below:
  1. Deworming - when, how and the best products to use
  2. Breeding - How to ensure the best results for conception and bloodline
  3. Sheering - Process and how to best profit from wool
  4. Feeding - What feed to use for animal health and feed alterations through the calendar year
  5. Milk - How to properly milk and measure the milk chemistry for a high quality product
  6. Cheese making - Time to have some fun!
  7. Artificial insemination and Embryo impalntation

Friday, July 22, 2011

Karras Farm Introduction - East Friesian Sheep Breeding

Thank you for visiting the Karras Farm blog.

I'm Andy Karras the owner, operator and animal lover.

Karras Farm originated in Greece in the late 1800's by my great grandfather.At that time the main focus was to produce the highest quality line of East Friesian Sheep in the world. Only breeding the very best genetically pure sheep for superior blood line, milk production, wool and meat.

Three generations later this same focus on the perfect East Friesian Sheep bloodline has made its way to the United States. Karras Farm is located in South Carolina. We take the upmost pride in providing our customers a superior product.