Caring for your livestock

by Dr Marjorie Orr

Aside from the commercial benefits which come from large scale farming having livestock can be both a benefit and a liability for the smaller run holder or lifestyle block property owner.

One of the benefits is the fresh and economic supply of consumables such as eggs, milk and meat making the idea of owning stock very attractive.

From this produce a variety of home staples can be made, such as cheese and yoghurt.

Animals can also provide natural fibres, such as wool, alpaca fleece and mohair from goats which can be used in clothing and home furnishings.

While owning animals has a lot of benefits there are some potential pitfalls that you need to be aware of. Firstly, you are legally responsible for the animals on your property and can be held liable for neglect or mistreatment.

Owning livestock is a big time commitment and does restrict your activities, such as time spent away from home. It is important to have a reliable back up person organised who can look after your animals when you can’t.

Animals still need looking after even in the snow and rain, so buy some wet weather gear and be prepared to brave the elements. One cannot emphasis enough the benefits of good fencing for stock management and neighbourly relations.

Keep your stock where they’re meant to be. You will also need to think of stock handling facilities for times when your animals need treatments, shearing and loading on a trailer.

An area which has good shelter and housing also needs to be considered, as well as feed storage areas. Stock attracts vermin, so how will you take care of these? 

Animals don’t live forever so from time to time you will need to deal with sickness and death. You will need to build some knowledge about animal health and be prepared to call in the vet if required. When deaths occur you need a plan for the disposal of the animal.

Just like the birds and the bees animals do procreate.

Ensure your animals breed only if you want them to and that you are prepared for the birth of offspring. If you are well prepared and ready to put the work in then having stock can add a lot to your lifestyle property. A little planning goes a long way.