Our Animals

A guide to NZ duck breeds

Traditional domestic duck breeds are rare in New Zealand so you will have to hunt around to find breeders in your area, or a supplier of fertile eggs.

Animals set to steal the show at Heroic Festival

A colourful Auckland family with a motley crew of animals are opening their garden gate for the Heroic Garden Festival.

Hands-on help for an egg bound hen

The description of a hen being ‘egg bound’ is often mentioned but is it really egg bound? Here’s how to find out, and how you can get hands-on and help out.

Why facial eczema is a year-round problem

Each summer we remind you to get extra zinc into your livestock to help prevent the liver damage caused by facial eczema, but FE is actually a problem you need to be thinking about all year round.

7 kaka facts for bird lovers

The kākā is vying for your vote in Bird of the Year. We share seven reasons why this gregarious parrot deserves to be New Zealand's top bird.

What to do when you discover a bee swarm

Rudi Robberts stares into the eye of the bee swarm

Raglan biz chasing pet food market

The doggedness of two Raglan friends - plus a supportive community - helped launch a posh pet brand

Couple create fernbird safehaven

A Southland couple have turned their block into an internationally-recognised wetland of importance, and a safe haven for one of NZ's rare birds.

The best sex strategy for a lifestyle block

 The thought of pampering a male 364 days of the year so he can have sex on the remaining day irks my feminist principles, but years of testing sex strategies shows it does have its merits.

How to deal with a broody hen

Spring can be a confusing season for the flock owner who wants eggs, and equally confusing for hens who want to be mothers.

Kelly Wilson back in the saddle saving the snowy brumbies

Kelly Wilson’s work with wild horses is a family affair - but it nearly didn’t happen.

Is this Disneyland for dogs?

Angela Beer didn't even know she was a dog person until she met her beloved Dunhill, and she had even less idea just how far that love would take her.

Where will you find your eggs today?

If you want your hens to lay eggs in the right place, the most basic requirement is a nest they'll like over all others. But hens have some odd views on what they prefer.

lamb

12 tips for sheep in spring

Getting ready for lambing is the main priority, and this means being prepared for surprises like early lambs which weren’t planned and which often die.

How to avoid a crop-bound chicken

Sometimes a chicken bites off more than it can chew. Well, technically, more than it can grind.Sometimes a chicken bites off more than it can chew. Well, technically, more than it can grind.

Animals in your orchard

Some animals in an orchard are your friends and some are a definite no-no

Water cooler: fun with soap, why NZ avocados are very special, and chicks for Ag Day

Marek's disease, what you should know

Just the mention of Marek’s disease arouses dread in many poultry keepers, but there is a lot of misinformation around which only serves to enhance those fears.

A guide to NZ's backyard birds

How to identify birds and encourage birdlife in your backyard.

1 easy way to save a cold, wet lamb

One simple injection can be a life-saver for cold or weak lambs.

Water Cooler: Celebrating science, dry July & French spirit

This week in the water cooler we: celebrate clever New Zealand scientists at the KiwiNet awards and take our horses to the dentist  (yikes).

Make your own willow bird feeder

Learn the art of basic willow weaving and give your local birds a tasty treat with our beginner's project.

Why the first feed makes all the difference

The health and performance of your adult cattle throughout their lives all comes down to the very first feed they receive in the hours after their birth.

The science behind growth hormones

One of the enduring myths about commercial poultry is that poultry producers worldwide use growth hormones to make broilers grow faster and produce more meat.

11 winter pasture tips

Winter may appear as the dull period at the end of the farming year, but there’s much to do and learn about management for spring.

The hunt for the real llamas of NZ

This llama farmer is so dedicated to her quest to find and save the real llamas of New Zealand, she is making a life-changing move to a new home on a new island.

10 reasons chickens become murderers

A chicken doesn’t appear to be a complicated bird, but the social structure of a flock is complex.

Meet the stars of Pecking Order

The 2017 National Poultry Show is a celebration of NZ’s oldest poultry club, and its members are all stars of a chick flick with a difference.

Slavko Martinov talks brain tumours and Pecking Order

The director of the new film Pecking Order talks about the bizarre world of poultry showing, and how a brain tumour has shaped his outlook on life.

Why Japanese quails might be the bird for your block

Lifestyle block owners and city dwellers can breed a healthy profit by introducing Japanese Quail as an option for quick profit 'turn around', by becoming a supplier of fancy eggs.

How this rare pig could aid biomedical science

The rarest pig breed in the world is teetering on the brink of extinction, and the few people working to save it would love some help from anyone who enjoys the company of pigs, and a good slice or three of the tastiest bacon around.

Hedgehogs: friend or foe?

Hedgehogs present a prickly problem, being both garden friend and foe.

Get to know your chickens

There are purebreds, heritage breeds, hybrids, strains, crossbreeds and ‘barnyard specials’ which can make it hard to work out exactly what kind of bird you have.

Confessions of an alpaca farmer

David and Heather Bridson love their alpaca, but there are good reasons why they're not David's favourite animal to farm.

alpaca baby cria

Meet Rosebud the premature baby alpaca (cria)

May 6 is National Alpaca Day, prepare for a cuteness overload when meeting Rosebud the premature cria, and learn 7 things about alpaca.

Alpaca farming

Six myths about alpaca

Alpaca farmer David Bridson explains why a few myths are somewhat unfair to the sweet-faced alpaca.

The best way to clean your coop

Everything you need to know to thoroughly clean your coop and chicken run to help keep it smelling sweet and healthy.

And the winner is...

Meet Sean and Jodi Brosnahan – East Coast farmers, breeders of supreme Angus beef and winners of the inaugural Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards 2017.

5 tips for fighting rabbits

A family of 10-15 rabbits is the equivalent of an adult sheep grazing - here's five ways to to keep them under control.

lamb injured

How to look after animals in an emergency

How to keep animals calm after a disaster and how to plan for animal evacuation.

How a grandpa's invention grew into a multi-national business

When Bill ‘Grandpa’ Kirkham came up with a good idea for a chicken feeder, he had no idea it would turn into a family-run multi-national business.

hen

The signs of stress in chickens

There are many environmental factors that can stress your chickens out, but knowing how to recognize the signs early will help make them happier and healthier faster.

kiwiinthewils

Rare footage of a Stewart Island brown kiwi during the day

Distracted by saddlebacks and robins, Insider’s Guide editor Cheree Morrison never expected to trip over a kiwi.

The mischievous goats behind an award-winning cheese

Naughty yet loveable, the Goodman family’s goats are not just pets but the raw and rather vocal talent in a cheesemaking success story.

3 ways to keep your vet bills low

When you have four cats, two dogs, a horse and 13 goats, vet bills are inevitable, but there is a way to save a lot of money.

Autumn cattle care tips

Cattle on small blocks need a lot of feed going into autumn and winter. Here are some tips to keep them happy and healthy in the cooler months.

How to make your hens like you

Some hens aren’t fussed on humans, while others think they rule the roost and don’t understand why they can’t live with you in the house. Research by a NZ-based animal behaviour expert is now available to show farmers how to make a hen’s life happier.

What it takes to kill a rat

Rats are incredibly smart, and it can be difficult to reduce their numbers if they’ve learnt to avoid bait and traps. But science has discovered the one thing a rat can’t resist, and Sheryn Clothier has successfully put it to the test.

How to care for your pasture this autumn

It's time to make some tough decisions to make sure you make it through autumn. Here are some tips to ensure your pastures stay in prime condition.

hen

Illegal poultry dumping: why setting a chicken free isn't kind

Everyone has seen poultry dumped on roadsides and around parks , but it's a cruel practice that those who love poultry are trying to stop.

How to use the sick chook checklist

When you have a sick chook, it can be helpful to observe all its symptoms so a poultry expert or vet can give you the best advice.

How to care for sheep this autumn

It’s the start of a new sheep year and the breeding season, so start with tidying up the ewe flock before the rams go out.

The basics to a happy hen

What the Animal Welfare codes say you need to do to give your hen the best environment to keep her happy, healthy and productive.

This is why your eggs aren't perfect

At the first sign of an unusual egg – one without a shell, or those with ridges, pimples or strange markings – the popular advice seems to come from everywhere, but most of it is wrong, and worse, could cause more problems. This is why you need to understand the role of calcium.

10 inventive NZers share their DIY coop designs

From a water-powered hen gate to a repurposed trampoline - ten inventive New Zealand chicken lovers share their best DIY  coop designs.

Incredible images of whales stranded on Farewell Spit

At Farewell Spit NZ Life & Leisure staff Cheree Morrison and Jane Ussher saw nature at its most beautiful and most cruel.

NZer saving animals of all sizes on Victoria farm

A multi-tasking Kiwi with a passion for saving animals has set up a special sanctuary on her lifestyle block just outside Melbourne.

12 summer cattle tips

Grow healthy calves and yearlings this summer by reading these helpful tips:

12 ways to prevent FE using your pasture

Get a handle on Facial Eczema this season by following these 12 tips.

Why natural products for hens are about to take off

With more commercial farms turning free-range, there are going to be exciting, more natural, scientifically-proven ways to fight diseases for all of us.

Serial inventor's wastewater system could revolutionise dairy industry

He blew up his first methane tank, built a boat in the shape of a saucer, and helped to design a super-efficient water blaster, but Coll Bell’s favourite inventions involve manure, and the more, the better.

chicken coop stencil

Make your own 'Chick Inn' coop sign

Follow these step-by-step instructions to create a Chick Inn Coop Sign, as seen on the cover the Summer bumper issue of NZ Lifestyle Block.

How to look after your sheep this summer

Ensure your sheep are the happiest and healthiest they possible can be this summer with these helpful tips.

Build a chicken coop with a living roof

A DIY guide to creating a green chicken coop.

How to help your chooks in the itchy, scratchy season

As temperatures and humidity rise, so do the creepy crawlies in and around your hen house. Listed below are some ways to be rid pests the natural way.

Super hens or old-fashioned girls?

There are the super-efficient commercial hens, or the heritage birds with colour and longevity, but how do you know which bird best suits you?

The secret life of NZ's bats

They may be on your property right now and they come in peace.

Meet the NZers making our country predator free

The government’s audacious goal of a predator-free New Zealand by 2050 needs to harness clever people and smart technology. Meet some leaders in the field.

5 ways to make stock handling safer

Livestock being moved around a property can become unsettled, and that can be dangerous. Here's five ways you can keep things under control.

How to use horse manure with no regrets

It may not smell the greatest, but your garden will thank you for using horse manure to help it flourish.

Goose

A beginner's guide to geese

When you’re considering security options for your farm, you’re probably considering the obvious: alarm system, gate alarm, dog, automatic lights, security cameras, but have you considered the humble goose?

4 things you need to know about the new farming rules

Regional councils around NZ are introducing new rules around farming, and you need to know how they may affect what and how you do things on your block.

The high country station selling merino to NATO

Meet the Williamsons: global merino suppliers raising a tribe of small boys and creating real socks appeal in Omarama.

repurposed chicken coop

Repurpose office furniture into a chicken coop

A West Virginian farmer has some handy ideas for creating chicken homes from an old desk.

sheep in a field

Livestock shots 101

If you’ve never vaccinated your livestock before and not lost any, you’ve been lucky. Vaccination is an easy, cheap and important way of keeping your livestock healthy, and alive.

5 fencing jobs you can do yourself

Anyone can build a fence, but it's a science and an art to build a good quality fence.

A guide to gravity fed water systems

If power is a problem, gravity may be your best bet for a reliable water supply.

10+ pasture picks for bees, poultry, pigs & goats

Spring is a great time for sowing new pasture, but what do you choose if your stock are a bit out of the ordinary?

piglets

5 things to know before you get pigs

Pigs are smart, engaging livestock, and they taste great too, but it pays to prepared for their specialist requirements before you take delivery.

Shark attacks, cannibals and Antarctica

Dr Sea Rottman will soon depart on an all-female expedition to Antarctica - just one of many adventures in her life.

How to talk turkey

Turkeys are beautiful birds, work hard to keep your farm pest-free and make a great roast.

calf and dandelion

Success in calf-rearing

It might seem an easy way to make money, but setting up a successful calf-rearing business is harder than it looks.

Fluffy black beauties

There’s a common theme running through Southland block of Margaret Cockeram.

How to post an egg

One of the most economic ways to get a new breed in your coop is to get someone to post fertile eggs.

How to have hatching success

Part of the fun of owning a small flock is hatching eggs, whether by natural means or with a little mechanical intervention.

Dog sniffing plant

40+ things that are poisonous to your dog

You need to keep your best friend safe from dangers around your home, but some of the most toxic things are sitting on your dinner plate.

5 things to know if you had a drought at your place last summer

The after-effects of a dry summer will still be with you this spring.

The tick of no approval

You may think there’s a wee way to go before tick season starts but in warmers areas tick nymphs, just 2mm long, will already be creeping through the pasture and up the legs of your horses, cattle, goats and deer as early as this month.

A baby robin. Photo: Dreamstime.

What to do if you find an injured bird

Sometimes you may need to help an injured bird, and sometimes its best to leave it alone.

Lambing 101

Are your ewes due to lamb? Are you ready? Here are some things to consider.

Animal grave

How to dispose of a dead animal

One of the hardest things to deal with after the death of large animal is disposing of the carcass.

Horse hay feeder

7 ways to save on feed costs

Winter feed can really blow your farm budget. Here are some ways to cut down on your feed costs during the colder months.

mouse hole

Is there a mouse in your house?

Pests are tricky, secretive creatures and it can be difficult to know if you have a small problem, or a really big one.

lamb and chicken

Knit a lamb jacket

You can buy ‘woolover’ jackets to keep newborn lambs warm, but you can also make your own from scratch, or re-purpose an old jumper.

Coop of the month

Goats and chooks live in harmony in this funky recycled coop in Portland, Oregon.

jersey calf

10 ways to raise better calves

Raising calves can be profitable if you keep in mind these 10 key principles.

goat

What to do if a goat eats something toxic

Most goats have a tendency to nibble first, check the toxicity of a plant later kind of strategy to life, and that can be deadly.

Why your livestock can't stop itching this winter

Winter can be a very itchy and scratchy time  for your livestock.

Bo the trained pig.

Does this piglet think it's a dog?

A West Auckland pig breeder reveals it's easy to train a piglet to follow commands.

Lighting up NZ's economy with lasers

Laser technology might be the next big driver of economic growth in New Zealand according to an Auckland University scientist.

Feed your chicken flock fermented food

Kombucha. Kimchi. Kefir. Fermenting food is all the rage for humans, and now it turns out it can be of great nutritional benefit to your flock too.

Swedish Vallhund

Is this the ultimate Kiwi dog?

This 30cm dog might be the ultimate Kiwi canine.

Top tips for buying your first poultry flock

Avoid ruffling feathers when buying your first flock with our simple guide.

mallard ducks

How to pluck a duck

Brush up on your plucking skills for duck shooting season.

Create a worm windrow.

Create a worm windrow

A worm farmer shares his secrets of making money from worms and manure.

concept chicken coop

Coop of the month: Hönshus-1

There's no reason your hens shouldn't live in style. Introducing our coop of the month, the Hönshus-1.

how to give a chicken a bath

How to give a chicken a bath

When it comes to preparing birds for the annual poultry show season, every one gets a wash, dry and blow wave.

how to build a good fence

5 tips for keeping your fences in good condition

A fence is essential on any property with livestock, but not all fences are created equal.

Signs of a healthy hen

Our top tips for buying a healthy egg-laying hen.

Are ducks the new chickens?

If you like the benefits of keeping chickens, you’re going to love having ducks.

Does a cup of tea taste better with Jersey cow milk?

A Waikato farming family takes the cow by the teats and markets its own jersey milk.

caring for sheep in winter

Caring for sheep during the colder months

The unseasonably hot summer means farmers should keep a close eye on ewes this winter.

caring for cow in winter

Winter is coming – so look after your cattle

Poor grass growth this summer will mean lifestyle block owners will need to take particular care of cows this winter.

Alpaca farming

Why we need to start eating Alpaca

Alpacca numbers are rising, reaching over 25,000 in the last few years, which is why this dedicated breeder believes we need to eat them.

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