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Beyond the Bale : March 2016
38 ON FARM HELP PROTECT SHEEP FLOCKS GUARDIAN DOGS Peter and Marie Crook-King and their daughter Julie Brown are optimistic they’ve turned a corner after three tough years of devastating wild dog attacks, thanks in part to the Maremma dogs they have guarding their flock of 2,600 Merino sheep. It’s not before time. In the 2013-14 financial year the Crook-Kings lost 900 adult sheep and every lamb that was born on their 30,000 hectare property ‘Glenorie’, 85 km south of Morven. “We would see lambs being dropped in the paddock but a week later they were gone,” remembers Marie Crook-King. “The only lambs we got that year were the 50 poddy lambs that we raised by hand.” ‘Glenorie’ is mainly mulga country, some heavily timbered, and forms an island in a sea of cattle properties, with the next closest sheep producers 50 km to the north and 170 km west. The Crook-Kings decided on a three- pronged attack to try to limit wild dog damage – building a 200 km exclusion fence with their neighbours, trapping, and investing in Maremma guardian dogs for their sheep. Three years on, they have 26 Maremmas in work and eight dogs in training. Last summer they marked 370 lambs, which equates to a lambing percentage of 50-60% FAST FACTS • The introduction of Maremma guardian dogs, along with exclusion fencing and trapping, has helped reduce stock losses and increase lambing percentages on the 30,000 hectare property ‘Glenorie’ in south west Queensland. • Guardian dogs live permanently with ‘their’ stock, protecting them from predators such as wild dogs. • They require a big investment of time and money to ensure they’re properly bonded with their flock, but they can prove effective as part of a coordinated campaign with other control practices. A Maremma dog guarding ewes from wild dogs at ‘Glenorie’ in south west Queensland.
In the Shops - March 2016