Handling Systems

Why all producers need a handling system…

It never ceases to amaze us that so few US sheep producers have serious handling setups—and fewer still have a good one. Visit any sheep operation in England, Australia or New Zealand and you will find such setups—be it mobile or fixed. But not in North America.

A complete handling system.

Here are a few of the benefits…

  • Treat more animals in less time.
  • Treat, sort, deworm and/or tag with little risk of injury.
  • Requires less strength, effort and frustration to treat animals.
  • Less stress on animals, you and your family. Because you control the animals (instead of the other way around), working them is more satisfying.
  • Keeps more animals alive and thriving. Why? Because deworming, vaccinations, foot treatments, sorting, etc. can all be done when the animals need it. No need to wait until the entire “on-farm” wrestling team is available.

How do handling systems work?

A well-designed handling system needs certain basic elements to manipulate sheep into moving and stopping when and where we desire. The system of animal “flow” from entry to exit(s) is important.

Sorting sheep with less effort. With her left hand, Kylie lifts a guillotine gate to allow sheep to exit. With her right hand she operates a two-way sort gate. Chute has both 36" and 45" tall panels.

So they prefer to:

  • Move from smaller to larger spaces.
  • Avoid people and dogs (threats!).
  • Follow each other when threatened–even if they can’t see where the “lead” animal is going.

These basic points dictate the gate choices:

  1. Open-bar or welded wire panels allow animals to see each other. So animals feel safe and move readily into pens with “open walls”.
  2. Conversely, solid panels block vision. So animals feel less safe and move toward openings. That’s why chutes have solid panels–to encourage forward movement to daylight.

We have found that the basic “system” and design works well.

Click here for Handling Equipment.

Download PDF Handling Systems.