We love our animals. They’re part of our family. We name them, talk to them and do whatever it takes to ensure they’re healthy and content—even if that means mercy dashes for caesareans or calling in the animal chiropractor (yes, that’s a thing!).
Our main focus is on preventing health issues in the first place. We do this by making sure our animals have:
- a nutritious, high-quality diet (learn more about that here)
- exercise (have you seen how much our goats love to race?!)
- a responsibly-managed environment (yep, that means poo removal)
- companionship (which is why we get so many baby animals every spring!)
- shelter (in case of hot summers, cold winters and random ex-cyclones)
- the freedom to express their natural behaviour (and be stroked, petted, talked to, sung to, confided in and cuddled by our wonderful Animal Farm visitors)
In other words, we treat our animals like our children.
Our animal health routine
Every day, Animal Farm owner Vicky personally checks the condition of each and every animal. She’s unofficial mum to them all and knows them very well, so she can quickly spot when someone’s looking off-colour.
We also have a qualified veterinary nurse on the Animal Farm staff. Lynn doesn’t just deal with ailing animals; she also brings her experience and skills to help with vaccinations, drenching, hoof-trimming and moving livestock.
If we do have an animal that seems a bit off, we’ll call in Lynn or the vet. Our philosophy is that if an animal can be treated it will be, regardless of cost. The only time we’d consider euthanasing one of our animals is if it can’t be cured and is suffering.
Animal health case study 1: Cleo’s emergency caesarian
In 2017, beautiful Cleo the Boer goat was our undisputed racing champion. She consistently left the boys in the dust and maybe that got her thinking she was bullet-proof. Whatever the case, one day she jumped in with the billy goat and didn’t consider the consequences!
When the time came for her to kid, it soon became obvious that Cleo was struggling. We monitored her condition and decided to transport her to Town & Country Vets in Richmond. It’s just as well we did—Rachel, her kid, was enormous!
Cleo fully recovered and Rachel is thriving. We think she may have inherited her mum’s champion racing genes. Let’s hope she’s not quite so adventurous!
Success, supplements and Fat Club
We have successfully treated some of our sick animals ourselves. This always involves a lot of research and sometimes a discussion with the vet. One of our best outcomes involved some young kids that were experiencing trouble walking. We gave them mineral supplements and now you’d never know they’d had issues.
Our animals get mineral blocks and seaweed meal (which they absolutely love). We also make up special concoctions for the goats; they have higher requirements for copper than other livestock. We prefer to do things the natural way if we can, so we use recipes devised by the late Australian author and natural farming advocate, Pat Coleby.
It’s very rare for any of our animals to end up in Fat Club but it does occasionally happen. Two of the sheep have been on a diet for a long time but it’s not making much difference! They’re Dorpers—a meat breed—so putting on weight is in their genes. We’ll continue to monitor them and restrict their diets.
Animal health case study 2: chiropractic treatment for calves
After Jersey cow Carrie gave birth to a stillborn calf, we brought in two other calves for her to rear. One of them had trouble latching on and wasn’t drinking properly. We noticed that its back wasn’t quite right—it seemed quite stiff.
We called in an animal chiropractor who massaged the calf’s back, saying a misaligned spine can interfere with the animal’s ability to suckle. The treatment certainly did the trick—the calf had no more problems after that!
Come and see our bright-eyed, bushy-tailed residents for yourself
Our animals are in great condition. That’s one of the reasons why they’re so friendly and happy to engage with humans. Come meet them—we’re currently open Friday to Sunday, 10am-4pm (last entry 3pm). And in school holidays, we’re open seven days. Looking forward to seeing you soon!