WHILE starvation can take its toll on lambs, an even more gruesome fate awaits others during this lambing season.
Sheep farmers in the region fear foxes have been breeding in greater numbers this year.
Some have even described foxes as being in plague proportions.
Stuart Sobey is one who believes it is worse this year than last year.
"Foxes have been dreadful this year. I never lost this many lambs last year," he said. "I've lost seven lambs to foxes in the past week and I've had a neighbour lose five in one night.
"A couple of shooters went out shooting a couple of nights ago and got one, but saw five. They were that wild that they couldn't get a clean shot.
"We think there are a few different foxes attacking my lambs because they are getting killed different ways. At the rate I'm going I could lose 40-50 lambs, which could be between $5000-$6000 for us.
"Foxes do a lot of harm. They don't just kill lambs, they also kill native birds and do a lot of other damage."
Burrumbeet farmer John Fraser said foxes were a problem this lambing season although he was not sure if it was a particularly bad year for them.
"I couldn't say if it is worse than last year but we are aware they are about," Mr Fraser said.
"The way we manage foxes is they're there and you do your homework.
"Before the lambing season, we shoot a few but not so much now because the noise can scare the sheep.
"We sometimes feed the foxes with a lamb that might have died due to malnutrition so that keeps them from being too hungry and killing the sheep."
The Victorian government offers eligible hunters a $10 bounty reward for each fox killed in Victoria in order to help control numbers.
Under the terms of the program hunters must submit an entire fox scalp including both ears, the skin surrounding both eyes and the nose, as proof of a kill.
For further information on the fox bounty visit www.dpi.vic.gov.au/bounty
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