Not so much so; 10 acres can keep you as busy as 100 acres. This is what a farmer friend once told me. The main difference is that on a small block, you don’t have all the tools and equipment to deal with the jobs that need doing such as a tractor.
Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy our lifestyle block. I love cows and having 10 acres of land attached to our house gave us the freedom to have a few of these and get to know and care for them.
As a farm animal vet, I’m familiar with the jobs that need to be done to look after animals. Also, I know how much animals need to be fed to be able to do the things they need to do. What I wasn’t prepared for however were the practical implications. I was feeding out every morning and every evening because grass growth was poor. I gave them special energy boost pellets every day in winter. The calves had to be vaccinated for Clostridial diseases and supplemented with Copper, Selenium and Vitamin B12. On top of that, in order to be able to properly graze them and to be able to handle them if necessary, we had to build decent fences and yards.
As part of my job, I meet a lot of people in the same situation; however they do not always have the same level of knowledge. Hence, I get asked a lot of questions often regarding the care of animals kept on lifestyle blocks. It can be quite overwhelming to look after farm animals if you never have before especially since we’re so dependent on the weather in New Zealand.
• Do you know how much grass a sheep needs on a daily basis?
• Do you know how much water a cow drinks each day?
• Are you aware grazing animals need worm treatment (especially young animals)?
• Would you recognise a sick animal?
• Are you familiar with the common diseases farm animals should be vaccinated for?
• If you have pregnant animals, do you know what to do when things go wrong?
If you are struggling to answer all these questions book a Vet Property Assessment Consult. We can come to your property, have a walk with you to see your set up and check that all your animals are looking healthy. The great thing is, you can ask as many questions as you like. We can discuss any issues you may be experiencing and help to create an animal health program so that nothing is missed each year.