Livestock welfare

Following a bushfire, the welfare of livestock needs to be monitored and managed appropriately.

General information

Feeding and nutrition

Bushfire burns, humane destruction and burial

Further information on livestock welfare, when feed and water resources are in short supply, is available on DroughtHub.

Stock health

Livestock health checklists

Ewes

Ewes need ongoing assessment for body condition, hoof damage, breeding suitability and fly strike where skin damage has occurred. Health checklist for lambing ewes:

  • Damaged teats can scar over and lead to lamb deaths. Check before lambing.
  • Maintain body condition/fat score to maximise reproductive potential.
  • Provide mineral supplementation on fodder crops to prevent lambing difficulties and rickets in lambs.
  • Vaccinate, especially as green feed becomes available, using 5 in 1 as a minimum.

Rams

  • Scrotal palpation for scarring and adhesions if burnt (infertility from high heat events can last six weeks or more).
  • Body condition/fat score.
  • Mobility can be affected with hoof damage.
  • Vaccination.

Cattle

  • Check for teat damage before calving.
  • Heifers should be checked before joining. Sell any with significant damage for slaughter.
  • Bulls should undergo a physical assessment, including scrotal palpation for scarring and checking of the pizzle.
  • Fat score and body condition for both cows and bulls needs to be optimum for reproduction and rejoining of cows.
  • Vaccinate with 7 in 1 for cows and add vibriosis for bulls, especially with animals that have been agisted.

Health and diseases of livestock