Landholders urged to use late break to bait feral rabbits

News article |

The Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board is urging landholders in the eastern areas of the Eyre Peninsula to bait feral rabbits now, with dry conditions seeing a lack of food for these pest animals.

The Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board’s Cleve-based Eastern Operations Team Leader, Liam Anderson, says it’s imperative that landholders get on top of rabbit numbers now while the opportunity is there – prior to seed germination.

“Although we are all keeping our fingers crossed for rain very soon, the dry conditions are a great opportunity to control rabbit populations while green feed is sparse, meaning rabbits are more likely to eat the baits,” Mr Anderson says.

“The last few years have seen the optimum time for bating rabbits subside by now, but our current drier than average conditions, has increased the window of opportunity.

“Baiting can cut feral rabbit numbers by 98 per cent. Rabbits breed up quickly and will feed on crops and pastures. If strategic baiting is done ahead of time, this will optimise germination and greatly reduce the threat that rabbits pose to the early crop.

“The grazing impact of twelve rabbits is equivalent to one dry sheep.”

Landholders urged to use late break to bait feral rabbits
Cleve-based Eastern Operations Team Leader, Liam Anderson with a bait laying trailer which is available for landholders to hire.

Landscape Officers in the Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board’s eastern offices can help landholders set up their baiting program with 12 kilogram buckets of pre-mixed 1080 oats available for $25.50. Bait laying trailers can also be loaned for $60 from the Cleve office.

Mr Anderson says an effective baiting program takes commitment with land managers needing to ‘train’ rabbits to eat oats by supplying three ‘free’ feeds of clean oats before laying bait out.

“A minimum of three free feeds of untreated bait lines are laid at least three days apart, then followed-up with a trail of 1080 oats,” Mr Anderson says.

“The free feeds are a dual purpose activity - not only will the scheduled laying of the clean oats train the rabbits to readily consume them, the uptake of the oats will indicate high feeding activity areas. This will help you determine where you should focus your 1080 baited lines as well as areas that should be avoided to save wasting the poisoned oats.

“Fast action and a small investment of time now can save you a great deal of time and money in the future.

“Rabbit control is an integral part of farm planning, with baiting being only one part of a control program.”

If 1080 baiting is not an avenue of interest, the Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board can help facilitate a release of the RHDV1 K5 (Khaleesi) virus. For more details on this, please get in contact with us.

A full range of other control techniques and best practises can be found on the Feral Scan website and rabbit sightings can also be reported.

Contact Liam Anderson on 0428 282 077 to pre-order 12kg buckets of pre-mixed 1080 oats for $25.50, or to hire a bait laying trailer from the Cleve office.

Landholders in other areas of the Eyre Peninsula are also encouraged to contact their local landscape board office for baiting options if rabbit sightings are increasing.

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