Top Considerations for Designing and Building Cattle Yards
When it comes to designing or redesigning your cattle yards, you need to consider a couple of essential things. Without a doubt, the movement and behavior of your livestock are the most important component that determines the design of your yard.
Every yard should be designed for the support of the natural behaviors of the livestock. This means that you first must understand the unique instincts of your animals. Some of these behaviors include:
Cattle do not like looking directly into bright reflections or sunlight. Therefore, the design should take measures to prevent this.
Entrances that are not well-lit may appear like a dead-end to cattle and they would not move forward. Therefore, make provision for appropriate lighting.
Cattles are herders naturally and usually follow other animals. When they see the herd around them in a race, they stop moving. Therefore, handlers should consider using forcing pens and loading ramps to ensure cattle movement.
With this understanding, you can proceed to build your cattle yard. Here are the top considerations to help you design and build cattle yards.
Location of the Cattle Yard
Location is the primary consideration when you want to design a cattle yard. Take the time to explore your site and choose the best location with access to an all-weather road. The location should also be far away from any hazards, such as electric structures and lines.
You should also consider the site’s slope and yard capacity as well as the ground or floor surface. This would help reduce the possible risks of falls and trips. The location of your cattle yards should also be close to water and shade trees for the protection and health of your livestock.
Future Workload of the Cattle Yard
Cattle yards are not something you should erect today and pull down in a couple of months or years. Although it does not have to be permanent, it should last long enough to be worth the time, money, and energy invested into it. Therefore, you should not construct your cattle yard for the present alone. You should also consider the future of your business.
What level of workloads are you anticipating for the future of your cattle farm? What capacity do you need to have smooth operations for the workload? Your cattle-yard should have the capacity to accommodate different livestock operations and should be designed to align with different handling methods.
It is also necessary to install a dedicated barricade area for the protection of equipment and handlers. Additionally, you should consider incorporating a couple of emergency escapes and access ways in the yard, especially between the working area and the forcing yard.
Choice of Cattle Yard Materials
There are different materials that you can use to build your cattle yards. They include timber, concrete, and steel. Your choice of materials usually depends on different things, such as the budget, availability, suitability for the weather, and the type of livestock you have. For instance, the gate posts should have adjustable hinges or ties for strength and to prevent the gates from lifting or dropping.
Gateways and other high-pressure areas as well as the races and forcing yards should have a strong construction with very high-quality materials. Ensure that you put all fixtures and fittings of the yard into consideration during the design to ensure a seamless construction.
Before you build your cattle yards, you should have a clear design that is well thought through. If your design is faulty, you are likely to have issues with the building. It may be a good idea to engage the service of a professional to get the job done for you.
If you decide to use a vendor for the design and construction, do not entrust the decision-making into their hands. Remember; it is your farm and you understand how things are run. Therefore, give input on how you want the yard to look so that you can have functional cattle yards.