The Flock & Herd website (www.flockandherd.net.au) publishes online articles highlighting disease investigations in sheep flocks, cattle herds and other livestock. Most reports describe investigations done by District Veterinarians employed by Local Land Services of NSW. However, contributions from elsewhere and on any topic relevant to public veterinary practice are welcome. Articles from other veterinarians and researchers are regularly included.
Flock & Herd also aims to be an accessible repository of clinical presentations in livestock and their investigation. It includes archival material from NSW and accepts case reports published elsewhere, with attribution to the original source.
Flock & Herd was launched in 2006. Articles are structured along the lines for journal articles, typically Title, Author(s), Introduction, Clinical Signs, Necropsy findings, Laboratory results, Diagnosis, Discussion and References.
The website has a search function enabling articles on various diseases to be accessed easily and also lists investigations grouped by species and alphabetically grouped by common disease or presentation name. It also has a 'Contact us' page that can be used to subscribe to email notifications and contact Flock & Herd administrators. The website has published seasonal editions since 2011 and currently publishes five editions per year, one for each season plus the proceedings of that year's District Veterinarian Conference.
The website hosts an archive that goes back to the original Stock Inspectors of 1894 with articles from annual conferences commencing in 1918. All articles, including those back to 1937, have been transcribed to text and are fully searchable.
Articles usually contain photographs of animals with clinical signs, necropsy and laboratory findings, with recent articles including videos of clinically affected livestock.
As of May 2023, the Flock & Herd website hosts 251 sheep articles, 227 cattle articles and 159 other species articles. During April 2023, the website averaged 304 visits per day (111,000 per year) with an average of 354 pages visited per day (129,000 per year).
Most visits were from the United States followed in order by Australia, Great Britain, India, Russia, Canada and Ireland. Half of visitors found the site via web search engine such as Google and 47% via direct address, bookmark, or link in email. One third (33%) of visitors used Windows operating system, 28% iOS, 22% Android and 12% used macOS.
The Flock & Herd websites is optimised for computer, tablet and mobile phone browsing.
All contributions are sent initially to our Co-Ordinator (currently Dr Kate Sawford) who then distributes them to a member of a committee of District Veterinarians for review. Reviewers communicate directly with the corresponding author with the primary aim of ensuring that contributions are credible and scientifically defensible. Suggestions are sometimes made on matters of style and editing.
Flock & Herd aims to make it easy for District Veterinarians and others to contribute reports on cases that might be novel but also those that are more routine. The reviewing process aims to be less onerous (but also somewhat less rigorous) than that of more established refereed journals. Articles also aim to demonstrate good practice in veterinary disease investigations, including highlighting instances that, with the benefit of hindsight, might have been carried out differently.