News & Advice

Animal Welfare Matters

Dec 5, 2018 | Beef cattle, Dry stock, Dry stock animal health & welfare, Sheep, Working Dog

On 1 October this year new animal welfare regulations come into effect. Check out the information here –
If you’re already doing it right, you won’t see a lot of change. Most of the regulations reflect existing standards, but a few do set new rules and requirements, such as prohibiting tail docking of cattle and dogs.
Regulations make it easier for MPI and the SPCA to act against animal mistreatment. New penalties such as fines will be issued for certain actions. They will continue to prosecute the worst offenders under the Animal Welfare Act.
One of the regulations causing a lot of discussion on farm is that of dogs on moving vehicles, and the new regulation states:

Dogs on moving vehicles

Dogs being transported that are loose on the back of trucks, utes and trailers can fall off or hang off the side, suffering severe injuries. You’ll be OK when travelling on a public road if your dog is secured in a cage or crate, or tied up safely when it’s on the back. Any rope or leash used must allow the dog to stand and lie down in a natural position and prevent them from reaching their legs over the side of the vehicle, otherwise you and the owner of the vehicle can be fined $300.
Farm dogs can be loose on a vehicle, including on public roads, when they are actively working.
If you want to see the full new codes of welfare, see


It is that time of year again for those who have sheep in small or large flocks. Shearing before summer helps to prevent sheep suffering from heat stress, and from becoming cast by rolling on their backs and getting stuck because of a heavy fleece. In addition, fattening lambs gain more weight post shearing. Shearing is a process that can put a lot of stress on sheep and steps should be taken to minimise this.

Shearing needs to be carried out when the sheep are dry and they should not go straight off shears into a bad weather event; therefore assessment of upcoming weather is important. Food supply for post shearing needs to be planned for, and make sure to check that the animals are not within a withholding period as they they should not be handled if they have been treated with a product such Zappor or Seraphos as they have a two months withholding for wool handling.

Sheep need to fast from food overnight before shearing and they should have access to water until they put into the shearing shed. Fasting reduces the size of the rumen and means the sheep are easier to handle, and struggle less when tipped up for shearing. After being fasted and shorn, they must have access to food and water as soon as possible. If there are any nicks or cuts in the skin from shearing, these should be treated straight away with an antiseptic spray e.g. Aerotete Forte, or Chloromide. The sheep should not return after shearing to wet or dusty yards as any cuts will become contaminated and there will be a greater risk of infection.

Freshly shorn sheep require more feed than normal to maintain body condition and body temperature. These increased requirements can be necessary for as long as six to eight weeks post shearing. This effect is more prevalent in winter when shearing increases the energy requirements by 50-70%, as compared to a 20-30% increase for summer and autumn shearing. In association with this, it is vital to monitor the weather forecast to ensure plenty of feed and shelter is available during adverse weather events. Sheep can also get sunburnt after shearing, so they should have good access to shade for a couple of weeks until they have grown enough fleece to protect their skin.

While you have the ewes in for shearing it is also a good time to check their body condition score, and their teeth and udders. Ewes with poor teeth and diseased udders can be identified for future culling. Routine drenching can be carried out if required.
The level of challenge from flystrike should be assessed, and Clik can be applied off shears if the challenge is high. Fly resistance to some products has been found in many areas now, so ask your Vet about the efficacy of products in your area before treating. No resistance to Clik has been identified in New Zealand. to date and it has a longer withholding period than some other products, so may not be suitable for use on sale/works lambs or cull ewes.

Clikzin is an alternative using the same active ingredient with a shorter length of action and consequently, a shorter withholding period. Alternatively dipping or spraying with a product to kill lice and ticks and to protect from flystrike can be used.

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