This workshop was held in Bywong in July 2021 and was about constructing animal yards that are suitable for keeping farm animal safe and predators out. Our guest speaker was Chris Curtis from Roogulli Farm.
You can watch Chris talk about predator proofing animal yards in a short video here.
- Think about the athletic abilities of the feral predator you are trying to keep out of an animal pen. Feral predators can push, dig, climb, jump or chew through fences. Foxes can jump up 1.8 meters high. Design your fence based on the animal you are wanting to keep out.
- Breed healthy animals – healthy lambs with good mothers are less likely to by predated by foxes. It is good management to bury the placenta and birthing refuse after lambing. One study found that fox predation accounted for 0.8% of lamb deaths. Choose a breed of sheep known for good mothering, paying attention to nutrition and ewe health.
- Electric fencing provides a psychological barrier for feral predators and other animals, but is generally less effective at keeping out feral predators than a permanent fence.
- To be effective against foxes, a permanent fence should be 1.8 m high with a 600mm floppy top and 600mm skirt that is buried or pegged into the ground. See the link to the Fencing for Fox Control below for more information on designs. An example of an overhanging fence of this type designed for foxes, cats and rabbits can be found at Mulligans Flat Reserve in the ACT.
- You can install a wildlife gate for wombats. The gate should be a steel plate hinged at the top and weighing 4-5 kilograms so only wombats can push it open.
- Guardian animals including Maremma dogs and alpacas are effective in reducing predation by foxes and wild dogs.
Chris provided the following resources for this workshop, click on the link below to open them:
Predator proofing animal enclosures PowerPoint presentation
Bibliography – a list of research papers on this topic
Chris has designed a simple box addition to his chicken coop that allows chickens to enter the coop but excludes foxes. The bends in the entry way are designed so that the fox cannot bend around the tight corners.
Lamb predation and fox control in south-eastern Australia 2001
Fencing for fox control. Factsheet, Centre for Invasive Species Solutions, 2012. PestSmart website.
Cost effective feral animal exclusion fencing for areas of high conservation value in Australia, Natural Heritage Trust 2004.
Alpacas as guardian animals
Guardian Dogs – Best Practice Guide to the use of Maremma dogs as guardian dogs, Invasive Animal Cooperative Research Centre
Toolkit resource - guardian animals for livestock protection and wild dog exclusion
This project was supported by the NSW Government through a grant from South East Local Land Services.