RANGERS from the Tablelands Livestock Health and Pest Authority (LHPA) are encouraging landholders to undertake feral pig control, following reports that populations have increased in the last two to three years due to improved seasonal conditions.
According to Tablelands senior ranger Mark McGaw, feral pigs require high protein diets to breed and this type of feed has been available for an extended period due to the wet summers encountered in recent years.
“There has been an increase in reporting of feral pig activity and some of the reports are coming from areas that were previously free of feral pigs. For this to occur, populations are building up and pushing out into new areas,” Mr McGaw said.
“Feral pigs will generally reside in areas that provide adequate food and water sources and cover such as timber and blackberries.”
Mr McGaw said now is the time to control these populations, and urged all landholders to be vigilant and carry out appropriate control measures.
“Trapping and baiting programs can reduce populations in an area if they are carried out effectively. If you are considering carrying out a control program there are a few tips to consider,” he said.
* Don’t allow shooting or pig dogging to occur in the area and let the pigs settle down.
* Commence free feeding in areas where the pigs are coming through a hole in the fence or along a watercourse.
* Remove livestock from the free feeding area or restrict their access to it.
* Free feed should consist of grain (oats, wheat, barley) and should be soaked overnight in water. If not soaked the grain will swell in the pig’s stomach making them sick and they will not return.
* If you have access to some molasses, stir some of this into the grain as well.
* Initially place a small amount of soaked grain in the areas mentioned above (approximately two piles in each area, each pile consisting of half a kilogram).
* Monitor this free feed and replace grain as it gets taken. Increase the amount of free feed in the area, until you get to the stage where the feral pigs are taking all the grain. If they start to leave some of the grain, put a smaller amount out.
* Once the pigs are returning to the same location every night or second night, ring your local LHPA Ranger for advice on trapping or baiting.
“Be patient when doing free feeding, as it can take a while for the pigs to come onto the grain. Once they do they will clean up most of the grain and dig up the ground to get it all,” Mr McGaw said.
“Remember if you wish to carry out baiting, you will need a current Chemical card (AQF3 or LHPA card) – if you don’t currently hold this accreditation contact your local office for dates of upcoming courses.”