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What do I need to know about keeping livestock?

Smaller livestock breeds are popular with first time rural block farmers, because they’re easier to handle and can be less costly and more manageable to farm.

Consider these following tips when thinking about livestock:
  • How far is the prospective lifestyle block property from veterinary facilities?  If animals get sick, you may need to get a vet to them quickly. Animals tend to get sick at the most inconvenient moments. Will you be able to drop everything to attend to your animals’ welfare if needed?
  • If you want to keep cattle, does the farm have appropriate fencing and loading ramps?  Does it also have cattle traps in roads and sufficient space for the cattle to roam?  Cattle generally require a large amount of grazing space
  • If you have horses, will you be available when horses are foaling?  Horses often need help to deliver their foals
  • If you have lambs, will you be available for lambing season?  New-born lambs sometimes need to be bottle fed for extended periods
  • Can you attend immediately to escaped cattle?  Are you able to quickly repair damaged fences yourself? Check that there are local fencing and farming contractors available and close to your lifestyle block if required
New hobby farmers will benefit from visiting one of the many A&P Field Days or lifestyle farming expos held each year in New Zealand, to get an understanding of what's truly required to look after farm animals.  At these shows you'll meet other lifestyle farmers, Council staff, and experts from various farming supply companies.  Local vets can also help you to understand the common issues they encounter.
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