Cattle handling pens

DrDunc

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Dunsyre
Here's the story:

Updating the 100 year old cattle pens here (ok, slight exaggeration, they're 60 year old, but situated in the 200 year old former dairy byre which is somewhat remote from the "modern" housing, and usually requires a few bodies to block holes in the journey between the two locations)

I've a crush, Bateman supor mobile forcing circle, and plenty cattle hurdles. With the addition of spreader hoops and swinging gates within frames, the plan is to have 3 of 8x20 foot crowding pens leading into the forcing circle, then a 30 foot sheeted race before the vet access box and crush.

Will I need fixed posts to anchor the pen hurdles and sheeted race? Or will the weight of the bits hold it in situ?

I am especially skeptical concerning the stability of the 30 foot race made from 10 foot sheeted hurdles pinned together with spreader frames maintaining the width.

Initially the surface is planned to be aggregate over the rubble that I'm using to make an 80x25 foot site on the hillside alongside one of the sheds. Alternatives to aggregate? 40mm gravel? What will the cattle prefer and what's more likely to hold the pens stable if posts aren't required?

Concrete will happen when funds and time permit.

Any suggestions or experiences please!
 
Fix as much with posts as possible
I'd make the pens wider than 8ft.
Probably 10 or 12ft with half gates and a lift out post In the middle.
I'd also set up a gate to shed cattle as they come out of the crush.
Definitely wouldn't go any longer than 30ft for the race before the crush.
Sliding gate at the back of the race is good.
I put in a hinged section of the crowding tub to load cattle with the forcing gate.
 

dannewhouse

Member
Location
huddersfield
Why go for 10/12 ft with 2 gates to a lift out post?
I find it much easier following cattle up with 1 longer gate than trying to grab for 2 at once?
How many and what size cattle do you want to hold in the pens?
I have been told an improvement to a race would be a shedding gate and 2 sorting pens.
 

DrDunc

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Dunsyre
The eight foot wide crowding pens are to suit the 16 foot "supor"forcing circle, but I like 8 foot: I find it's narrow enough that neither yearlings nor cows can turn on you, but wide enough you can shed them past without getting kicked. I'm (fairly) sure they'll run into it fine when all three of the 20 foot pens are open into the forcing circle.

I was intending putting a shedding gate at the end of the crush so they go back out to the collecting pen, or into the first of the three crowding pens. Hadn't thought of putting one in the race? Wouldn't there need to be a sliding gate before it to stop the rest following the first one out?

If everyone thinks the 30 foot race will need anchored, then I'll have to put in some posts prior to concreting.😭 I suppose a 3 or 4 fence strainers would be the cheapest/quickest?

I'm also wanting to load the ifor with 7 or 8 yearlings out of the end of the crush. Does this work in practice, or do you get one turning back before the last has got out the crush?

I loaded cattle in Australia out a race into a single file loading ramp onto the lorry. Does anyone else load them out the crush into the ifor?

It worked well in Oz, but the cattle were wild and would run anywhere!

Thank you for the tips everyone 👍
 

som farmer

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
somerset
the yanks seem to have cracked cattle handling systems, and they seem to manage a lot of sorting, single handed, get on u'tube, and watch ! We left dairy for a few years, and built a very simple handling system, going back into dairy, AI man, vets, and TB testers, even the foot trimmer, all say it's great.
We can put cattle through it, faster than any vet etc, can 'do' what ever.
It's a crush, 24 ft race, small triangular forcing pen, 6/7 cows, a15ft square pen, before that, and a yard split into 2, that can hold 150 cows.
Any doubts about strength, just think 'over do', 6/700 kg cattle, are very strong !
A decent handling system saves so much time, and labour, and yet many still bodge up a gate and string system.
 

Samcowman

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Wiltshire
Yes load out the crush at one unit here all ages of cattle works really well. Works best if the race is pre loaded with them before so they follow each other on rather than a gaps between cattle causing problems.
Sheet your hurdles if possible will make the cattle run a lot easier.
 
Location
Cleveland
@Northeastfarmer built a new system sometime ago, I seem to remember.
Did he have a thread about it??



If you need any measurements @DrDunc
Feel free to ask
 
Why go for 10/12 ft with 2 gates to a lift out post?
I find it much easier following cattle up with 1 longer gate than trying to grab for 2 at once?
How many and what size cattle do you want to hold in the pens?
I have been told an improvement to a race would be a shedding gate and 2 sorting pens.
I've tried to sort cattle in a lorry and have never found it easy as they're always too tight to turn freely, plus a full width gate takes up a lot of each pen if you have to open it towards the cattle.
The middle post will only ever be lifted out when you scrape the pens out with a tractor/handler.
 

Whitepeak

Member
Livestock Farmer
I'd definitely fix the hurdles at certain points. You'd be surprised how far a bunch or even one cow can push a crush or hurdles!
Personally I prefer narrower pens leading up to the race. We have a 15' wide feed passage leading up to ours and it's slightly too wide to drive cattle up single handed.
 

C.J

Member
Location
South Devon
The eight foot wide crowding pens are to suit the 16 foot "supor"forcing circle, but I like 8 foot: I find it's narrow enough that neither yearlings nor cows can turn on you, but wide enough you can shed them past without getting kicked. I'm (fairly) sure they'll run into it fine when all three of the 20 foot pens are open into the forcing circle.
My experience is with pens of 12' to 15' wide. Sometimes 12' is too narrow when you want a shy one to pass you and sometimes 15' is too wide when your trying to stop strong cattle running down both sides of you....4 meters is ideal.

You can always make your last pen taper down to your 8' round pen - the angle would be close to the recommended 30 degrees.
 

shearerlad

Member
Livestock Farmer
My experience is with pens of 12' to 15' wide. Sometimes 12' is too narrow when you want a shy one to pass you and sometimes 15' is too wide when your trying to stop strong cattle running down both sides of you....4 meters is ideal.

You can always make your last pen taper down to your 8' round pen - the angle would be close to the recommended 30 degrees.
This fair made me chuckle, I’m not disputing your post at all but 12 feet is too narrow, 15 feet is too wide so go with 4 meters 🤣🤣🤣
 

DrDunc

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Dunsyre
Looking on a few sites - portable circular pens seem to be 8ft radius whereas permanent syatems are 10ft radius with 10'x20' pens.
Aye, which is why I'm planning 3 of 8x20 pens into the circular crowding pen 👍

Permanent pens here would require landlord notification, validation, and valuation.

"Mobile" pens involve nobody but the bank manager, and you get tax relief on removable "farm" equipment. At least, that's what I'm told....
 

C.J

Member
Location
South Devon
Aye, which is why I'm planning 3 of 8x20 pens into the circular crowding pen 👍

Permanent pens here would require landlord notification, validation, and valuation.

"Mobile" pens involve nobody but the bank manager, and you get tax relief on removable "farm" equipment. At least, that's what I'm told....
But the 8ft suporhandler is a compromise so it can be packed on a 3 point linkage stillage and driven down the road.
 

DrDunc

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Dunsyre
But the 8ft suporhandler is a compromise so it can be packed on a 3 point linkage stillage and driven down the road.
Aye, but the business benefits over a fixed system, and the practical benefits over a 200 year old steading system based on "infinite" labour resources will, I hope, be most rewarding
 

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