The articles below cover a number of topics about livestock health and farming. There are more articles in the other sections of lifestyle file for specific species. If you're looking for something in particular then use the search box above. If not, then browse the article titles and see what there is to help you. If you can't find an answer here then why not ask in our discussion forums? One of the very friendly and helpful members is sure to be able to help you.
New articles are added all the time so don't forget to check back here regularly!
What is the Madigan Squeeze and how does it save newborn animals?
Have you ever conducted a calving or lambing check, only to find a newborn that appears floppy, shows little interest in life, exhibits little to no suckling reflex, yet otherwise appears healthy?
How are your ruminants digesting their food?
If you have cattle, sheep or goats on your lifestyle block then you have some ruminant animals on your hands.
Health checks for sheep and cattle
If any of your sheep or cattle seem to be unwell, it can be useful to give your vet a description of the problem by doing a basic health check before you contact them.
Conformation - Focus on feet
Ruminant animals must be able to get around comfortably on their feet so they can eat.
Old pets and livestock: Part Two: Euthanasia
We all have special animals on the farm. They might be dogs or cats, ponies or horses, cattle or pigs. When we’ve shared their lives and enjoyed their company for years, we get very fond of them
Old pets and livestock: Part One: Keeping them happy
Stiff joints, teeth problems, loss of strength and energy. To those of you who are getting on a bit, this may sound familiar.
Doing a basic health check - horses and dogs
If one of your horses or dogs seems to be unwell, it can be useful to examine it carefully
These are words to strike fear into the heart of many farmers. However, as lifestyle farmers, there are far fewer risks for you and your cattle than there are for many commercial dairy farmers.
Being Ready for Foot & Mouth Disease
Being ready for a foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreak is just as important for lifestyle farms as it is for large-scale farms
An outbreak of FMD in New Zealand would seriously impact our economy and cause major disruption for anyone involved in primary industries, including lifestyle farmers, regardless of how few stock they have.
Shearing sheep and goats – how to minimise stress
When you shear a sheep or a goat, you remove its weather-proofing. After all, fleece is warm when it's cold, it prevents sunburn on clear sunny days and it's windproof and water-proof.
Internal parasites in cattle, sheep and goats – an update
In recent years, a lot of progress has been made in understanding how to control worm burdens in livestock.
Watch out for nitrate poisoning!
Livestock farmers should be careful when allowing their animals to graze any regrowth in pastures that are recovering from drought.
Refugia, what it is and why it's important
The word 'refugia' seemed to appear out of the blue a few years ago and was used by veterinarians and parasitologists when talking to farmers about worms (internal parasites) in sheep and in cattle.
More farm animal zoonoses (diseases we can catch from farm animals)
In the third article in Marjorie Orr's series on zoonoses, we look at diseases including salmonellosis, yersiniosis, ringworm, leptospirosis and scabby mouth.
Farm animal zoonoses (diseases we can catch from farm animals)
We should be aware that there are a few diseases of livestock that can spread to humans. These are called zoonoses, and many of them are particularly common in spring.
Thirty years ago leptospirosis was one of the most common zoonoses in NZ with over 400 human cases a year.
In this article Clive Dalton looks at the pros and cons of keeping different types of livestock. If you're thinking of getting livestock for the first time, this article is a great place to start!
Acetonaemia is known as ketosis in cows and sleepy sickness (or pregnancy toxaemia or twin lamb disease) in ewes. Acetonaemia in cows is fairly common, especially in high-producing cows in early lactation. The best cows are most at risk.
How many stock should you carry on your block? This is not an easy question to answer.
Disbudding - make it humane
"Disbudding" of calves and kids means removing the very early developing horn base to prevent horn growth.
Let's hope you never have to deal with rhododendron poisoning. The signs in sheep and goats include spectacular vomiting and intense pain. A few hours after eating rhododendron, the animal is in agony, rumen heaving, and it's plastering the shed walls with green vomit.
Livestock appreciate shelter from bad weather
Livestock can usually cope fairly well with either rain or wind or cold temperatures.
Grazing the long acre in winter
The "long acre" often comes to the rescue of many stock during winter as bonus feed that has all been eaten out on the block.
Winter cold and rain cause animal stress
When pet owners are sitting by their heaters in winter, they should not forget their tethered pets outside or animals in kennels and runs.
Winter feeding - pasture
Good quality pasture is generally the best feed for stock, and surplus autumn pasture can be rationed for feeding into winter.
Supplementary feeding in winter
When there is insufficient pasture for livestock, alternative feeds must be provided. The most common of these is hay. Other common supplements include concentrate pellets and grain.
What do you do with your livestock when pasture runs out?
What can you do when you're running out of pasture for sheep and cattle and there’s not a lot of supplementary feed around?