AUSTRALIAN Wool Innovation’s general manager of research, Dr Jane Littlejohn, has urged wool growers not to be silent if they needed assistance after recent bushfires.
The qualified veterinarian and cattle owner has offered a range of advice to livestock producers affected by the fires across New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria.
She said livestock owners needed to get people to assess their situation and get authorised vets on property as soon as possible.
“Questions needing answers include what fencing have I got, what do I need to feed animals, how do I treat animals and also what do I need to do to keep animals safe in terms of fenced areas?
“In terms of feeding livestock – what food do I need, do I need hay do I need grain how I am going to feed it out?”
Other questions included what water was needed, is the water source safe and is the water container safe, because contaminants can kill livestock, she said.
Dr Littlejohn said livestock owners should ask for help from state government authorities and if phone lines are out “get someone else to call or go down to town and keep asking”.
“Don’t be silent on this, there is professional help available,” she said.
“Sadly some stock will need euthanizing, but a vet experienced with burns will be the best person to do this.
“It is surprising how bad the welfare implications can be from burns, you can look at a burn it is often much worse than you think,” Dr Littlejohn said.
“You need that detached experience person to make the decision.”
Dr Littlejohn said the Australian Veterinary Association had good guidelines for the best disposal places.
“Growers need really good advice on all these things.”
“Stock will be freaked out by the fires, everything will smell different, feed won’t look familiar so minimal handling is the first thing.
“Livestock will either be off feed for several days, roughage is always good,” she said.
“Introducing new feed is always a problem as it upsets rumens and intestines so you have to introduce new feed slowly … have a look, have a smell.
“For farmers attached to their land and their stock I can’t think of anything worse apart from a war.”
Information on recovering from the bushfires can be found at https://www.wool.com/bushfires