The ultimate sick chook guide + a case study
Working out what’s wrong with a sick chicken can be tricky, even for an expert. Here’s how to improve your odds of getting a diagnosis, and prevent illness in your flock.
New technology creates virtual fences for cows
A new venture aims to give farmers back what they value most — time.
6 ways to work out if your hens are laying
If you're not getting all the eggs you expect, Sue Clarke explains how to work out who's laying, who's about to, and who's cruising.
Why chickens are liars
When a bird gets sick, it turns on its amazing powers to trick us.
6 nutritious plants to grow for happy chickens
How to create a nutritious mixed salad and creepy-crawly entrée that will improve the health of your chickens.
6 tips for safe bottle-feeding
Follow this easy checklist to make sure you're feeding your baby animals safely, so you avoid nutritional scours, and the risk of aspiration pneumonia.
How Snowflake the goat kid overcame pneumonia
Country vet Sarah Clews meets goat kid Snowflake during his hospitalization from a bad case of pneumonia.
Why you should consider raising turkeys
Turkeys are beautiful birds, work hard to keep your farm pest-free and make a great roast.
A beginner's guide to hoof trimming
Limping cattle, sheep, and goats are a common winter sight, but there are ways to fix and prevent it.
9 things to consider 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.
The no-grain clucking composting system
US compost-maker Karl Hammer runs a grain-free flock that works hard for a living.
What to plant for happier chickens
The ideal poultry habitat is full of trees, shrubs, perennials, and annuals, which provide shelter, protection, and nutrition.
This big duck has no quack
It looks like a duck (but doesn't quack), acts like a goose, roosts like a chicken, and tastes like beef.
3 things your stock will thank you for this winter
Healthy stock easily cope with the cold. But combine cold, wind, and rain, and stock can become stressed. Here are three ways to help them cope better in winter conditions.
A Motueka couple's long road to importing adorable Valais Blacknose sheep
They’re often mistaken for stuffed toys, but Valais Blacknose sheep are real and spreading their cuteness around New Zealand.
A rare herd of cuddly-looking giants near Taupo
They look quite cuddly, and they're roaming on a farm near Taupo, but farming them isn't for the fainthearted.
5 things to know about lice in poultry
They’re small, they’re fast, and they can bug your birds all year round.
A guide to biosecurity on your lifestyle block or farm
Good biosecurity will save you money and heartache.
This premature lamb weighed the same as a guinea pig
A case study of Davie, the premature lamb.
5 toxic mistakes you may be making with your chooks
There are all kinds of myths and 'fake news' about poultry, and some of them are deadly.
3 bad eggs & what they're telling you about your hens
Some are more common in older hens than others.
Inside the curious world of pigeon racing in NZ
This fancier’s pet project sees an ordinary bird taken to extraordinary heights.
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?
How daylight affects egg production
One of the biggest influences on your hens' health is a star in the sky.
11 tips for caring for your livestock this May
Now is the best time to prepare for lambing season.
The rare and wonderful animals of Avonstour Island
John Earney is a collector of many old things, including traditional livestock breeds.
Why you should keep an eye on your chooks' poo
Poo is a useful indicator of flock health, and a possible early warning sign of an illness if you know good poo from bad.
How to test your chooks and their eggs for lead
If there is a possibility of lead contamination on your block, testing is crucial despite its costs.
Reviving a once-dwindling kōkako population
A nature-loving group in the Bay of Plenty revives the local kōkako population year by year. It’s now one of the largest in the country.
What you need to know about lead in eggs
Keeping Chickens NZ's Andrea Graves looks at a study into lead concentrations found in backyard hens and their eggs.
A guide to NZ's backyard birds
How to identify birds and encourage birdlife in your backyard.
How much calcium does a hen need?
We all want to feed our birds the very best, but do they need extra calcium? Or grit? Or is it all the same thing? Poultry expert Sue Clarke explains.
5 ways to reduce flies around your chicken coop
If you have chickens, you have flies. Here are five good options to quiet their buzz.
He's been enraptured with NZ birds of prey for decades
A Rotorua falconer takes flight, spreading his love for Aotearoa’s native birds of prey.
The secret to the lustrous locks of Valais sheep
When it comes to looking stylish, it turns out Valais sheep use the same conditioner as other supermodels.
Tips for happy hens this summer
Look after your chooks in the summer heat and avoid pesky red mite with these handy tips.
Are ducks the new chickens?
If you like the benefits of keeping chickens, you’re going to love having ducks.
The possible reasons your chook has dropped dead
If you own poultry, at some point one of the flock may die, seemingly for no reason.
7 tips for successful beehive placement
Location is critical for bees, and your neighbours.
The lifecycle of the honeybee
Bees might appear to be lovely insects, busy making honey, but life can be short and brutal.
6 chicken disabilities to look out for
It’s important to look for a cause of a disability so you can avoid it in the future.
How these block owners found their perfect livestock
They moved to the country to live off the land. But it took a few odd years to find the right animal for their block.
How to care for aging poultry
Old poultry require special attention, and good decisions about their care.
How to stay in charge of the pecking order
A chicken doesn’t appear to be a complicated bird, but the social structure of a flock is complex.
Build a chicken coop with a living roof
A DIY guide to creating a green chicken coop.
5 ways to avoid drench resistance
Drench resistance is a big problem on NZ farms, and you risk bringing it onto your block every time you buy livestock.
15 ways to prep the farm for summer
Here's how to keep your farm animals happy as the seasons change.
How to build an origami kiwi for Bird of the Year
This paper kiwi is an easy origami project for beginners and kids. Make one to celebrate the Bird of the Year competition.
8 causes of abnormal chicks
Keep an eye on these common factors for your best chance at a successful hatch.
Kelly Wilson: "There were things which reduced me to tears, yet also moments of joy and laughter"
Kelly Wilson spent two years camping on mountain ranges, deserts and plains across the globe observing the behaviour of wild horses for her new book, Wild Horses of the World.
4 expert tips for placing a pest trap
John Bissell is sharing his strategies on how we can be predator-free by 2050.
Can chickens and dogs be best friends?
Dog trainer Christine Nielsen shares her tips for helping your dog to see your chickens as friends, not dinner.
18 common problems with hatching eggs
Knowing the cause of a chick abnormality can help you prevent it in your next hatch.
How to get started in sharemilking
If your cow has the right temperament, she can turn grass into milk, steak, and money.
Why your chicken is losing feathers
Feather loss is normally quite natural in poultry, but it can also be a sign of a serious health issue.
5 things to consider before getting alpaca
It's all too easy to get charmed by a sweet-faced alpaca. But it pays to do some research before taking the plunge.
Meet New Zealand's very own pug saviour
A long-time pug owner opens up her home — and heart — to give rescue dogs a happier, heathier life.
Why avoiding commercial chicken feed might be doing more harm than good
A free-range diet of whole grains and grass is usually not enough to keep your poultry in good health.
Could guinea pigs be the answer for an unruly yard?
The grass in this orchard is kept neat and trim by the cutest, littlest lawn mowers.
10 late-winter tasks for the farm
Keep an eye on the pasture and young livestock as the weather starts to warm up.
4 things you need for a top-producing hen
There are four factors that must be in place if a hen is to live her best life.
Why hoverflies could be critical for future food security
Hoverflies could be our new favourite buzzy buddies.
Why heritage hens lay fewer eggs
A heritage hen's productivity is most likely linked to the breeder.
A pasture-friendly way to feed stock in winter
Break-feeding is a good strategy for rationing pasture over winter.
2 hybrid breeds for twice the number of eggs
While hybrids don't have a long lifespan, these egg-laying machines are the most economical of any poultry.
Lynda Hallinan's Blog: For whom the cowbell tolls
Lynda Hallinan's guide to what – and what not – to adopt when you live in the wops.
How to make a red mite trap at home
These useful DIY tools will help you fight the biggest, smallest pest in the poultry world.
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.
5 important things to know if you want to sell honey
Honey is a food product, and you need to meet food safety standards if you want to sell it.
How dung beetles can improve soil health and reduce runoff
A Whenuapai firm aims to revolutionize New Zealand agriculture by breeding an army of underground critters.
The beefy, beautiful cattle breed for beginners
Red Devon are one of the world’s oldest breeds of cattle and a good option if you’re new to cattle.
Do you have what it takes to raise homekill?
Ross Nolly is a former butcher and a hunter, but still finds it emotional to kill and process livestock he cares for.
10 farming tips for late autumn
Prepare the paddock and animals for wetter, coolor weather.
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.
How does a hen produce an egg?
How a hen produces an egg is quite eggs-straordinary.
Can your hens turn a profit?
If you have too many fresh eggs to eat yourself, selling them seems like a good idea. But making it profitable takes good management, and often a lot of paperwork.
Read our digital edition of NZ Lifestyle Block May 2020
If you’re a current subscriber to NZ Lifestyle Block, this digital edition is yours to keep and read forever.
What’s eating your flock?
Poultry and their eggs make a perfect dinner for New Zealand’s deadliest pest predators. Here's how to start fighting back.
5 reasons your chicken may be limping
You may think a limping bird means an injury to the foot or leg, but it can be a symptom of other, odder causes.
Easy biosecurity precautions keep your flock safe
A few biosecurity measures could make or break the health of your flock.
Why you should think twice when adopting a baby donkey
It's easy to fall in love with a donkey. But the world of wonkey donkeys is not always cute and fuzzy.
A 47km pest-proof fence near Cambridge can keep even baby mice out
An ancient forest atop a Waikato mountain is home to the world’s largest mainland pest-free sanctuary.
How to love your chickens without overfeeding them
While it may be tempting to treat your chooks, long-time owners know that bland feed is best.
Happy Feet: Saving little penguins on the Banks Peninsula Track
Tourists and trampers help a hardworking Banks Peninsula family in their four-decade struggle to rescue penguins, save the native forest and secure their livelihood.
The biggest regret of long-time chicken owners
A lot of long-time poultry owners have common regrets. The coop consistently tops the list.
10 farm tasks to keep livestock healthy through autumn
Late summer showers can bring on a host of problems to keep in check.
A bacon lovin' couple leaves the city to raise pigs
Meet a couple who love bacon so much, they left Christchurch to go pig farming.
A Tauranga family turns pest control into pet food
A Bay of Plenty family is turning pests into profitable products.
8 things to know about possums (and how to catch them)
Catching a live possum can reap a handsome reward.
How to determine if you've got a dud egg
An egg that doesn't hatch may seem a mystery, unless you know how to read the clues.
5 things you need to know about owning teeny tiny goats
They’re very cute, very smart, and very small, with big milking stats.
3 things you shouldn't feed your chickens
Chickens are not the best at self-regulating a nutritious diet.
18+ tasks to keep chickens, sheep and cattle healthy all summer long
Preventative action will keep livestock happy and healthy in peak summer.
What is the difference between a miniature horse and a pony?
It may be time to size up the differences between a pony and mini horse.
3 ways to deal with all that chicken manure
Poo can be a smelly problem but if you manage it well, it’s a beneficial addition to pasture and gardens.
Why your block needs some dock
Research shows a small dock population can do animals good.
15 farming tips for summer: Wean calves, watch for flystrike
Keep your animals happy and healthy all summer long.
How an Auckland couple is bringing native butterflies back to the city
Robert Jones and Angela Moon-Jones are bringing native butterflies back — one garden at a time.
How to use chicken poo (safely) in the garden
You may love your poultry for their sweet natures, colourful looks, daily egg, and possibly meat, but they reliably produce another useful product too.
The 10 things in your home most likely to poison your pet
Your dog has that guilty look on their face and you know they've eaten something they shouldn't. Here are the 10 most common things that send a pet to the vet with a serious problem.
The challenges of making NZ predator-free
Are wild deer and cats pests? A new report says getting people to agree on what biodiversity is, and how to control pests is going to be critical if NZ is to be predator-free.
The secret life of an alpaca farmer
Her working life is dedicated to the glamour and romance of weddings, but another job has stolen Lisa Charteris' heart.
8 Christmas favourites that can make your pet sick
The parties and chaos over summer are a lot of fun, but also include tempting danger foods for your pets.
16+ farm tasks to tick off this summer
Some tasks are non-negotiable as temperatures begin to soar.
How to deal with an aggressive rooster
Psychology can be your best friend when dealing with an aggressive rooster.
Everything to know about raising free-range heritage pigs
Free-ranging heritage-breed pigs are intelligent, companionable, productive and very, very tasty.
Could native birds control pests in orchards?
Researchers hope to find native birds with an appetite for insect pests.
How to manage rooster behaviour
Roosters are the most beautiful of the poultry world, but they are the most trouble too.
Goose owner discovers peace was never an option
Geese are NZ Lifestyle Block editor Nadene Hall's favourite birds, and she doesn’t know why.
Everything you'll need to start beekeeping
The essential equipment you will need and how to find it.
25+ farming tips for November: Watch for lameness, book the shearer
With summer just around the corner, it's time to prepare your land and animals for warmer weather.
8 odd things about the sex life of poultry
Poultry have some habits when it comes to their love life.
Why this Southland woman switched from art to beekeeping
Responsible for millions of bees, 26-year-old Steph Munro of Southland's Munro Honey now combines her design skills with the sweeter side of life.
Penguin playtime: How to make a felt rockhopper mask
Eastern rockhopper penguins might be declining in number, but they’re no less loved by thisNZlife. The cute characters are our top pick for Forest & Bird’s Bird of the Year competition and your kids can play along with this easy-to-make dress-up mask.
6 drench tips for goat owners
Goats grazing pasture generally don’t develop immunity to parasites in the same way as adult cattle and sheep. While there’s little research available, Wormwise report industry feedback is that drench resistance on goat farms is widespread and severe.
How to turn excess pork fat into lard
Get the most out of your homegrown pork by rendering excess fat into useable lard.
Sheep milk 101: Why sheep might be the new cows
The NZ dairy sheep industry is small, but dedicated artisan cheesemakers and one of NZ’s biggest farming operations are working to turn this niche into big business.
How a no-drench strategy can save your animals from worms
One of the biggest problems facing farms of all sizes is drench resistance, and one of the answers is to stop drenching.
How to spot seabirds and penguins in New Zealand
This isn't your average bird-watching. From the Hauraki Gulf to Stewart Island, there are plenty of seabirds to be seen splashing around.
How to control and prevent pests in the garden the natural way
It’s easy to malign pests, but they’re not malicious. Think before spraying them and adopt an attitude of gratitude to the many beneficial insects that feed on the nasties that attack the garden.
20+ feed options to help you grow really tasty pork
The price of feed can be high, but Sheryn has perfected ways of growing the tastiest pork at very little cost.
12 tips for buying an ethically sourced puppy
How to avoid supporting a puppy farm.
This farmer's secret to award-winning cheese? Sheep milk
It took some persuading to get this humble Northland farmer to enter her sheep cheese in the NZ Champions of Cheese Awards.
Seed raising 101: How to raise plants from seeds
Raising plants from seed is a cost-effective way of planting out a garden.
6 home remedies for a sick chicken
If you’re caught short with a sick chicken, a home remedy may help.
A Dunedin woman finds her calling by taking in injured kererū
At 17, Nik Hurring took New Zealand's most accident-prone bird under her wing. She has been rescuing kererū ever since.
How to be a very small dairy farmer (no cows required)
Their small farm and its small livestock are the perfect size for a Northland dairy farming couple.
Why colostrum shouldn't go to waste (and how you can benefit from it)
Colostrum is essential for newborn calves, very beneficial to humans, and – as Sheryn has discovered – simple to cook and delicious to eat.
3 things to do before getting bees
Don't bee ill-prepared for these powerful pollinators.
Grow these plants to tap into the booming pet health industry
A Taranaki gardener has found there are some growing opportunities in the $1.5 billion pet health business.
How to care for your sheep and cattle this spring
It's time to prepare for lambing and calving season.
Bumblebees have smelly feet: How a funny fact inspired a children's book
Discovering that bumblebees live in underground burrows sent the Bay of Plenty’s Rachel Weston on a hunt for knowledge. What she discovered is revealed in her first book.
9 treats that are good for your flock
It's only natural to want to spoil your flock, but know that not all treats are created equal.
Everything to do in August to keep livestock healthy
With spring just around the corner, it's time to get the paddock in check.
Three common questions about raising chicks
How do you find a good breeder? How do you feed chicks that will become layers? Is your rooster shooting blanks? NZ Lifestyle Block editor Nadene Hall and poultry expert Sue Clarke answer your questions.
How to install lights safely to keep hens laying longer
You can use lights to extend your hen’s working year. We look at how to design a lighting programme that can give you more eggs without harming your hens.
A romance-writing vet's guide to raising lambs
She’s famous as one of NZ’s most popular romance writers, but Danielle Hawkins' other job is always calling her. Sometimes, from the washing basket in the living room.
7 tips for feeding ewes during pregnancy
In the final stages of pregnancy, a good diet is of utmost importance.
9 things to do before your livestock give birth
When your lambs are due to give birth it pays to be prepared.
Poultry Q&A: Your chicken questions answered
While chicken care is fairly simple – a good coop, good food, somewhere to roam – birds can have curious health and behavioural issues. NZ Lifestyle Block editor Nadene Hall answers your curly questions.
CHICKEN WEEK: How to keep your chicken flock healthy
The most effective methods for keeping poultry healthy are all about prevention.
CHICKEN WEEK: The ultimate resource for raising happy, healthy chickens
We've collated the best hen stories on our site — everything a poultry owner needs to know on how to manage their birds, from coop design, weird- looking eggs to feeding and breeding.
What to feed (and not feed) chickens
Chicks, pullets and adults all have specific feed requirements.
CHICKEN WEEK: Keeping the peace in your flock
The bird brain needs careful management to keep life peaceful.
3 things you might not know about poultry
Hint: Good egg production often boils down to a high-quality diet.
A beginner's guide to raising your own steak
If you have the grass, buying calves and grazing them on is the best way to fill the freezer with lots of lovely beef.
True or false? A poultry expert quashes common egg and chicken myths
Our expert finds the world of poultry is filled with myths, legends and garlic cure-alls.
Could mushrooms hold the secret to saving bees?
A mushroom expert’s observation may help save the world’s bees.
3 essential types of shelter every block needs
We can put on a jacket or a sunhat, turn on the air-con or add another log on the fire. But all your stock can do is move in or out of shelter.
What the 2018 Colony Loss Survey can tell us about NZ bee health
A record number of NZ beekeepers have taken part in the annual survey of bee health, losses, and beekeeping practices.
The mysterious fluffy chicks that appeared in a block owner's hay paddock
The hay paddock has some ungainly inhabitants, quite unlike their elegant parents.
The chicken coop of your hen's dreams should have these features
Some tried-and-true coop features will make your life much easier.
Behind the scenes at a third generation angus stud auction
A historic angus cattle stud takes winter by the horns with a seasonal celebration.
Poultry anatomy 101: What happens when a chicken eats
A guide to everything that happens in the digestive system after a hen gobbles up its meal.
The disgusting consequences of an alpaca food war
Alpaca fan Britt Coker is sure the llamas have led the alpacas astray.
A Dunedin furrier transforms pest pelts into something pretty
Mooney’s Furriers in Dunedin can turn a home-caught possum or rabbit skin into a gorgeous soft furnishing.
Everything you need to know about the ambrosia beetle
A serious pest of avocado trees has been found in NZ for the first time.
15+ jobs to get done in May on your lifestyle block
Looking ahead to winter and summer is a smart move for the mid-autumn checklist.
How to best feed your chickens (it's time to put down the treats)
The poultry diet tends to look bland to humans, but adding ‘treats’ to it can work against you.
Can chickens and turkeys live together?
The most fatal disease in turkeys is passed on by chickens, which can make the hen house a deadly place for your gobblers
Beware: this nasty chicken parasite loves autumn weather
There is one particularly nasty parasite that can cause symptoms which are often confused with a respiratory infection.
Everything to do this April for a healthy, productive block
Seasons are everything for productivity, so kick start the month with this autumn checklist.
The bee's worst enemy: How to check for varroa mites
Why you need to be on the lookout for this tiny, destructive invader.
Everything to know about raising peafowl
There are few things more beautiful than a peacock strutting his stuff, fanning a full, bejewelled, iridescent tail. Don’t be sucked in, says Ross Lawrenson.
Sheer cliffs and shear determination
On a road trip to the Golden Shears in the new Holden Colorado, Kelly Gillbanks discovers it takes a lot of guts and determination to be a top shearer. It’s a good thing she’s driving the truck of champions.
How to grow a good roast chicken
Chicken is the cheapest meat you can buy, but a home-grown roast can be well worth the effort.
Are you feeding your chickens to death?
Why the right feed is the difference between life and death for your chickens.
Nitrogen 101: 4 ways to reduce nitrogen on your block
It’s not fertiliser, and the cause is probably looking at you.
9 tips for feeding livestock during a drought
More hot, dry weather is forecast and that’s going to have ongoing implications for your livestock, especially if you are relying on supplements.
Tips for a great house cow
These are the cows to consider if you want your own home-grown milk.
3 common concerns about hosting bees
What about swarming? Will I get stung? Will there be bees in the house?
The art of the perfect free range for chickens
Going free-range can improve the health of your hens, but there are some factors to consider when letting your hens loose.
Meet the guardians of bird-lover's paradise Kapiti Island
The vast majority of Kāpiti Island is a nature reserve. But 20 hectares of the iconic island is privately owned by a whānau dedicated to preserving their whakapapa — including the land and everything upon it — and sharing it with the world.
Are your sheep and cattle underweight?
If you’re noticing your sheep or cattle just don’t look as good as they should, but you can’t put your finger on quite why that would be, it’s highly likely to be these key factors, jointly known as ‘ill-thrift’.
February on the farm: Be on high alert for FE
Make sure ewes, pigs and poultry have plenty of shade and keep water troughs clean to encourage drinking.
How a chicken breathes
The chicken has a unique way of moving air through its body.
Very hungry pet caterpillars
The little caterpillar that creates silk is also an unusual and hungry pet.
20+ feed options to grow tasty pork
The price of feed can be high, but Sheryn Clothier has perfected ways of growing the tastiest pork at very little cost.
Could llamas help us beat the flu?
A simple nasal spray using antibodies produced by llamas could give humans protection from the flu.
5 types of common free range poultry set-ups
There are many different interpretations of what ‘free range’ means, and it’s hard work to create and maintain one that works well all year round.
12 tips for caring for cattle this summer
Grow healthy calves and yearlings this summer with these helpful tips.
January on the farm: How to care for livestock in summer
The January guide to livestock and pasture care.
Biosecurity in the backyard chicken flock
What does an official-sounding word like biosecurity have to do with your small flock of chickens or ducks?
Watch: NZ's first flock of cute Valais Blacknose sheep
Valais Blacknose must be the cutest sheep in the world. We meet Sally and Lindsay Strathdee on their piece of paradise in Motueka, and meet their friendly flock in an exclusive video.
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.
What to consider when adopting a dog
There are rescue groups around NZ with dogs that need homes, from puppies to pensioners. Here's what you should think about when saying hello to your potential pet dog.
Pottery hens with a cult following
Yvonne Sutherland has been firing and painting hens for more than three decades and collectors around the world obviously adore them as much as she does.
Protein, fats and minerals: Why bees need pollen
Why native trees and shrubs, pasture plants and weeds are especially important for bees when pollen is scarce.
NZ-made clothes designed in a high-country sheep station
Hayley Rhind moved onto a new farm with her husband and two young children. Then she had a brilliant idea for a clothing business.
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.
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.
Beating facial eczema the old-fashioned way
A genetics company is working to reduce the impact of facial eczema in sheep using some old-fashioned breeding strategies.
Signs your hen might have worms
If a hen doesn’t have any other symptoms of a respiratory problem, then it is likely to be suffering from gapeworm.
A guide to importing farm animals
Bringing a new breed into NZ is expensive, and you can only import certain species of farm animals from approved countries.
Lance and Bridgette O'Sullivan's wedding plans
New Zealand’s Lord of the Reins, Lance O’Sullivan, and his wife Bridgette have found new passions beyond the heady days of Bollinger and BMWs.
Pagan Karauria's shear determination overcoming adversity
She’s a hard job, wool handling. For some, it’s harder than shearing. Pagan Karauria of Central Otago says that’s the case for her, and she’s a master wool handler as well as a shearer.
How to speak chicken
You might hear ‘book book book’ but your flock has a lot to say, and they can be pretty sophisticated gossips.
Polly Greeks' Blog: Bird detective work
Polly and family discover ornithological treasures at wildlife sanctuary Tiritiri Matangi.
This cheese sold out before the cheesemaker cut the curd
Kirsty Silvester and Dave Chapman are true DIY cheese producers, from pasture to pecorino.
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.
7 reasons why the eastern rockhopper penguin should win Bird of the Year
Meet the cute and sassy eastern rockhopper penguin and vote it Bird of the Year.
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.
The easiest sheep of all
This busy lifestyle block owner is a music teacher, hoof practitioner and lavender grower which is why she went for the easiest sheep of all.
How to help New Zealand birds at home
Many of us have grass for cattle and sheep, but there are a lot of benefits to making room for the wild things.
Kids' craft: Make a rockhopper penguin
Keep the kids busy these school holidays and support the Eastern Rockhopper in Forest & Bird's Bird of the Year competition with this easy toilet-roll craft project with printable stencil.
8 things you need to know about donkeys
The donkey is a gorgeous animal, but because most people don’t know much about them they’re also likely to suffer from welfare issues, with the most common being untrimmed hooves, no shelter, and obesity.
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?
Sheryn Dean: 'Does NZ have too many hives?'
Is having your own hive of bees a good idea? Environmentally or economically? If that is the question, the answer may be surprising.
Case study: The mystery of the dying flock
Do not take unexplained chicken deaths for granted, especially when it involves more than 2-3 birds. Acting quickly, through a vet if possible, could perhaps avert an exotic disease outbreak too.
Is your pasture not growing yet? Here's why
September means warming soil temperatures, and for most lifestyle blocks that means pasture will be growing markedly faster than it has in the last few months. If it’s not, it’s telling you one of three things.
Taranaki gardener grows pet health business
A Taranaki gardener has found there are some growing opportunities in the $1.5 billion pet health business.
What feathers can tell you about your bird
Feathers are a feature of all birds, whether they can fly, swim or just live on the ground, and there’s a lot they can tell us.
How this tiny goat breed found its way to NZ
A small herd of tiny goats are NZ's newest breed and it has been a long journey for them and their determined owner.
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.
Tips for caring for young animals in spring
Spring is a busy time and there are important future-proofing jobs if you have young animals.
How to deal with the death of an animal
Unless your pets are cockatoos and turtles, you are probably going to outlive them, which means sooner or later you need to deal with death.
Why Turk's are putting their staff first
This family-run business is the friendly face of poultry farming. Every effort is made to protect the environment and there’s a hatchery in the pipeline.
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.
Film review: She Shears
A must-see New Zealand documentary follows five female sheep shearers on their journey to the Gold Shears.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
5 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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
How to look after animals in an emergency
How to keep animals calm after a disaster and how to plan for animal evacuation.
The signs of stress in chickens
There are many environmental factors that can stress your chickens out, but knowing how to recognise the signs early will help make them happier and healthier faster.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Repurpose office furniture into a chicken coop
A West Virginian farmer has some handy ideas for creating chicken homes from an old desk.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Are your ewes due to lamb? Are you ready? Here are some things to consider.
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.
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.
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.
10 ways to raise better calves
Raising calves can be profitable if you keep in mind these 10 key principles.
Why your livestock can't stop itching this winter
Winter can be a very itchy and scratchy time for your livestock.
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.
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.
How to pluck a duck
Brush up on your plucking skills for duck shooting season.
How busy worms can turn a profit (or at least, a lot of good compost)
A worm farmer shares his secrets of making money from worms and manure.
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.
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.
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.
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.