Jump to content


Photo

loading sheep


  • Please log in to reply
7 replies to this topic

#1 The Sheep Guy

The Sheep Guy

    Member

  • Registered Users
  • 35 posts

Posted 31 May 2008 - 08:01 PM

Katie and I got the yards (corrals) setup today. All up, it took about 10 hours of work to get them setup. I changed the setup a little. I made them so they are longer and narrower. It took a lot more panels but last time, it seems like the sheep got into a ball too much. Once they start turning and turning in a ball it is hard to make them go through a gate or chute. If anyone out there has any plans for how to setup sheep corrals, perhaps from Aussie or NZ, please send them to me. All my experience has been with American sheep guys and I have seen some good setups. I keep trying to make my setup better and easier on the sheep, people and dogs. Sky had a good setup at his place, we loaded four trucks in three hours, it went really fast. His chutes were very wide so like four sheep across could run up the chute and onto the truck. It seems when you have lambs on your ewes, the lambs want to stick to the ewes and if the chute is narrow the lamb gets in there and stops at every little thing, sorting gate, loading chute, etc. The ewes have been on trucks many times now and are good about leading the lambs. The problem happens when you have a lamb in the lead and no ewes in front of him. This is a big problem.

Eric JT Harlow
Harlow Sheep Co.
Harlow's Hills West Coast
Natural Lamb, Super-Fine Wool, Border Collies
www.harlowshillswestcoast.com
541 215 9109

#2 mjk05

mjk05

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 422 posts
  • Location:Western Australia

Posted 31 May 2008 - 09:13 PM

Try this, Eric:
sheep yards

We have a few sets of yards, most are bugle design.
We load sheep through the shearing shed, usually- because the loading bay door is a good height for a 3 or 4 decker truck, and we don't need a separate ramp. I will see if I can find a photo.

Our ramps are usually single file, you want sheep to run easily without turning around. What sorts of trucks are you loading?

#3 The Sheep Guy

The Sheep Guy

    Member

  • Registered Users
  • 35 posts

Posted 31 May 2008 - 09:47 PM

I have a 50' semi with three decks plus the sheep-pot. The guys I run around with here all have side-load doubles. They can usually load 105,000lbs but I can only load 80,000lbs. I can load from the side or back but I always setup for side-load since that is the main type of sheep-trailer around here. We trucked the sheep out about a month ago to new pasture and we loaded two trucks (over 1000 head) in about three hours. The problem was the chut was only single sheep. Every time we had a lamb come to load up on the top decks, we almost had to hand-load it. My friend has a thriple wide chut with hydrolics. When I set that up, the ewes and lambs could run up it together. Yes, the sheep could turn around, but it has a gate on the bottom of the chut and you can lock them on the chut. You can also walk up the outside of the chut. It is on wheels and is the best thing I have used. All the feedlots here have similar setups for loading and unloading trucks. The ewes be able to bring their lambs upto the top decks on the trailers.

My current setup, has a 40' single chut upto a sorting gate, then they have to turn 90degrees, not good, but the pasture is setup funny to the road. I will then have them into a double-wide chut and up onto the truck.

The best setup I have seen for loading ewes/lambs together has been the double or triple wide chut.

The question I have is how many forcing pens you have leading upto the chut. I have a holding pen, then a smaller pen, then a forcing pen then a very small pen with a single gate right in front of the chut. We don't use the small pen unless we don't have any lead sheep to go up the chut. The difference is this time, I have make the yards much longer and narrower, rather then smaller and rounder.

I am also told that if you put, a pen full of sheep next to your loading chut, the sheep will run forward to get to the other pen and move throug the yards easier. Do you find this to be true?

Eric JT Harlow
Harlow's Hills West Coast
Natural Lamb, Super-Fine Wool, Border Collies
HYPERLINK "http://www.harlowshi...lswestcoast.com
541 215 9109

#4 mjk05

mjk05

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 422 posts
  • Location:Western Australia

Posted 31 May 2008 - 10:05 PM

The question I have is how many forcing pens you have leading upto the chut.

Well, because we're loading from the shed, we run the sheep into the shed and then they're in the holding pens behind the catch pens, go out the loading door and turn hard right up the truck ramp. That is not ideal, and its handy that we have dogs that will back ramps into a 4 decker. But we haven't loaded ewes and lambs together while I've been here, that would make it difficult whatever your setup. Last time we loaded lambs (about 600, I think) it was a struggle to get the top deck filled.

The triple wide chute sounds great.
I think the problem with milling before a single chute is often because of the way the sheep approach it, and the place where it narrows, so maybe you could play with that, rather than trying to use force pens. Do you use a bugle?

I am also told that if you put, a pen full of sheep next to your loading chut, the sheep will run forward to get to the other pen and move throug the yards easier. Do you find this to be true?

Haven't tried it- but yeah, sheep do run better if they can see sheep to run towards, don't they? If you mean next to the ramp entrance, I'd wonder if they'd be more inclined to stop at the bottom of the ramp. Give it a try!

#5 The Sheep Guy

The Sheep Guy

    Member

  • Registered Users
  • 35 posts

Posted 31 May 2008 - 10:27 PM

The triple wide chute sounds great.
I think the problem with milling before a single chute is often because of the way the sheep approach it, and the place where it narrows, so maybe you could play with that, rather than trying to use force pens. Do you use a bugle?
Haven't tried it- but yeah, sheep do run better if they can see sheep to run towards, don't they? If you mean next to the ramp entrance, I'd wonder if they'd be more inclined to stop at the bottom of the ramp. Give it a try!
[/quote]

All we have for panels are portable wood (slotted). 40" high and 8-14' long. We also have to use t-post for support. The nature of our life is very nomadic here. We truck our sheep, about 4 times a year to new pasture. I would like to try setting up a bugel but without solid metal panels, I am not sure it would work. I think that could be one of the problems with getting the sheep up the single-wide chut, we have a unside down V panels setup in front of the chut but it is not gradual like I see your setups are. it goes, pen V, single chut. The ewes know it by now so look for the chut but the lambs, are well, lambs. The lambs and ewes also tend to bulk at the sorting gate. But again, they can see the operator at the gate, we don't have any solid panels yet. Perhaps it would be work making some to see if it makes things faster.

As for backing, I have had a dozen or more Kelpies at this point. I currently have one with the herder now but was never successful at getting them to back. My brother in-law says he is bring a guy from AU to come do a clinic here and so will show me how to get your dogs to do it correctly. As for now, my old dog Mick will climb under the sheep in the pens or jumps out of the pen and back in the back to push up. I can see how getting the sheep to run past your dog helps, we do a lot of that here. I send the dog to the head and at the correct point flank him to the back again, the sheep run past him and will get started into the next pen.

Eric JT Harlow
Harlow Sheep Co.
Harlow's Hills West Coast
Natural Lamb, Super-Fine Wool, Border Collies
www.harlowshillswestcoast.com
541 215 9109

#6 mjk05

mjk05

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 422 posts
  • Location:Western Australia

Posted 31 May 2008 - 10:44 PM

Posted Image
This is the only photo I can find of where we load from- the shearing shed pens etc. The closest (narrower) door is the one we use. So lots and lots of force pens, I guess- but it actually makes things harder, I think. Getting them up ramps seems easier if you can get the sheep moving and not stop them.

I would like to try setting up a bugel but without solid metal panels, I am not sure it would work.

When we've set up temporary yards sometimes we use hessian or similar over the panels.

If you don't have room or gear to set up a nice funnelling sort of system, it does sound like you could try using a lure pen type thing to get the sheep running.

A bit unrelated to yard setup, but I did my first stock handling course not long ago and that was very helpful for getting more difficult sheep to move easily through non-ideal setups.

I'm not sure you NEED backing dogs, esp if you can train your sheep to the system. But they can be handy- we try to teach all our dogs (collies too) to back, or at least to work the outside of the race. Not all dogs will back a big ramp into a truck, anyway, so it probably wouldn't help you there.

On that tangent, I'm trying a new method of teaching some of my less happy yard dogs to back, and I'm going to try to video it, so I'll send you the link.

#7 NRhodes

NRhodes

    No Subtlety

  • Registered Users
  • 267 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:hard telling
  • Interests:cows, dogs

Posted 17 June 2008 - 01:10 PM

mjk, did you ever make that video? I bet it would be interesting to watch.
----Nicole Rhodes----
765-580-1683 nicole@rhodescowdogs.com
Rhodes' Cowdogs | The Cowdog Forum

#8 mjk05

mjk05

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 422 posts
  • Location:Western Australia

Posted 17 June 2008 - 07:09 PM

mjk, did you ever make that video? I bet it would be interesting to watch.

Sorry, not yet. The boss broke his leg, then its been raining pretty continuously, we started lambing and now every sunny day is all about spraying... and it looks like I'll have to stay home for the upcoming yard/utility trial, because we don't have any available farm-sitters, so I kind of lost motivation. But I will get around to it eventually, and I'll post the link here if you like.


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users

Copyright: All posts and images on this site are protected by copyright, and may not be reproduced or distributed in any way without permission. Banner photo courtesy of Denise Wall, 2009 CDWall. For further information, contact info@bordercollie.org.