Ranch Corrals & Beef Cattle Handling Systems

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1. Cattle Ranch Corral System. A curved cattle handling system works on the principle that cattle always prefer to return to where they came from. Cattle in the wide curved lane on the right side of the photo move willingly towards the crowd pen in the center. From the crowd pen cattle then move into the single file chute on the left side of the photo towards the squeeze (crush) chute. Off the center of the crowd pen is both a large truck loading/un-loading ramp, and a stock trailer chute.
2. Small Ranch Cattle Corral System. This system was built by Mark Deesing, Grandin Livestock Handling Systems, Inc., and is used as a model for contractors, and ranch owners to visit. It was custom designed to fit the site and adjacent to a calving barn. Cattle load out by moving through the system then onto a stock trailer chute at the end of the straight alley.
3. Cattle Corral with curved single-file chute (race) and round crowd pen. The fence posts are all 2-7/8-inch (7.30cm) O.D. used oil field pipe. In the areas with solid fence, the maximum distance between the fence posts is 4-feet (1.2m). Space posts no more than 8-feet (2.5m) apart in areas of the corral where the fence is not solid. The raised concrete platform on the inside radius of the single file chute (race) saves walking distance from the squeeze (crush) chute to the crowd pen.
4. Curved Cattle Handling System on a cow-calf operation in Wisconsin, USA. Waseda Farms is an organic beef farm located in Door County. The squeeze chute is inside the covered work area. Visit wasedafarms.com for more information on this company.
5. The compact cattle handling facility at Waseda Farms has both a stock trailer, and semi- truck (lorry) loading area attached to the crowding pen. Since a semi-truck is seldom used to haul cattle at this facility, a portable ramp is used (see construction details for this layout).
6. Cattle enter this cattle corral from several pastures all leading to the straight section of alley on the right side of this photograph. There are three sorting pens in front of the squeeze chute. From the sorting pens cattle can be moved back to the pasture they came from or to another pasture.
7. Block gates in the straight alley, and in the solid sided curved fence area are used to keep groups of cattle separate, and to prevent them from turning back. Man-gates (walk through) are positioned at either side of the block gates for ease of handler movement. Slam latches (see construction details) are built into the end of the block gates for handler safety.
8. The fence posts in the cattle corrals and alleys are all spaced 8-feet (2.5m) apart (see construction details).
9. This state of the art facility for handling cattle is an attractive addition to this beautiful farm.
10. Solid sided fence prevents cattle from seeing people outside the fence and keeps them calm during handling.
11. Catwalks (handler walkways) are 24-inches (610mm) wide bar grate material 42-inches (1066mm) down from top of 60-inch (2m) high solid fence. This height is ideal for short and tall people, and meets OSHA guide lines for safety (see construction details).
2. In this cattle yard, the 30 degree funnel leading into the single file chute (race) allows cattle in the crowd pen to easily see a place to go, and does not look like a dead-end.
13. In this cattle working system, the slide gate in the center of this photograph prevents cattle from backing out of the single file chute (see construction details).
14. The 60-inch (2m) high solid fence in the curved chutes prevents cattle from seeing people or other distractions outside the fence. Blocking vision with a solid fence keeps cattle calm. This is especially important if there is a lot of activity outside the chute (race).
15. In this cattle corral, all solid sided fence areas have non-slip grooved concrete floors. A 2-inch (50mm) gap at the bottom of the fence makes washing the concrete footing easy.
16. A five rail fence in all alleys and pens prevents calves from squeezing through the gaps in the fence.
17. 12-foot (3.5m) wide alleys are ideal for cattle handling corrals.
18. Solid palpation gates must latch to close off the single-file chute (race) in this cattle handling system.
19. In this cattle handling system the V-shaped single file chute (race) is 34-inches (863mm) wide at the top, and 16-inches (406mm) wide at the bottom. These dimensions are necessary to allow large cattle to move freely through the chute, and narrow enough at the bottom to prevent small cattle from turning around (see construction details).
20. Large cattle ranch handling/sorting/and weighing facility. This set of cattle corrals will handle 250 mother cow and calf pairs.
21. Large cattle ranch handling/sorting/ and weighing facility constructed with rail road ties and wood fence rails. The cattle corrals can be used for vaccinating, loading trucks, and sorting.
22. The most important factor in deciding on paint color in handling facilities is that all the fencing is the same color. Cattle balk at contrast in colors. Avoid the colors black (gets too hot), and white (too reflective). This cattle handling system can handle a variety of cattle sizes.
23. The costs of basic ranch cattle corral facilities can be reduced by not covering the area over the squeeze chute with a building.
24. Constructing cattle yard facilities from wood can also reduce costs in areas where wood is plentiful.
25. All solid sided fence is 5ft. high. Deep grooved concrete in all curved fence areas.
26. V-Shaped Single File Chute. Grooved concrete floor and a 2in. gap at bottom of fence for washout.
27. Single file chute is divided into single animal sections with sliding gates. This keeps animals safe and calm.
28. Curved Handling System on Cow-Calf Ranch. The wide curved entrance lane is on a 12ft. radius, 12ft. radius on crowd pen, and 16ft. radius for the single file chute.
29. A raised concrete platform on the inside radius of the single file chute reduces walking distance and saves time.
30. Horse and donkey handling system. All solid fence is 7ft. high with handler walkways on the outside, and grooved concrete floors.
31. Wood Handling System
32. Wood V-Shaped Single File Chute. Wood slats can be vertical or horizontal.
33. Slide gate in curved handling system. Construction details for gate on page #163 of Humane Livestock Handling System book.
34. 18in. wide man gate in wood crowd pen.
35. Grooved concrete floors in wood handling system.
36. Curved handling system for horses and donkeys. Single file chute splits into narrow secondary chute for donkeys.
37. Man gate 42in. down from top of 60in. high solid wood fence.
38. Stock trailer loading chute and crowd pen. A portable loading ramp can be placed at the end of the stock trailer chute for loading large cattle trucks.
39. Cows and calves are sorted in pens and small groups of calves are moved into the crowd pen.
40. To prevent calves from turning around in the single file chute, one calf at a time is moved from the crowd pen into the single file chute, then to a calf table attached to the squeeze chute.
41. Curved handling system for horses and donkeys.
42. Horse and Donkey handling system.
43. Sorting gates in ranch handling system.
44. Funnel leading into single file chute must be 30 degrees.
45. Curved wood handling system.
46. Aerial shot of wood handling system.
47. Elevated crowding pen and single file chute (race) on ranch in Panama. Due to high rainfall, an area of high ground was chosen to build this facility. Water drains away from both sides. 48. Using heavy primer on fence posts and new steel sides slows rust in high humidity areas. The fence posts are heavy walled pipe and the solid steel sheets are 10-gauge (maroon). Yearly cleaning and repainting can extend the life of facilities in wet climates.
49. Concrete manure step. Cattle stand with front feet on the concrete to drink. The concrete prevents cattle from backing up to the water tank and defecating.
Horseback latch-See detail page 178 in “Humane Livestock Handling”. This latch can be used by a handler on foot by welding the latch lower on the gate. This handy latch locks in place easily saving considerable time in facilities with many gates.
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32. Wood V-Shaped Single File Chute. Wood slats can be vertical or horizontal.