Fencing is one of the most cost effective ways for controlling wallabies and pademelons entering a property, but fences must be built very well and used in conjunction with other control methods such as shooting, trapping, and the cautious and limited use of 1080 poison.
Wallaby-proof fences involve a change of thinking in fencing technique, mostly because wallabies and wombats are so good at going under them.
Key criteria for successful wallaby fencing
A firm, level base
Firm, level base away from trees with good access
Creating a firm level base for every single metre of a wallaby-proof fence is the essential first step for building a successful barrier. Relying on filling gaps after the fence is built will undermine the cost effectiveness of wallaby fencing.
Choosing your route
Plan your fence route to make building a secure fence as easy as possible. This may even mean leaving land outside the fence so you can build, use and maintain the fence cost effectively. Key points to keep in mind are ensuring vehicle access for maintenance, avoiding unnecessary and difficult creek/ditch crossings, considering steel posts where bushfire is a risk, and keeping fences away from trees to reduce damage from falling timber.
In recent times there has been great improvements in mesh fabrication specifically designed to exclude wallabies. A sturdy 11-90-15 mesh can now be purchased with an attached apron. A roll of this mesh is more expensive, however, will only increase the overall cost of a fence by approximately 10 to 15 per cent and could save you money because the correct mesh makes building a successful fence easier by using less posts and there will most likely be less maintenance.
Fencing with an attached apron. The correct mesh makes building a fence easy.
Stopping animals going under fences
A mesh with a pre-attached apron is the recommended option to prevent animals digging or forcing their way between the mesh and the ground. Separate mesh or netting can also be attached as an apron. Electric offsets 125 mm from the ground have been used successfully to seal the interface between the mesh and the ground. Regular maintenance is essential with low electric offsets to maintain the wires, high voltage and to control vegetation.
Electric wires near the ground stop wombats digging but require regular maintenance
Where digging is occurring under a fence it is very likely to be the work of a wombat as wallabies are not good at digging. Electric wires near the ground are effective in stopping wombats digging, provided a high voltage can be maintained. Alternatively, a heavy top swung wombat gate can be installed in the hole that has been created by the wombat. The wombat can push this gate open but the wallabies cannot. The wombat will use the gate because they are very loyal to their regular route.
It only takes one wombat to undermine the effectiveness of a wallaby fence and if a wombat is happily travelling through your gate you need to keep that wombat to maintain the route and that wombat's territory. This will reduce the likelihood of another wombat coming along and digging a different hole under the fence.
Where a fence must end because of a road, obstacle to construction or because of a lack of time and funds to build more fences, a combination of a wing out into an open area and wallaby gates (see link below) can be used to control wallabies that might otherwise go around the end of the fence.
Animals trapped inside fence lines and desperate to escape will become distressed and damage your fences so it a good practice to reduce the wallaby population before completing the fence. Finish the fence as quickly as possible so that wallabies cannot get trapped inside and maintain shooting to get rid of those that do.