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Thursday October 19th 2017

Plague of ravenous mice eat Aussie farmer’s pigs

When farmer John Gregory entered his piggery he couldn’t believe what he saw – mice attacking his pigs.

Since he first saw them dining out on his prized stock in Wynarka, 130km east of Adelaide, the 50-year-old father of four has been at his wit’s end about how to get rid of them.

Now, as a desperate last resort, he’s resorted to covering his pigs in engine oil to protect them from the mice, which he says are turned off by the taste.

“The mouse problem got really bad in April,” Mr Gregory said.

“We went away in the school holidays and when we came back we drove up the driveway and it looked like the ground was moving – there were hundreds of thousands of them.”

A few weeks ago we heard about rats eating people in South Africa. Now we have mice snacking on pigs. What on earth is going on??

Mr Gregory said he put engine oil on his 15 pigs to protect them from the sun about once a month.

“But now I oil them every week, because the mice have run out of food and they’re just eating anything, so they were climbing up on the pigs and chewing them,” he said.

“The oil stops them eating the pigs because they don’t like the taste.”

And with mouse bait so expensive, he said farmers were resorting to home recipes to kill the vermin, which had multiplied to plague proportions because of summer rain producing great crops – ideal mouse food.

“Being farmers we’re always trying to do things cheap,” Mr Gregory, from Wynarka, said. “I mix icing sugar and cement, the icing sugar attracts the mice, they eat it and then the cement clogs them up.

“I’ve had enough, I’ve spent $800 on bait over the last six weeks. We’re just over it,” he said.

There are still so many mice, that leaving buckets around buildings is proving an effective trapping method. “I have about 50 buckets around the place, they just drop into them and can’t get out, and then I have to drown them.”

Mr Gregory said he was catching hundreds of mice every night and that he’d never seen a plague this bad.

He has had to relocate his 15 chickens to his mother-in-law’s property in Tailem Bend for fear they would eat the poisoned mice and die.

Mr Gregory said the mice were starting to eat each other – which was a good indication the end of the plague was in sight.

“Plus the cold frosty nights will really slow them down,” he said.

South Australian Farmers Federation president Peter White said cereal farmers had called his organisation to report spending $70,000 on bait but that no pig farmers had reported their stock being eaten.

“The mice run out of food and start eating anything they can,” he said.

Source: Adelaide Now

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