Posted on

Our Cattle Pens

We built cattle pens based on Temple Grandin’s S-curve design last year. It is amazing how easily the cattle move through the chute and how quickly we can treat the cattle with their semi-annual vaccinations.

There are several components of the design that can be incorporated, even as modifications to an existing pen system. The key feature that we think works well in our pens is the S-curve rounding pen, which flows into a S-curve lead-up chute. We added a palpation gate behind the hydraulic squeeze chute. Dr. Grandin’s plans are available on her website, Grandin.com, and in her book Humane Livestock Handling (Understanding Livestock Behavior and Building Facilities for Healthier Animals, by Dr. Temple Grandin and Mark Deesing.

This is a better view of the front of the squeeze chute (right) and calf chute (left). You can see that the interior of the lead-up chute is not solid, which helps encourage the cattle to move forward. The pens were built by Cooper’s Metal Works and their work on the project was outstanding.

This is a view of the five sorting pens in the center. We like the rectangular shape of the pens. They have gates on each end, leading into a lane. This seems to work is better than square sorting pens. The solid metal on the gates was recommended in Dr. Grandin’s book, which helps the cows see and perceive the gate better. The semi-circle in the far back of the pens, works well because the cows walk easily from one lane to the other, by following the semi-circle.