Farm glossary

To know more about sheep and beef farming, we’ve compiled a short list of terms you’ll hear all the time.

Bull: a mature male animal that we use for breeding. 

Calving: a calf born into this world.

Clip: the total amount of wool shorn on a particular property.

Cow: a female animal that has had at least one calf.

Dagging: trim time. Removing dags results in a less soiled fleece when mobs are in the yards. Having well-dagged sheep means less contaminated wool in the clip, happier shearers and wool handlers. Dags can also attract attack (strike) by blowfly. Also known as crutching.

Dipping: shower time. Sheep dip is a liquid formulation of insecticide and fungicide which shepherds and farmers use to protect their sheep from infestation against external parasites such as itch mite, blow-fly, ticks and lice.

Docking/tailing: removing most of the lamb’s tail and castrating male lambs.

Drafting: sheep and cattle are sorted, usually by a drafting gate located in the yards.

Drenching: medicine time. Using a drench gun, an anthelmintic dose is applied into the throat of each sheep to kill internal parasites.

Ewe: a female sheep. At about a year they start growing their adult teeth. First, a pair of incisors, so a one-year-old sheep is known as a two-tooth. After this, they grow a pair of incisors every year until they have four pairs. So a two-year-old sheep is a four-tooth and a three-year-old is a six-tooth.

Angus cows

Angus cows

Main shear

Main shear

Farm dogs

Farm dogs

Five Ds: frequent tasks completed by farm workers - drenching, dipping, docking, dagging and drafting

General hand: person who tends to the maintenance of the farm. A general hand maintains fences, farm tracks and water schemes. Loves to drive a tractor!

Heading dog: a working and herding dog that uses its visual prowess and quick movement to control mobs of sheep and cattle. A heading dog doesn’t bark.

Heifer: a female animal that has never had a calf. Once a heifer has a calf, she automatically becomes a cow.

Hogget: teenager – a young sheep before turning one year old.

Huntaway: a large, strongly built breed of dog used for general sheep herding. It barks loudly.

Lambing: a lamb born into the world. 

Mob: large flock of sheep.

Ram: a male sheep used for breeding.

Shearers: people who shear the sheep. 

Shearing: haircut time. The process by which the woollen fleece of a sheep is cut off by a shearer.

Hunter hut

Hunter hut





Shearers’ quarters: where the shearers stay while they are shearing.

Shepherd: person who tends to sheep and cattle, and has a team of dogs to muster them.

Single man: not a love-struck man, but a young shepherd.

Steer: a male animal that has been castrated.

Stock units: an indication of the carrying capacity for a farm. 1 sheep = 1 stock unit, 1 cow = 6 stock units

Weaning: lambs and calves say goodbye to mum. Calves that are recently weaned are known as weaners.

Wether: a castrated male sheep.

Woolhandlers: pick up the wool after the sheep are shorn and sort it in the woolshed. 

Woolshed: where the sheep are shorn by shearers.

Yards: fenced areas usually adjacent to the woolshed used as holding pens for livestock.

Yearling: a young cow that has lived for a year.