Feral pigs in Australia are a considerable burden to cropping, agriculture, horticulture, grazing and the environment.
The costs of control efforts, losses in production and damage to infrastructure quickly mounting. Feral pigs are therefore one of the most damaging and expensive introduced pests of the Australian landscape.
Baiting is the most common control technique to suppress feral pig densities and to prevent damage in rural areas. Primarily, the toxin sodium fluoroacetate (1080) is either mixed with preferred pig feeds such as grains or used as a central bolus in the shelf stable PIGOUT® Feral Pig Bait.
The PIGOUT® Bait is designed with a poisoned core, specifically flavoured and coloured green to deter non-target wildlife as much as possible. The risk of non-target uptake can be further reduced by the HOGHOPPER™ delivery system which targets baits exclusivley to feral pigs. Baiting for feral pigs is also time-consuming and labour intensive when baits must be replenished frequently. This is a constraint to feral pig management programs on large and remote properties and consequently, some pig populations are baited poorly.
The HOGHOPPER™ does not require frequent checking and so overcomes this constraint to a successful control program, while reducing non-target risks.
Pigs have unique attributes that are not possessed by native species. Pigs have reach, snout strength and a natural lifting behaviour, which when coupled with their height and strength, were exploited to design the HOGHOPPER™ bait delivery station. The sliding access door is weighted so that pigs remain the only species in the Australian landscape to access baits from the HOGHOPPER™.
The communal feeding behaviour of pigs is also advantageous when designing a baiting program, especially where a novel feed substrate and delivery mechanism is to be introduced. Pigs are highly neophobic, which means that they avoid new objects and experiences. Using the HOGHOPPER™ requires only one pig from a mob to become familiar and comfortable with it, then the remainder of the group will learn very quickly.
As the door of the HOGHOPPER™ can be locked in an ‘open’ (free-feed) position, pigs easily access non-toxic baits and become familiar with feeding from the HOGHOPPER™. After the door is closed, pigs learn to lift the door to access the baits. The natural curiosity of a pig results in a thorough investigation of the closed door HOGHOPPER™ until the mob has mastered how to lift and access the feed.
The HOGHOPPER™ holds enough bait for several days of baiting, making it suitable for baiting more remote, environmentally sensitive areas with minimal maintenance.
The HOGHOPPER™ was subjected to extensive pen and field testing during its development to ensure an optimum final design. HOGHOPPERS™ were shown to reduce the population of feeding feral pigs by 90-100 percent when delivering either 1080 laced grain or PIGOUT® Feral Pig Bait, respectively. Moreover, the HOGHOPPER™ successfully prevented all non-target species, including even small rodents, from accessing toxic bait.
The HOGHOPPER™ is constructed from lightweight aluminium and powder coated. The bolt holes are pre-drilled and door rails reinforced to withstand constant and rough use in the tough Australian environment.
The HOGHOPPER™ consists of two vertically lifted doors on either end, from which the pigs access the bait. These doors have perforations throughout to allow airflow into the bait chamber, so the baits don’t sweat or ferment. On the top, there is a third door opening into a central hopper, where the bait/feed is poured. The central hopper fills both sides of the HOGHOPPER™.
The HOGHOPPER™ is rodent proof as long as all the doors are securely closed.
The HOGHOPPER™ weighs about 27kg when empty. It is still vital to ensure the HOGHOPPER™ is appropriately secured to the ground, as pigs (and other livestock) can knock hoppers around or tip them while searching for baits. There are four securing points at ground level through which a star picket or any other type of securing peg can be inserted.
The HOGHOPPER™ is delivered in a cardboard ‘flat pack’ (72 x 75 x 15 cm). Up to 10 HOGHOPPERS™ fit on a pallet. When constructed, the HOGHOPPER™ is 70cm long x 70cm high x 60cm wide.
Four pails of PIGOUT® Feral Pig Bait (256 x 250g baits – 64kg of bait material) or 60kg of grain will fit into the hopper of the HOGHOPPER™. The feed chamber slopes to gravity feed baits into each side of the HOGHOPPER™. There should be no sticking of baits to the chamber walls – baits should freely flow.
The HOGHOPPER™ is designed specifically to prevent non-target animal access. All access points require an animal to lift several kilograms from a prone position. Then whilst holding that position, have a reach of 15cm. Pigs are the only animals in Australia which have that capacity. The HOGHOPPER™ is otherwise sealed, so not even a mouse can enter it.
The pig uses its snout as a shovel, wedge and ram and can lift heavy weights. It is these specific traits that have enabled the HOGHOPPER™ to be used for deployment of toxic material in sensitive eco-systems.
The HOGHOPPER™ is available
direct from Animal Control Technologies (Australia) Pty Ltd
Fax orders and delivery address to 03 9308 9622 or Call 03 9308 9688.
Animal Control Technologies (Australia) Pty Ltd
46-50 Freight Drive
Somerton, Victoria, 3062
Telephone +61 3 9308 9688
Fax +61 3 9308 9622