Fox Control and Lamb Survival

Occurring across 80 per cent of mainland Australia, foxes are a notorious pest of agricultural and , pastoral areas. Foxes kill livestock including lambs, poultry, and kid goats. 

In South Australia, landholders are responsible for the control foxes on their properties, including a requirement to kill foxes humanely.

Fox control tools include baiting, shooting, den fumigation and destruction, and cage and leg hold trapping. Deterrent tools include exclusion fencing and guardian animals. The best results are achieved when control programs are coordinated among neighbours and multiple control tools are used and timed for maximum impact. 

Baiting, with manufactured or fresh-meat baits, is the most effective fox control tool. Landholders can contact their local Landscape Board to collect baits, complete the approvals and notification processes, and receive training in the directions for use. Baits must be laid at specific intervals, and there are mandatory requirements around signage and notification required for neighbours. These provisions ensure the safe handling of baits and protection of domestic and working dogs.

Laying baits properly will increase likelihood of bait uptake and minimise the risk of foxes caching of multiple baits. Landholders should place baits along fence lines, fire trails/breaks, vehicle tracks, and particularly at intersections of vehicle tracks and at landmarks within paddocks, such as logs or rocks.

Baiting should occur twice each year during September to April, when foxes are most likely to take baits. In spring, the vixens require more food because they are lactating, whereas in autumn young foxes are looking for new territories and food. Sheep farmers should bait at least 6 weeks before spring or autumn lambing to prevent stock loss.

The fumigation of dens with carbon monoxide gas is recommended during August to October, when vixens and cubs are confined. Den destruction should occur after fumigation to prevent new foxes opening dens. Dens can be destroyed with machinery or hand tools.

Ground shooting can occur at any time, including when other fox control tools are being used. Shooting is most effective with the spotlights, thermal scopes, lures and scents and fox whistles. The use of firearms to control foxes must comply with the Firearms Act.

Cage traps can be used anywhere in SA, and outside of Municipal Councils (built up areas) soft jaw leg-hold traps can be used provided they are checked on a daily basis. 

Foxes supplement their diet with other pest animals, such as rabbits, so the coordinated control of foxes and rabbits will further reduce fox numbers. Rabbit control tools include baiting, biological controls and warren ripping and fumigation. 

Fox control is a good investment. Lamb survival and agricultural productivity will increase with effective control of foxes and rabbits.


Further information:

PIRSA website:

SA Landscape Boards: