TICK ISSUES: Turner's Creek sheep headed for the sale yards.
TICK ISSUES: Turner's Creek sheep headed for the sale yards. Contributed

New threat to sheep

DROUGHT issues are high on the agenda for most primary producers, but Del Mitchell has an even bigger concern - bandicoots.

The invasion of love grass has attracted the marsupials to their Turners Creek farm near Dalveen.

Along with bandicoots comes paralysis ticks which are killing their sheep.

"We've never ever had them before,” Mrs Mitchell said.

"They now live here because they've got habitat and shelter and they carry paralysis ticks.

"It doesn't hurt them because they're Australian natives.

"Now the paralysis ticks are killing quite a few of our sheep and lambs.”

She said in the past four years they had lost up to 50 sheep per year to the ticks.

As bandicoots are a protected Australian native, killing or trapping them is not an option.

Noosa bandicoots are lending a helping hand.

Photo Contributed
NATIVE: Bandicoots carrying ticks are causing strife for farmers. Contributed

"You've got to work around it,” Mrs Mitchell said.

"You can't destroy the actual animal, you have to destroy their habitat so they're happy to live a little further into the bush.”

She said the paralysis ticks seemed to be most prominent around Christmas time.

"It's the same as people with their dogs when they get paralysis ticks.

"Christmas seems to be the worst time, but they're managing to go all year now.

"In the middle of winter I found a lamb collapsed, I took it into the sheerer and said 'I can't find a tick I don't know what's wrong with it'.

"He shore it and found a tick and this lamb actually survived because I rugged it and looked after it for a few days.

"If you find them early enough and get the tick off there's a chance you'll save them.”

For the time being, all Mrs Mitchell can do is continue to burn off nearby love grass and hope to catch any ticks before they kill the sheep.