Combine resources for feral pig control

The noted spread of feral pigs across the majority of central-west NSW brings many concerns besides the obvious.

Feral pigs are renowned for pasture and crop destruction and they have the potential to impact waterways by causing erosion and water quality problems. Current breeding in many areas will result in large populations that remain elusive and hard to manage for a long period of time.

If a commitment to eradicate is not undertaken in local areas the growing pig population will encourage pig poachers, illegal trespass and an established feral pig population that may take years to control.

LHPA rangers are able to provide resources to assist and advice on best methods and practices for the present seasonal conditions.

Best practice number one is to work with your neighbours and commit to baiting and trapping together.

Feral pigs often move in groups and roam across a home range of 15 square kilometres.

Sows with piglets may not roam as far but feed conditions can influence their movement.

If you have a pig problem be discreet who you tell as word spreads quickly about pig infestations and you may have unwanted visitors arriving on your property.

Trapping and poisoning is ineffective in areas where regular hunting, dogging and trespass occurs or control activities to be successful pigs need to settle into a routine of undisturbed feeding and have a regular feed supply.

LHPA rangers can inspect and provide best practice advice on what you need to do for your property. We can provide remote cameras to help detect pig numbers, movements and activity prior to any baiting or trapping.

This may also assist with identifying any illegal entry and trespass on your property.

On a livestock health note, many farmers are approaching lamb or calf marking. Although these events are routine procedures that stock owners perform each year, it is worth remembering the basics.

Animals should be an appropriate age when marking. When yarding, try to plan ahead to ensure that the animals are held in the yards, off feed and water and away from mum for as short a time as possible.

Stress prior to and during the procedure elevates a hormone in the animal’s body called cortisone which slows wound healing and reduces resistance to infection.

All animals should receive at least a 5-in-1 vaccination at marking, and a booster four weeks later. This will protect them against tetanus associated with marking, as well as several other Clostridial diseases.

Vaccination is like insuring your house for fire - you hope you never need it, but you can sleep easy at night knowing it’s there.

The technique for castrating lambs and calves, and tail docking lambs will depend on the farmer’s personal preference, but usually is either with a knife or rings. Remember that there are always advances in technology, even for these routine management procedures, and there are new techniques and equipment available to make your job easier.

And of course, hygiene is critical. Wash your hands and instruments frequently during the day in a suitable disinfectant, and try not to mark lambs or calves in dusty or wet conditions.

If you would like to discuss your current or future castration and tail docking procedures or to develop a vaccination plan for your property please contact your local LHPA district veterinarian.

- Western Magazine

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