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Protect your sheep and goats

Are you introducing sheep or goats?

There are many diseases that can be introduced "on the back of a truck" from new stock. Before purchasing stock, you should endeavour to ascertain their health status.
  • get a National Vendor Declaration
  • ask for a national sheep health statement which provides information about the disease status and treatment history of the stock 
  • ensure sheep are identified by a National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) device 
  • transfer livestock on the NLIS database if purchased directly from another producer. If the livestock are purchased through a saleyard, they will do this for you
Introduced stock should be isolated from the rest of the herd or a period of 7-10 days. During this time, livestock should be monitored for any signs of disease. This period provides you with with the opportunity to vaccinate and drench. We recommend a 5 in 1 vaccination booster and drenching on arrival.

The quarantine period also allows time for weed seeds and worm eggs to pass through their gut so you can quickly deal with any emergence of new weed species.

Drench resistance is a significant problem in sheep and goats. Resistant worm populations can be brought onto your property with introduced animals so you should use a quarantine drench with at least 4 unrelated active drench groups to combat the risk of resistant worms. Barbers Pole worm is the number one killer of sheep and goats in the Hunter. Consult your vet for worm control advice as worms are the major problem for sheep and goats.

If you suspect a serious or unusual disease affecting your livestock contact your Hunter Local Land Service (LLS) vet or the 24 hour emergency animal disease hotline on 1800 675 888.

Movement requirements

Under law, there are movement requirements for sheep and goats moving both into and within NSW. Contact your nearest Hunter LLS office or download the following documents:

Moving goats into and within NSW

Poisonous plants

The Hunter region is home to many plant species that are toxic to stock. You should be aware of all potentially poisonous plants on your property. The types of plants that are toxic to sheep and goats tend to differ from cattle as they have different grazing habits and, in some cases, are more resistant to toxic plants e.g. sheep and goats are often used to control fireweed as they are less susceptible to its toxin.

Property Identification Codes

It is a legal requirement in NSW for owners of livestock including sheep and goats to have a Property Identification Code (PIC). A PIC is a unique identifier for land where stock is kept and is important in the event of disease outbreaks or residue problems.


Prevention is often much better than treatment and there are many vaccines available for sheep. These should be regarded as an insurance policy by preventing disease from occurring. A vaccination program should be an integral part of your farm biosecurity plan.

Diseases preventable by vaccination include:

  • Enterotoxaemia (Pulpy Kidney) - can cause deaths in sheep and goats, particularly if on lush feed or are supplementary fed. Prevention is by 5-in-1 vaccination, 4 to 6 weeks apart. In high risk situations boosters should be given every 6 months
  • Tetanus - infection occurs through penetrating wounds. The 5-in-1 program for Pulpy Kidney is more than adequate for tetanus protection
  • Caseous Lymphadenitis (CLA or Cheesy Gland) - a common abscess in both sheep and goats. Preventable by 3-in-1 or 6-in-1 (also covers Tetanus and Pulpy Kidney).

Stock feed

In Australia it is illegal to feed animal material such as meat or bone meal, fish or feather meals, to ruminants
including cattle, sheep, goats and deer. This is to help prevent Mad Cow Disease. Ensure that products containing restricted animal material (such as pig and poultry feed) is not fed to ruminants.

Consult your nearest Hunter LLS District Veterinarian who can advise on livestock health, production and safe feeding.

Our focus is:

  • emergency disease prevention, preparedness and response
  • advisory and diagnostic services
  • disease surveillance and reporting
  • residue management
  • certification of livestock health
  • traceability systems such as NLIS regulation

We're here to help - just ask

Contact your nearest Hunter LLS office and speak to our staff who can provide advice to assist you to minimise the risk of health issues in your livestock.

Download this page as a factsheet: