Things such as deworming and vaccination are typically delayed and sometimes not done at all in sheep facilities. This is only one of the reasons why well-designed sheep facilities are essential to maintaining a prosperous farm.
Most sheep producers purchase or build one handling facility throughout their operations, not fully understanding the savings and labor efficiency that other handling facilities offer. Don’t be like them. The only way to prevent this from happening is planning what your handling facility should and shouldn’t have.
Where to Start
Check out different sheep yard designs so that you have an idea of what to install in your facility. Good design keeps problems to a minimum. It encourages your flock to move through the handling system without drawing back.
Barnyards, laneways, and paddocks are excellent additions that allow plenty of space for your flock. Sheep should be able to move effortlessly in your yard.
To achieve this, ensure that your handling facility can accommodate all jobs necessary in a sheep farm. Start by creating a complete list of tasks that need to be done and then plan how they should be accomplished. Note what time of the year each job is done and how many sheep are handled for each post.
Determine What Is Needed
After listing the necessary operations for your farm, you can now determine what handling facilities need to be included in your yard to accomplish the required jobs.
For jobs to be accomplished, your handling facility should enable smooth movement from one pen to another. In general, you should be able to gather and hold your flock in a gathering pen, move them to the forcing pen, and then into an area for treatment and sorting. Once done, they will be separated into sorted pens.
Facilities made from scratch using special-purpose metal gates and portable 8-foot panes can be adequate for 200 sheep or less. But if you have more than 200 sheep, it’s best to consider a more permanent handling facility.
Site Location and Space Requirements
Put up your facilities on an elevated, well-drained site that allows the installation of electricity and water. The barn, on the other hand, must provide easy access for workers handling manure and deliveries. And when designing an open-sided shelter, make sure that it faces away from the wind.
There are also space requirements for your sheep if they are confined in a building. Feeder lambs need less than a square meter, and sheep with babies and bred ewe need a square meter.
Aside from being cost-effective, handling facilities allow essential jobs to be done more efficiently. You can breed, wean, shear, vaccinate, and deworm your sheep easily and within the targeted time frame. This dramatically reduces the stress that both handlers and sheep can experience.
If you still don’t have a proper handling facility in your yard, it’s time to consider getting one. Create two plans that compare how much work can be done with and without handling facilities. You will learn more about the importance of handling facilities.