Preparations are underway to rescue 1,000 sheep that were stranded in Forbes in west central New South Wales before major flooding was predicted.
- Farmer Warren Bailey says helicopters will be deployed to winch the herd to safety
- He says the animals are still in reasonable condition, but time is running out
- The Lachlan River is expected to reach major flood stage this week
The ewes and lambs were stranded in a pen which is slowly filling with floodwater from the nearby Lachlan River.
Farmer Warren Bailey has owned the property for around 18 months and said he was confident the sheep would be safe in this particular pen.
He said he’s been trying to move them to higher ground for the past few weeks, but the wild weather hasn’t helped.
“We are very concerned that it is now at the stage where it could break through the banks, especially since these sheep have been camping on the banks of the dike probably for the last three weeks due to seepage. , Mr. Bailey said.
“The paddock of around 100 hectares is probably down to three or four hectares now due to seepage.”
Bring in the helicopters
Wet conditions mean the sheep cannot get out of the paddock.
A call has been made for help to find other ways to bring the ewes and their lambs to higher ground.
Mr. Bailey said he was working with local land departments and the state emergency service, which on Thursday arranged to bring two helicopters to safety to winch the sheep.
“We are currently looking at having a helicopter or two helicopters at this stage, with a possible backup of a few boats if we can find them,” he said.
Mr Bailey said he understood the helicopters would use crates to transport around 20 to 30 animals at a time.
“They practically only have to go 600 meters to a kilometer,” he said.
Mr Bailey said he was looking forward to getting his herd to safety.
“They would start to be in a low state,” he said.
“They are still well and truly fit and there is no problem that they cannot manage this transport, this evacuation.
“Obviously I’m going to feel a lot better when I bring them back and we can get the feed cart working properly on them and not just feed them hay.”
The river is expected to exceed the major flood level of 10.55m on Thursday and could reach 10.8m on Friday, which would be similar to a flood in June 1952.
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