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Feedyard Systems

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1. Research feed yard. Colorado State University Cattle Research Station. This facility is a good model for a small to medium sized feed yard handling system. The radius for the wide curved lane is 20-feet (6.5m). The solid sided wide curved lane hold approximately 50 cattle. Cattle move through the curved lane into the crowd pen. From the crowd pen cattle can enter into the single file chute to the squeeze chute, or from the crowd pen onto a semi-truck loading ramp or a stock trailer chute.
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2. The single file chute (race) enters a small 24-feet (8m) x 30-feet (10m) covered work area over the squeeze chute. Doors at both the entrance and exit to the building allow the building to be closed and locked when not in use. The building is small enough to heat in the winter, and ventilated to keep people handling cattle cool in winter.
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3. Selector gates in the crowd pen direct cattle into either the single file chute toward the squeeze chute (crush), to the large truck (lorry) loading ramp, or into a stock (utility) trailer chute. This facility also has a single file chute leading to a row of palpation chutes for students to practice palpating cows for pregnancy testing, or for artificial insemination.
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4. An 8-feet (3m) wide roll-up door at the exit from the cattle processing area allows for light and ventilation. Pens on either side of the alley are for sorting cattle into treatment groups after they leave the squeeze chute.
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5. A three-way gate system in an alley is a practical and efficient way to move cattle around corners preventing 90 degree turns at the intersection between two cattle drive alleys. The alleys are 12-feet (3.5m) wide, and the gates are 14-feet (4.2m) long. Each gate hinges on a separate post (see construction details).
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6. Large truck (lorry)cattle loading ramp and stock (utility) trailer chute. The truck ramp has a self-aligning dock bumper to prevent a gap between the truck and the dock that cattle can get a foot stuck in (see construction details).
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7. A 12-feet wide cattle alley is ideal for a single person moving cattle on foot or horseback. When cattle are being moved down an alley a person standing in the middle of the alley with their arms outstretched can prevent cattle from turning back. If cattle do turn back a person can move to one side of the alley and be out of the way. A 10-foot wide alley is not sufficient space for the cattle to go by a person. A 14-foot wide alley is too wide to effectively prevent cattle from turning back.
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8. All feed pens should have a 12-feet (3.5m) wide concrete apron for cattle to stand on while eating. In areas where there is a lot of mud a wider apron is recommended. Gates between each pen allow the apron to be scraped clean.
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9. Concrete feed bunks are on the high side of the pens.
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10. Easy to adjust cable is used for different sized cattle in feed lot pens. The lowest adjustment is for calves new to the feed pen to prevent them from climbing out. The highest adjustment is for fat cattle.
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11. The pin slides easily through the sleeve to allow easy adjustment of the cable for different sized cattle in the feed lot.
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12. Large feed lot pens are on a 3 degree slope. Three degree slope is 3-feet (1m) per 100-feet (30.5m). This slope is ideal to allow proper drainage, but not too steep that erosion occurs. The slope should extend across the cattle alley at the bottom of the pen to prevent the alley from becoming muddy and difficult to move cattle through. The wind break shed at the top of the pen is on the north side to block the prevailing north wind.
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13. Gates used to block off vehicle roadways should overlap so that moving cattle do not force them open. Gates overlapped are stronger than gates chained end to end.
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14. Feed yard working facility under construction. Fence posts set on 4-feet (1.2m) centers.Grooved concrete where cattle walk. A raised platform, curbs and gutters for washout, and broom finished concrete for the squeeze chute. The parts of the facility that should have completely solid sides are the single file chute (race), the loading ramp, and the crowd gate. A completely solid fence is recommended in the wide curved lane.
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15. Large feed yard cattle handling system utilizing a portable loading ramp.
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16. Feed yard cattle handling system utilizing a pre-fabricated crowd pen and single file chute. The lead-up alley and wide curved lane holds approximately 150 cattle.
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17. Cattle did not work efficiently through this system until the painting was complete. Cattle balk at contrasts in color and the smell of new paint. Facility has two single file chutes (race). One chute is V-shaped for different sized cattle, and the other straight sided for large bulls. The layout is very critical so the single file race does not look dead ended. See Humane Livestock Handling for instructions.
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18. Feed Yard handling system using a portable large truck loading ramp. A 24-inch (5cm) wide bar grate catwalk extends along the single-file chute, the round crowd pen, and the wide-curved lane.
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19. Large wide curved lane on feed yard. The handler can walk back and forth on the catwalk to get cattle to move toward the crowd pen. Using flight zone principles to move cattle effectively are described in detail in chapter 3 of our Humane Livestock Handling book.
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20.Large feed yard processing barn. Rubber louvers are installed on the single file chute that can be pushed inward by the handler to move cattle forward.
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21. Elevated squeeze chute makes washing easy.
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22. Shade in cattle pens must provide enough shade for all cattle to stand or lie and not be on top of one another.
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23. Bull calf feedyard. Sand on concrete makes cleaning easy.
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24. Holstein bull confinement feedyard in China. Good ventilation is important.
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25. Concrete feed apron and pens bedded with sand.
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26. Solid shade structure.
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27. Google Earth Image of large feedyard handling and sorting system.
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28. Modern cattle handling facility in China. Curved lane holds 150 fat cattle. Selector gates in the crowd pen direct cattle to the receiving/shipping chutes (races), or the single file race. A raised concrete platform on the inside radius saves walking time. A washout curb and gutter on the outside of the race contains wash water and directs it to a septic system.
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The wide curved lane holds about 25 large cattle. Good handlers move about 7 to 9 cattle at one time into the crowd pen. Never over-crowd cattle. Fill the curved lane and crowd pen half full.
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Cattle move through the 12-foot (3.6m) crowd pen to the single file chute (race) leading to the squeeze chute (crush), or into the race leading to the loading dock. This standard design can also include a ground-load stock trailer chute.
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The entrance into the covered building must be at the end of the half-circle radius of the single file chute (race).
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Exit from squeeze chute has deep grooved concrete floors to prevent slipping and falling. Calm Holstein steers and heifers usually walk out of a squeeze chute (crush), but other breeds of beef cattle are more reactive and sometimes run when they exit the squeeze chute (crush).
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Curved Shipping/Receiving Chute. The single file race is 30-inches (76.2cm) wide, 60-inches (152.4cm) high. Cattle walk on grooved concrete steps up and down a gradual ramp. The handler walkway is 42-inches (106cm) down from the top of the fence. See construction detail on pages 150-151 in “Humane Livestock Handling”.
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180-degree half circle crowd pen meets 180-degree half circle single file race. The raised concrete platform reduces walking distance and allow the handler to move away from the fence to keep cattle calm.
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Sturdy Feed Yard Crowd Pen. 180-degree half circle pen with a handler walkway 42-inches (106cm) down from the top of the fence. The solid sides are made of 10-guage steel, 5-foot (1.5m) X 10-feet (3m) sheets.
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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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Sturdy gate construction. See channel iron hinge details on page 185 in “Humane Livestock Handling”.
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Overhead gate supports prevent large gates from dragging on the ground. These overhead supports are useful for all cattle facilities when heavy gates are used.
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Feed yard water trough with manure step, and bully panels. The manure step prevents cattle from backing up and defecating in the water. The bully panels stop the dominant animal from preventing other cattle access to the water. The bully can only guard one-half of the water at a time.
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Drop lock latch- See detail page 178-180 in “Humane Livestock Handling”. This latch can hold a single gate against a fence for cleaning or cattle movement.
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Drop lock latch- See detail page 178-180 in “Humane Livestock Handling”. This lock is useful when two overlapping gates need securing.
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Deep grooved concrete feed apron. Grooves used in areas cattle stand to eat are smaller and not as deep as grooves used in cattle movement alleys or in handling areas. See concrete grooving details on pages 112-116, 128 in “Humane Livestock Handling”.
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Deep grooved concrete feed apron. Grooves used in areas cattle stand to eat are smaller and not as deep as grooves used in cattle movement alleys or in handling areas. See concrete grooving details on pages 112-116, 128 in “Humane Livestock Handling”.
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Cable adjuster for concrete feed slab. This feed slab is used for small cattle on a mostly roughage diet. As the cattle grow, the cables can be adjusted to allow easy access to the feed.
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12-foot (3.6m) grooved concrete feed apron. Concrete is scraped clean daily and provides a solid non-slip surface for cattle standing at the trough.
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3. Selector gates in the crowd pen direct cattle into either the single file chute toward the squeeze chute (crush), to the large truck (lorry) loading ramp, or into a stock (utility) trailer chute. This facility also has a single file chute leading to a row of palpation chutes for students to practice palpating cows for pregnancy testing, or for artificial insemination.