Our Animals

This is the most common cause of death in poultry

A breathing problem in chickens is difficult to diagnose, and not to be sneezed at.

Finding and keeping an ethical beekeeper

Pick your beekeeper carefully, and you will be totally in the clover.

Vote for us: People's Choice Award

NZ Lifestyle Block has been named a finalist in the MAGSHOP People’s Choice Award – and we need your votes!

9 common mistakes when you're raising chicks

If you’re raising chicks this spring, here’s how to avoid some common mistakes and ensure yours get the very best start in life.

Film review: She Shears

A  must-see New Zealand documentary follows five female sheep shearers on their journey to the Gold Shears.

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.

Expert tips on raising fat healthy lambs

During one very bad winter, award-winning sheep farmers Lynley and Matt Wyeth lost 1000 lambs in one night. They've since implemented a ground-breaking indoor lamb-raising programme. It drastically increased lamb survival rates, but also production and profitability.

A new take on the classic NZ sheepskin

A Wanaka couple’s enthusiasm for natural-fibre products weaves essential purpose into their business, warmth into their home, and ties them to a very personal pioneering past.

We're going on a truffle hunt

Hunting for truffles is not for the impatient or the olfactorily impaired. Success calls for a sniffer-out of buried bounty – in other words, a dog.

20+ things chickens know by instinct

The chicken is a fighter, not a lover, a born percher and bather, but not that bright when it comes to knowing who their friends are.

The farming family taking Blue Ducks under their wing

Fortunate indeed are the endangered Blue Ducks now flourishing under the protection of a family that has figured out how to combine farming with eco-tourism.

How this couple built a thriving quail egg business from scratch

Gourmet delights wander round this lifestyle block south of Gisborne, and its owners can’t get enough of what is turning into a delectable little bird business.

Expert tips on raising calves

Profitability depends on the purchase price of the calves, the input costs of calf milk replacer and meal, and the price that can be realised for a 12-week old, 100kg calf.

July on the farm: Be prepared for spring

The days are short, but it’s an important time to make plans for spring.

How to humanely kill a chicken

Death is a natural part of life and you need to make plans on what to do to ensure a bird is humanely culled.

A guide to gravity fed water systems

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

Reader story: Rescuing a sheep from deep trouble

This New Zealand family use teamwork to rescue a sheep in deep muddy trouble.

11 ways to reduce pugging in your pasture

Pugging soil does enormous damage to it, reducing pasture yield by 20-80% for four to eight months, or longer if not remedied. Follow these tips to reduce the amount of pugging this winter.

pekin duck

3 ways ducks differ from chooks

Ducks have different physiology to chickens and require different care.

What your dog is trying to tell you

If your dog often barks and jumps at strangers, pulls on the lead,  or whines when you leave for work these could be symptoms of a relationship problem. Selina McIntyre, a former lion-cub carer turned dog-behavioural expert explains why.

10 cattle tips for winter

Calving time can come any time of the year on a small farm so it pays to be prepared.

How artificial lights can extend your hen's working year

In the old days, hens that lived in sheds with other animals, sharing warmth and lamplight would always start to lay earlier in the season. You can replicate this to keep your hens laying longer.

lamb photo

10+ management tips to ensure your lambs survive

Lamb survival rates can vary dramatically from farm to farm, and your management plays a big part.

Polly's Blog: A vegetarian quandary

When a pig ventures close to home, six-year-old Vita discovers country living cuts a short track from food source to the table. *Warning this post contains a graphic photo some readers may find disturbing.*

Pets make the best therapists

The president of Canine Friends Pet Therapy is used to people looking straight past her or peeking over her shoulder, but Ann Evans is happy to step aside and let her furry stars shine.

Why red mites are such a big pest for chickens

One of the most aggravating pests in any hen house is red mites. They’re also one of the hardest to spot until they’re a real problem.

10 adorable guinea pig facts

Nothing prepares you for the special challenge of caring for these pigs.

Odd reasons your chicken might be lame

If you have a limping chicken, you need to turn detective and work through the clues.

Why scientists are interested in these rare NZ sheep

Five of the rarest sheep breeds are living reminders of New Zealand’s colonial history, but may also hold the genes to future farming success and much more.

A quick guide to feral sheep in New Zealand

These five feral sheep breeds are vastly different to romney breed which make up approximately 68% of this country's sheep population.  They are extremely rare and are part of New Zealand's colonial history.

Recipe: Bake your own natural dog treats

A simple oat cookie that dogs can eat as an alternative to manufactured treats.

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.

chicken

How to tell if your chicken has caught a cold

Chickens with breathing problems can wreak havoc with your flock and are difficult to identify, but here are some signs to look out for.

Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards Supreme Winner announced

Richard and Helen Dorresteyn are committed cheesemakers, inadvertent buffalo farmers and deserving Supreme Winner of the Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards for 2018.

otago cavalcade

Behind the scenes on the Otago goldfields cavalcade

Discover "real New Zealand like it was 100 years ago" on Otago's cavalcade, the high country horse ride of a lifetime.

Auckland A & P Association celebrates 175th Anniversary

The Auckland A & P Association is celebrating its 175th anniversary at this year’s Royal Easter Show. But the family event looked quite different at its premier in 1843.

5 tips for beating every pest on your block

From cluster flies to feral cats, we’ve got tips and products to help you beat the pests on your block.

 

Cattle tips for Autumn

Calves and rising yearlings are the main priority in autumn.

Your sheep care checklist in autumn

It’s a great decision time for sheep farmers as it’s time to tidy up the flock before the rams go out to start the next breeding season.

Build a chicken coop in a day for less than $100

This step-by-step guide shows just how easy it is to build a basic chicken run without breaking the bank.

 

Stop parasites feasting on your poultry this summer

We look at the insects that can have population explosions in your hen house over summer.

What we can learn from the ancestors of the domestic hen

Get a better understanding of your hens by learning about their South East Asian ancestors.

The Matakana sancutary for animals in need of TLC

We visit a sanctuary for unloved animals and injured birds on a unique lifestyle block set up just for them.

Tips for a breezy summer with your livestock

How to protect your livestock from facial eczema and why it pays to have good shade.

How to give your coop a thorough clean out

Summer is the perfect time to clean out your hen house when there’s enough daylight hours and warmth to let it thoroughly dry out.

Tips for happy hens this summer

Look after your chooks in the summer heat and avoid pesky red mite with these handy tips.

4 tips to taking on a 'blocksitter'

We need a break beyond our boundaries sometimes, and that means making sure animals, gardens and your home are safe and secure without you.

DIY project: Make your own egg carrier

Make sure your eggs stay intact when carrying them from chook house or farmer's market with this easy-to-make DIY egg carrier.

Five reasons to add guinea fowl to your flock

These birds look crazy, sound crazy and can act crazy too, but no person, insect pest or predator can get past them.

What your hens' eggs say about them

Sometimes the nest box holds a little egg of horrors.

 

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.

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.

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.

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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