For the last 30 years, The Vet Centre Richmond has been the leading provider of vet services to the Tasman area, led by Andrew Conway, a deer farmer himself. Andrew and Jacqui Conway winter around 400 red deer in 88 Valley, Wakefield. Andrew is currently a committee member on the local Deer Farmers Association and has been its president in the past. He is also on the Deer Branch of the NZ Vet Association (NZVA) committee and one of two vets representing the NZVA on the National Velvet Standards Body (NVSB).
In previous years Andrew was involved in Artificial Insemination and Embryo Transfer in deer in the Nelson region.
The majority of the deer farmed in Nelson are European Red Deer, either imported recently or derived from original stock of European descent from the New Zealand wild (Rakia or Nelson West Coast strains). Some farms breed Elk or Wapiti, or hydrids of this type for meat producing farms where these larger animals are used as terminal sires. The Elk type animal are more prone to some health issues, such as parasites, compared to the hardier Red Deer which are smaller in frame but breed more consistently with on average less health issues. In addition, they are considerably easier to manage in deer handling facilities.
Although the deer numbers in Nelson and Tasman have decreased in recent years due to changing land use, it is still a industry with a solid basis and continues to yield good returns to farmers. They are a relatively easy animal to farm but markedly different from the more traditional sheep and beef, requiring some special skills and management. They also have some diseases quite specific to deer, such as Yersiniosis, and specific mineral requirements different from other livestock e.g. copper. As a result the veterinary understanding of these animals is also unique in many ways. The Vet Centre is fortunate that both John Mace and Andrew are very knowledgable in the needs of deer.
The services that The Vet Centre provides includes:
- TB Testing
- Pregnancy Scanning
- Disease management systems
- Feeding systems
- Trace element monitoring
- AI (Artificial Insemination) Services