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Laying chickens are popping up in urban areas all over New Zealand, as people realise that keeping a small flock of chickens does not require a huge outdoor space or a large time commitment. Becoming an advocate for poultry amongst your urban family and friends can help to break down the rural-urban divide. At the […]

Some of the 175,000 or so lifestyle blocks in New Zealand could form part of a stratified, integrated system of red meat production if more lifestylers opted to raise young stock. Commercial dairy farmers with infant cattle, sheep and goats would really like to find more productive homes for their male offspring and surplus females. […]

Pastures change from being in a vegetative (growing) state in spring, to increasing in maturity and entering a reproductive phase in summer. This brings a decrease in plant nutrients (energy and protein) and decreased digestibility of pasture. Cattle and sheep get hit with a double whammy as plants mature. Digestibility drops, which decreases both the […]

Poorly designed and inadequately maintained calf sheds will compromise animal health and put added pressure on calf rearers. A bit of thought and planning now can make life a lot easier come the spring.   From bedding to guttering, cleaning to lighting – here’s a checklist to get you started. Make sure your sheds are […]

No matter the size of your property, the short days of winter are a critical time to safeguard both your pastures and livestock for the productive time of spring. With poor growing conditions around the country rationing and feeding according to need is likely to be more important to lifestylers with grazing livestock this winter […]

Magnesium (Mg) is an important mineral that has many functions within the body, including nerve and muscle function, immune system function and bone health. As magnesium relaxes nerve impulses after transmission, a minor deficiency can manifest itself as excitability and nervousness in cows, whereas excessive intakes can cause sedation, with cows becoming more lethargic and […]

Chickens lay eggs in what we call ‘clutches’, with an egg laid per day for a number of consecutive days followed by a rest period before they start to lay another clutch. The average chicken clutch size is about 12 eggs, with a pause of roughly a day or so in between clutches. Clutch size […]

Milk replacers are increasingly seen as a safer option than untreated whole milk, which carries the risk of transmitting Johne’s, BVD, salmonella and other diseases such as Mycoplasma bovis. Interest is also growing in the use of quality calf milk replacer – beyond providing a safer, more convenient way to rear beefies, or extending stocks […]

If you have studied the DairyNZ Economic Survey data over a number of years like Wales and Kolver (2017) and concluded that supplementary feeding cows is good for profitability/ha, return on assets and equity growth, when is a good time to increase supplementary feeding? Whatever system you currently follow, I think the last 3 months […]

Someone told me rabbits eat their own poo! Surely this can’t be true. Yes, this is true! Although they don’t eat all their poo… just some of it. The unique muscles of a rabbit’s caecum allow the intestinal tract to separate out fibrous material from more digestible material; the fibrous material is then passed, while […]