For the last three months we have been having some real struggles on the farm with foxes, writes Anna Longthorp. With winter posing various challenges to our productivity, we are pleased to see our figures turning a corner; until it comes to pre-weaning mortality that is. As farmers, we all know how rough it has been for staff over the past six months, and for our guys to work so hard caring for our pigs, only to come in some mornings to a mass of destruction caused by these barbaric animals is simply soul destroying.
So what do we do about it? We have tried various methods of control, but the problem continues. Do we put up fox fencing again? That’s something we have done in the past, but it has pretty significant cost implications when costs are already so high. And, let’s be honest, the most determined of foxes are not going to be deterred by fencing anyway.
Having not had these problems for some 15 years on our farms, and now seeing incidents of children being attacked in cities, it does pose the question, “Is the hunting ban to blame?” Having heard whispers of foxes being rounded up in urbanised areas and dumped in the countryside makes me wonder if this is part of the problem. Would people who defend these animals be so quick to do so if they came into work every morning to the sea of devastation these predators have caused?
It would be understandable if it was for food, but when it is purely for the fox’s pleasure it’s utterly soul destroying.
Anna Longthorp runs Anna’s Happy Trotters, a pork wholesale business supplying butchers, restaurants and farm shops with free-range pork from her family’s 2,100 breeding sows
More articles from Anna Longthorp
Read more from our other livestock Farmer Focus writers