Managing Livestock & Pets

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1 Chapter 13: Managing Livestock & Pets Animal Health and Wellbeing There are a number of animals which you may choose to keep or farm on your rural residential property. These may include cattle, sheep, goats, horses, pigs, chickens (or other fowl), and fish. Other animals of interest that may have specialist commercial markets also include alpacas, llamas, rabbits, ducks, quail, turkeys, and bees. Regardless of whether you are keeping animals for commercial or recreational purposes, all of these animals have special care requirements and can have a significant impact on the environment. It is important to consider the food, water, and care requirements of animals before committing to keeping them on your property. Ensure you have the right equipment (such as fences and mustering yards) for the animals you wish to keep, and that you have sufficient space on your property to keep such animals. Livestock may also be affected by or spread disease, so property owners need to be aware of livestock health issues. If you have concerns about the health of your livestock or domestic animals you should seek veterinary advice. The National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) is a National system for identifying and tracing livestock from their property of birth, through various properties, until they are finally sent to the abattoir. As such, all movements of cattle between properties with different property identification codes must be notified on the NLIS database and all cattle identified with an NLIS device before they are transported. It has been compulsory in NSW since January 2006 to notify all movements on the NLIS database. Maintaining Property Productivity Proper management and care of livestock is important, not only for the welfare of the animal, but to help maintain the long-term health, productivity and value of your property. The potential impacts of livestock include: Decline in water quality Spread of noxious and environmental weeds Noise and odours Effluent and wastewater pollutants Soil compaction and erosion Nutrient runoff Also see: Key Contacts: Chapter 3 - Being a Good Neighbour Veterinarian Chapter 4 - Planning your Property Local Rural Suppliers Chapter 6 - Water - Collection and Recycling Stock and Stock Agents Chapter 7 - Getting on Top of Weeds NSW Department of Primary Industries Chapter 16 - Getting Fencing Right Rural Lands Protection Board Chapter 18 - Getting the Dirt on Soil Local Council

2 Excess nutrients on a property can arise from the overuse of fertilisers and from livestock effluent. When these nutrients enter dams and waterways via water runoff, they can result in water being unsuitable for human or stock consumption. In addition to affecting water quality, animals directly accessing farm dams or waterways can cause significant erosion which may threaten dam or streambank stability. Excess nutrients and overgrazing of pastures also creates the ideal conditions for invasion by noxious and environmental weeds. Weed species may be imported to your property through contaminated fodder, such as hay or lucerne, or by stock movement amongst paddocks and properties. Numerous noxious and environmental weed species, including Crofton Weed - Ageratina adenophora, Fireweed - Scenecio madagascariensis, and Patersons Curse - Echium plantagineum, are not only bad for the environment, but are also known to be toxic to stock. Property Planning Generally, impacts of livestock can be minimised when production is undertaken using sustainable methods. Property planning allows you to assess not only the current carrying capacity of your property, but to consider and plan for future times of flood or drought. For example, are you able to access enough water during dry periods, can you manage the waste generated, and can you provide adequate fodder, shelter and fencing? Maintaining Environmental Health Maintaining the long term viability and environmental health of your property are closely related. Excluding stock from dams and waterways will help maintain water quality and protect riparian zones. Maintaining soil health through minimising compaction and erosion from livestock will combat weed invasion and improve water quality. Overgrazing of pastures, grazing of native vegetation, and the removal of vegetation to increase pasture can all cause decline in water quality, the loss and degradation of native vegetation and wildlife habitat, as well as a deterioration in soil health arising from compaction and erosion.

3 Key Resources Reference Name: Beef stocking rates and farm size - Hunter Region (June 2006) New South Wales Department of Primary Industries Locked Bag 21, Orange, NSW, A guide to the features of grazing properties and profitable cattle enterprises and identifying sustainable carrying capacities for livestock in the Hunter Region. Reference Name: Pastures for horses - Primefact 525 (Feb. 2007), Water requirements for sheep and cattle - Primefact 326 (Jan. 2007), Pigs as pets - Primefact 241 (Sept. 2006), Fish in farm dams - Primefact 89 (Nov. 2006) New South Wales Department of Primary Industries Locked Bag 21, Orange, NSW, Outlines feed requirements, suitable pasture species and fodder crops, pasture establishment and management, and grazing and weed management. Outlines water quality, environmental, and animal factors in relation to water requirements for cattle, sheep and horses. Also discusses watering points and foraging radius. Outlines regulations related to keeping a pet pig in NSW and factors such as feeding, shelter and health. Outlines dam characteristics, water quality, fish species, stocking rates, growth and feeding, and dealing with potential problems when stocking farm dams with fish. Reference Name: Poultry keeping on a small scale - Agnote DAI-295 (May 2003) New South Wales Department of Primary Industries Agriculture Locked Bag 21, Orange, NSW, Overview of flock establishment and replacement, housing, space and equipment, feeding, health and husbandry for small scale poultry keeping. Reference Name: Pets and Wildlife Redland Shire Council PO Box 21, Cleveland, QLD, Outlines how you prevent wildlife injuries or deaths and be a responsible domestic animal owner. Wildlife.pdf Reference Name: Koalas and Your Dog (2004) Port Stephens Council PO Box 42, Raymond Terrace, NSW, How to protect koalas from your domestic pet dog.

4 Other Resources Reference Name: Beef Agskills - A practical guide to farm skills New South Wales Department of Primary Industries Locked Bag 21, Orange, NSW, Format: Book Cost: Yes Publishing Date: 2005 ISBN: A basic guide to some of the skills and practices of beef production. Topics include; animal welfare, safety precautions, castrating and dehorning calves, and individual identification of livestock. Other Agskills publications also available; sheep, beef, horse, tractor, ATV, goat and farm. Reference Name: Environmental Management on the Urban Fringe: Horse properties on the rural urban fringe New South Wales Department of Environment and Conservation (currently DECC) PO Box A290, Sydney South, NSW, Format: PDF/ Book Cost: Yes Publishing Date: 2004 ISBN: Provides information on protecting and improving the natural environment on and around horse properties and gives practical advice on caring for horses and minimising environmental impacts on properties with horses. Reference Name: Keeping a cow by J. Wilson New South Wales Agriculture (currently NSW DPI) Locked Bag 21, Orange, NSW, Format: Book Cost: Yes Publishing Date: 2001 ISBN: Provides information for keeping a cow on small properties, including cattle production and calf rearing, milk production and milking, and animal health. Websites: New South Wales Department of Primary Industries New South Wales Department of Primary Industries Primefacts (and previous Agfact and Agnote) Tocal College, C B Alexander Campus Rural Lands Protection Boards Federal Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Meat and Livestock Australia National Livestock Identification System (NSW DPI) New South Wales Department of Environment and Climate Change

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