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Beyond the Bale : September 2015
42 ON FARM Moving sheep through yards and the woolshed or onto trucks and trailers can be a time consuming job. As woolgrowers know, sheep are instinctively reluctant to move in a direction that is confined, noisy or appears to be some sort of 'trap', and will not naturally enter an area unless it is occupied by another sheep. However, there is now on the market a very simple and effective way of enticing sheep to move into a new location -- by using a decoy -- to make sheep 'think' there are already sheep in the location. Spike and Kirsty Wall, who run 3000 sheep on 'St Hilary' near Inverell in northern NSW, have developed and are retailing 'Livestock Lures'. These are a life sized picture of a sheep, displaying the side profile of the whole animal including the face, printed on 90cm x 60cm weather resistant plastic Corflute. Spike says when positioned in a desired location (such as a catching pen or the front of a trailer), the sheep look at the decoy, quickly identify it as a sheep, and are lured towards it, naturally enticing the rest of the group to follow. LIVESTOCK LURES CUT TIME "I got the idea when I was having difficulty moving our sheep under the wool shed to keep dry," Spike said. "I remembered how my father had used mirrors as decoys, but they can be expensive and dangerous if they get smashed, so I started using a large picture of a sheep which worked really well in the sheds and yards." Livestock Lures lend themselves to a lower stress style of stock handling. They will not eliminate the usefulness of dogs, however they work best when the sheep are allowed time to look at the lure instead of turning the focus of their attention onto a dog. A single Livestock Lure can be easily moved to be used at different locations, or multiple Livestock Lures strategically placed can be used to further decrease the time taken to herd the sheep. In the woolshed, sheep are often difficult to force into catching pens because they have to move in the direction of the noise and activity of the board. Livestock Lures give the sheep a feeling of security and encourages their natural herding instinct to move towards what they perceive to be a safe place. "They can also be used to help move sheep in the yards, onto trailers and multiple decks of trucks or even ships. It can also keep isolated animals calm, for example, when there is only one sheep left in a catching pen after all other sheep have been shorn." Spike has provided the Livestock Lure to neighbours to test on their own sheep, yards and sheds. Heath Grills of 'Glenorchy' at Inverell said the decoy is a really handy tool that has saved him a lot of time in the yards. "In our shed they've saved our yarding time by half if not more," he said. "Pretty much the sheep go up to the decoy every single time, and they sniff it for five or ten seconds. It's changed the way we yard up, especially at shearing time and even more so at crutching time." Spike has patented Livestock Lures and is developing the product for all other herding animals. MORE INFORMATION The Livestock Lures cost $20 each plus postage. For more information or to order, visit www.livestocklures.com or contact Spike on 0459 255 677 or spike.kp ipstarmail.com.au A Livestock Lure positioned in a shearing shed. The lead sheep spots the Livestock Lure and 'thinks' there are already sheep in the location. The lead sheep is drawn towards the Livestock Lure, naturally enticing the other sheep to follow. A newly released product -- the Livestock Lure -- is a decoy that encourages sheep to quickly and instinctively move location, helping woolgrowers save time and labour in the shed and yards.