Trapping and poison baiting are common activities employed for the management of feral pigs in the Wide Bay Burnett region. Considered as one of the most important steps for both of the methods, free-feeding allows pest animals to become accustomed to a new food source and attract them to the trap site and, most importantly, interact with the trap (i.e. go in and out).

Mark Lamb, Pest Lures, provides five core pillars that he adopts when undertaking free-feeding activities for feral pig control. 

  • Make sure the free feed is AVAILABLE
    • When undertaking free feeding activities, take the free feed material to where the feral pig activity is (i.e. water points, along a track/intersection, etc.). Sometimes this may be away from the area of impact, and instead may be an area which feral pigs use as a thoroughfare.
  • Make sure the free feed is ATTRACTIVE
    • When undertaking free feeding activities, ensure that the free feed is clean and of good quality. If you are having limited success with a particular free feed material, try adding a lure or attractant on top of the material (i.e. Carasweet, molasses, cooking oil, etc.) or try a different grain type. If possible, make sure that you use the same free-feed batch throughout the entire free feeding and toxic feed process.
  • Make sure the free feed is PALATABLE
    • When choosing your free-feed material, make sure that you use high protein and energy free feed material, ensuring that it is free of feathers, dirt and contaminants. Remember that free feed material will become more palatable at times of resource stress, e.g. pinched seasons, so particular pay attention to these times of year. 
  • Make sure the feral pigs are CONDITIONED to the free feed
    • Feral pig control is more effective when feral pigs are conditioned to a regular, reliable and ample feed source. By following this principle over a 15-20-day period, it will increase the likelihood of the target animal eating enough of the free-feed to improve the selected management effectiveness.
  • Make sure the free feed is TOXIC
    • If undertaking a 1080 baiting program, make sure that toxic feed has no contaminants and is handled correctly in accordance with any regulations. Target specific feeders (i.e. Hog hoppers) can be used to limit soil bacteria and water breaking down the 1080 toxin, making the toxic feed more effective across a longer period of time.

For further information on free feeding for feral pig trapping, see Jim Mitchell’s tips.

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