Breaking the Tuberculosis Link Between Badgers and Camelids With Electric Fencing
Bovine Tuberculosis (bTB) has clearly become a major issue amongst camelid breeders coupled with the possibility of valuable livestock contracting the disease from infected Badgers. Many owners are now seeking to exclude the badgers from their property to protect valuable breeding stock from infection.
Badgers are attracted to the turf upon where the Camelids may be grazing where they seek out earthworms and grubs upon which to feed. It is therefore necessary to exclude them from the grazing area. There are two methods of badger exclusion and both involve fencing. Firstly there is the conventional high tensile mesh fence. It is highly ornate, involves burying the wire in to prevent badgers digging under and very expensive. Whilst very effective, Badgers have been reported to clamber over these fences.
The next solution is to use an appropriate electric fence to give the badgers a sharp, but non-lethal “sting” on the nose if they try to get into a protected area. There are two types of fencing applicable to excluding Badgers.
1. Strained-wire fences consist of a series of electrified parallel conducting wires at varying heights above the ground similar to a standard stock fence. The conducting wires of strained-wire fences can be made from either polythene twine interwoven with steel strands (polywire) or galvanised steel. The steel wire is a better conductor, far more durable and is cheaper.
2. Electric netting consisting of a woven mesh of poly twines containing electrical filaments. These are very easy to erect and move, very effective but are more intrusive and require larger energisers.
Electric fencing has been shown to be highly effective in excluding badgers in scientifically sanctioned trials whilst the cost is a fraction of the conventional fence. If both fence types are maintained properly they are equally effective. However, galvanised steel fences appear to be more effective than their poly wire counterparts. There is a greater proportion of the wire open to contact and wire will last a lot longer than plastic twine – up to 20 years.