The Department wishes to record sincere thanks and appreciation for the tremendous public response towards the Agriculture Industry during the recent heavy snowfall. Many organisations and private individuals gave up much of their own time, efforts and finance to provide practical help in a variety of ways.
Rescued lambs presented a particular difficulty, several being orphaned, and requiring specialised and time consuming care. Sincere thanks go out to those who took on the responsibility for their care, buying milk powder, creep food, providing a wide variety of indoor housing, and paddocks.
Now that the immediate crisis has passed, members of the public should be looking toward the next stage in rearing these lambs. Ideally, they should be returned to the farm of origin for weaning in the next few weeks as they will require appropriate grazing: please liaise with the farm on this.
Some may be thinking of keeping lambs on as pets - please note these animals have changing care needs as they grow and should be looked after by a competent shepherd. Before anyone considers such a commitment, please remember that quiet young animals grow on significantly, and will become difficult to handle, even aggressive. This is especially true if you have hand-reared them and male lambs often become aggressive to people as they grow into rams.
All sheep are 'farm livestock' and are subject to certain regulations for their protection and that of the general public. Any sheep keeper must register with the Department as a keeper, and ensure livestock are correctly identified. There are also rules about movement recording of livestock and in some cases statutory testing requirements.
All stock-keepers must have access to easy-to- use and efficient handling systems of the right size and type to control their animals. This is so that you can routinely manage and treat them, and to make sure that they are quietly, safely and firmly handled. Sick or lame animals require adequate attention. Stock keepers are responsible for the welfare of their sheep, and must comply with legislation.
Additionally regulations require that sheep be identified with official ear tags, appropriate to their age and specific records be kept. Please see the sheep area of the DEFA website for further details.