TB, two letters sure to strike fear into the heart of cattle owners everywhere. Anyone over the age of 20 can still remember the dreadful scenes of burning animal carcases in the 1990s and TB is still a huge problem in pockets of grazing land across the UK. TB can wipe out a herd and ruin a farm, so it is important that livestock owners take all the precautions they can to stop the spread of this disease.
While the link between badgers and bovine tuberculosis (TB) remains unclear and open to debate, there is little doubt that badgers are one of the causes of the spread of this catastrophic disease. Research from Northern Ireland found that bovine TB can be found in approximately 20 per cent of badgers and 2 per cent of deer. To eradicate TB, significant action must be taken to prevent its spread.
Wildlife Biosecurity is the new buzz word being touted by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD), and there is plenty of information and advice available from the government department to help farmers and livestock owners in the fight against TB.
One of the main areas that can be addressed quickly to eradicate the disease is the use of fencing to prevent badger movement. Here at Dodd and Co, we offer a comprehensive badger fencing system that will keep the badgers out and the stock in. DARD suggest fencing off badger setts, their latrines (usually a large toilet area a few metres from the sett) and paths that are followed by the badgers. In addition, Dodd and Co offer badger fencing that will prevent the animals from entering the fields or paddocks where the animals graze, eat from troughs and drink.
We would also add that fencing off silage pits, feed storage areas and cattle housing areas. There can be no gaps under the fence and a simple gate will not suffice as these determined animals can squeeze through small spaces.
Other measures DARD suggest are: avoid grazing fields which contain badger setts; f do not provide feed to cattle where badgers or deer can share it; circular feeders, troughs, drinkers and mineral licks should be designed to minimise wildlife access; raise drinking troughs to over 85cms from the ground and keep them away from walls and ditches; check fields regularly for signs of badgers; and avoid over-grazing – cattle grazing short grass are more likely to come into contact with badger faeces.
As a further word of warning, if there are unusual spottings of badgers in the daytime be aware that this might mean the badger has TB – healthy animals are rarely seen during the day.
For help with all your badger fencing needs, contact us and we can talk about measures to keep your cattle safe.