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Discover the responsibilities of looking after livestock.


Livestock make amazing companions, but caring for all their needs is important in ensuring they live an enriched and healthy life and may not be possible for everyone.

We offer livestock animals for adoption as both companions and pets. You’ll need to provide suitable property and containment facilities for the type and number of animals you’re looking to adopt. You’ll also need to have the capacity to handle livestock, and have access to equipment to safely and legally transport them to your property.

RSPCA NSW also recommends you check with your local council and the Department of Primary Industries before adopting livestock, as different restrictions and requirements apply across the state.



All livestock need a diet that meets their nutritional needs, as this will vary throughout the animals’ lifetime.  Speak to your veterinarian for information about feeding them the right food.

All animals need access to cool, clean drinking water – be sure to check the temperature on hot days in case the water overheats and becomes undrinkable.



All livestock require the freedom to express their natural behaviours, and benefit from environmental enrichment activities which provide cognitive, dietary, physical, sensory and social stimuli.

Animals who usually live in groups, such as cattle, fowl, goats and sheep usually need social companionship with animals of the same species. This helps them feel secure and helps them express natural behaviours. Plus, try to recreate the environments they enjoy – for example, goats love climbing on rocks and pigs love mud baths.



Fencing and gates will vary depending on the species, ranging from chicken wire to three-metre-high mesh fencing. Ensure these are secure and that the animals are unable to jump over it. You should also think about what animals you need to keep out, such as dogs and foxes.



All animals need shelter to protect them from the weather throughout the year, such as a three-sided, roofed construction. During extreme heat, they must be given shelter which protects them from the sun and allows air to circulate freely.
Livestock must have enough space to allow them to exercise freely and express normal behaviours. Larger animals need room to graze and run. Chickens must have room to flap about and dust-bathe, and ducks need a pond so they can swim.


Veterinary care

Having your animals seen by a veterinarian is vital. Make sure you can either transport them to a veterinarian or arrange a house visit.

Quarantining new animals, and knowing their medical history and disease status is very important, as is managing and reporting disease outbreaks.

Identification requirements vary with each species and location. You may be required to preregister before adopting or purchasing livestock. Check with the Department of Primary Industry, and your council for any special requirements and restrictions.