Story: Diseases of sheep, cattle and deer

Cobalt deficiency

Cobalt deficiency

The sheep on the left has a cobalt deficiency; the one on the right is normal. Sheep are more susceptible to cobalt deficiency than cattle, but the effects of severe deficiency are the same – emaciation and eventual death. Cobalt deficiency or bush sickness was first recognised as a problem on the pumice soils of the North Island. However, it can also occur on other soils after a period of farming.

Using this item


This item has been provided for private study purposes (such as school projects, family and local history research) and any published reproduction (print or electronic) may infringe copyright law. It is the responsibility of the user of any material to obtain clearance from the copyright holder.

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Gary Clark, Neville Grace and Ken Drew, 'Diseases of sheep, cattle and deer - Bush sickness and other mineral deficiency diseases', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 29 May 2023)

Story by Gary Clark, Neville Grace and Ken Drew, published 24 Nov 2008