Franklin Vets Blog

The 5 questions I most commonly get asked by Lifestyle Farmers

May 25, 2021

How many animals can I run on my property?ewe and lambs

This is one question that most people should ask but frequently don’t… at least often not until it is too late. As a rule of thumb, ONE acre will support:

  • 1 cow for one year, raising a calf until about 3 months of age
  • 1 – 2 horses for one year with the use of hard feed over winter
  • About 6 sheep or goats for one year, raising lambs or kids until about 3 months of age

Don’t forget to allow for the space taken up by your house, garage, shed, driveway, trees, garden and any shelterbelts.

For Example: If you move onto a 5-acre block, you will typically have just over 4-acres of available grazing space. This means you can effectively look after 4 cows raising their calves through to 3 months. Remember that at certain times of the year, you will have too much grass and at other times too little. Cut hay or silage when you have too much grass, and feed these out when the grass is in short supply.

Do I need to vaccinate my stock?

The answer is YES. Clostridial diseases such as Tetanus, Pulpy Kidney and Blackleg are not uncommon throughout New Zealand and affect cattle, alpacas, sheep and goats.

Vaccines are available at Franklin Vets for preventing these diseases and are very inexpensive. Talk to us today about when and how to vaccinate your animals to achieve maximum protection.

Tetanus and Strangles are diseases that may affect horses and can be prevented by vaccination. These vaccines are veterinary administered and should be discussed with your Franklin Vets equine vet.

Do I need to worm my animals?

The answer is almost always YES. Roundworms are the most common worm causing disease in animals. Symptoms can range from mild diarrhoea to severe weight loss to sudden death.
There are three types of drench or drench families that vary in the types of worms they kill.

Different drench products are often better suited to different types of animals. There are a few rare exceptions where regular worming of your stock may not be necessary, but these are few and far between.

Drenches also come in different formulations:beef cow and calf

  • Pastes for horses
  • Oral or injectable for Alpaca
  • Oral or injectable for Goats
  • Oral or injectable for Sheep
  • Oral, injectable or Pour-On for Cattle.

Discuss with your vet what the most appropriate options are for your animals.

How do I go about breeding my own cows?

Because of a bull’s size, nature, and expense, it is not always as easy as just “putting a bull in with the cows” and letting nature take its course. There are various breeding programs designed to allow cows to be mated by artificial insemination at a convenient time. These breeding programs are put together with your local vet and Artificial Insemination technician. Contact your branch of Franklin Vets to arrange this.

If you are considering having a bull on your block, it is imperative that good handling facilities are available. Good strong electrified fences, a well-built holding yard and easy access to a good stock loading race are the minimum essentials. Different types of bulls tend to be more suitable for different types of cows. Discuss with your vet for independent advice on what is the best type of bull for your situation.

I want to rear calves. How do I go about it?

Rearing calves can be rewarding when things go right and heartbreaking when things go wrong! If you are rearing calves for the first time, discuss the ins and outs with your vet.
Some basics for consideration:

  • Prepare a clean, draught-free and warm environment for your calves before you bring any home
  • Buy healthy calves that are at least 4 days old
  • Look for:
    • Dry, small navels
    • Pricked up ears, clear bright eyes, moist noses, shiny coats
    • Firm faeces
    • Playful movements
  • Quarantine calves for 7 days as they come onto your property
  • Discuss appropriate first aid measures for calves with scours/ diarrhoea with your vet, before you need to use them.

Dr Jennifer Stone vetDr Jennifer Stone BVSc (Dist) BSc