Sheep Boot Camp Weekend 2023

Friday June 2-Sunday June 4, 2023

 This 3-day course held on a working sheep farm will teach you the fundamental principles and challenges of raising sheep, with an emphasis on practical skills and hands-on experience. You will be based at Owens Farm, and will also visit other sheep operations to see how marketing strategy influences infrastructure, management protocols, lambing season, and nutrition.  Favorite bits from previous students have been the  Border collie work, seeing the handling system in action, and knowing what to expect the first year.  


Training Overview

DAY 1:   HANDLING AND HEALTH Behaviorial basics, moving, catching, tipping, restraint, safety, equipment and facilities. Health Assessment, The Big 5 Sheep Problems, hoof health, vaccination, animal ID.

DAY 2: FARM TOURS AND MARKETING After a morning of sorting, handling, judging and more, we hit to road to visit different sheep operations. We see how marketing strategy impacts facilities, management, lambing season, and nutrition programs

DAY 3: LIFE WITH SHEEP  Border collie basics, realities of rotational grazing, breeds and current trends, fencing,  infrastructure, keys to success in breeding and lambing.


Previous students have come for many reasons, such as: 

Vocational Agriculture teachers and student teachers who supervise sheep projects

New sheep owners speeding up their learning curve

Small flock owners figuring out how to scale up their operation

Paid Farm Managers responsible for sheep but seeking more  practical experience


Today we visit 2 very different Pennsylvania sheep operations 



Jan Motter has  raised purebred Polypays and Shropshires for over 40 years on her mountainside farm. Her breeding stock is sold throughout the U.S., and is a key component of her operation. 



Dave Hartman raises registered Katahdin sheep, with a selection emphasis on forage-based genetics and EBVs to support a totally grass-based operation. 

Your Instructors

Caroline Owens is a former Vocational Agriculture teacher with a B.S. From Cornell University in Animal Science/Agricultural Education and an M.B.A. from Boston University. She has raised sheep on two farms in two states since 1992.  Pat Hourihan is a retired Vocational Agriculture teacher and department head from Ledyard, CT.   On Saturday's farm tours, you'll meet and learn from other sheep producers with different goals, facilities, issues and concerns. Details will be posted in March 2023. 

Your Host, Owens Farm

David and Caroline Owens raise Katahdin sheep on 112 acres in Sunbury, Pennsylvana. The flock currently numbers 200  ewes. The family has raised sheep since 1992, starting with Finnsheep and Dorsets in New Hampshire. Their operation is based on rotational grazing and once-a-year spring lambing. They sell direct-marketed 'freezer' lamb, feeder lambs, and breeding stock. Owens Farm also supplies the sheep who graze the Solar Array at Susquehanna University.


Program fee of $550 includes 3 days' training, lunches, refreshments, and Saturday dinner. Class size is limited due to the hands-on nature of the course. 
$100 Deposit reserves your space
$450 balance due on or before May 1, 2023.