Lambing season is under way across the SA Murray-Darling Basin region and farmers are being urged to be aware of the risks related with lamb mortality.
A lamb’s chances of survival can be affected by a number of factors, including cold, wet and windy weather, the failure for a lamb to match up with its mother, health issues, poor shelter and being attacked by pest animals.
Natural Resources SAMDB team leader Tony Randall said it was important for farmers to manage for all of these factors and in particular, understanding of predator behaviour and management year-round is a key step in reducing the loss of livestock.
“The main lamb predators in the SAMDB region are foxes, however wild dogs can cause problems in some areas,” he said.
“A coordinated fox management program working with your neighbours before lambing and continuing well into the lambing season is the most successful approach to management and will greatly help to minimise predation and livestock losses.”
Mr Randall said lamb losses had sometimes been unfairly blamed on the protected wedge-tailed eagle, however this was not backed by research.
“Research has shown the wedge-tailed eagle effect on healthy lamb survival is minimal, instead preying on sick, dying or dead animals,” he said.
“Eagles are also known to control rabbit and hare numbers, and are one of the few predators to kill feral cats. Farmers play an important role in the future survival and protection of the wedgetailed eagle, which is an iconic Australian species.”
For more information or assistance with fox baiting programs contact the Murray Bridge Natural Resources Centre on 8532 9100.