Item 4 of 18
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Welfare of surviving stock

Fencing, water and feed are essential requirements for stock remaining on-farm after a fire.


Securing stock is important for safety and biosecurity. In the immediate aftermath of fire, aim to keep your animals in and your neighbours’ animals out. Building large amounts of fencing, such as re-establishing a full boundary fence, is expensive and time-consuming and often best left to a later stage in your recovery. Fencing a smaller area of the farm securely, using intact fences where possible as well as temporary electric fences, is faster and may be enough to secure your animals in the short term.

Assistance can be sought from BlazeAid but be aware that it can take several weeks for this help to arrive. Check if you are eligible for government grants, especially if your land adjoins crown land.


Ensure stock have immediate access to water from a permanent source. In hot, dry conditions animals require water every day. Troughs are preferred as they are easily monitored and cleaned. Urgent plumbing repairs may be needed if reticulated water to troughs has been damaged by fire. Consider using your firefighting unit to transport water to troughs in the interim.

Opening up dams for stock should be considered carefully. Water quality can be poor due to ash contamination from bushfire making it unpalatable and potentially leading to health issues, especially following heavy rainfall. Monitor for dark water, a bad smell or black scum, and remove access to water that is contaminated.


Feed should be provided for stock as soon as practical, for animal welfare reasons and to maintain production. Note that stock may have reduced appetites for several days after the stress of a fire.

  1. Assess how much feed is available, including pasture and stored feed, and whether it is enough to meet the requirements of your stock for the next few weeks.
  2. Determine if supplementary feed will be required. Refer to the emergency feed budget in your fire plan to determine how much supplementary feed you need for the first week.
  3. Purchase or accept donated supplementary feed. Government departments will often provide several days of emergency feed. Alternatively, purchasing your own feed may give you more control over quality, weed status and when it is available. If feed is offered and you need it, take it, even if you are not the worst affected farm in the region.