Yard/crush/race requirements for my teensy enterprise?

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Member for

7 years 3 months
Last seen: 03/08/2018 - 21:05
Joined: 08/11/2012 - 20:08

Yard/crush/race requirements for my teensy enterprise?

We are about to get 2 Dexter steers for our 4 acre ex-dairy property.  These are our first and we are complete novices, although determined to learn!

The current owners have been doing a little hand feeding but the 2 steers are not really used to handling or being tied up with a halter.  We intend to get them used to us and handling over time.  My question relates to what yard/crush etc I will need for them and how soon.  I read that a yard would be sufficient if they can be handled, but I'm not sure how long it will take to get them to that stage.  Would it be sufficient to make a simple head bail inside a yard without the full crush?  I have seen a simple design used on a quiet house cow where there was a concrete slab with 2 steel building stirrups sticking up out of the concrete at the end and a coppers log bolted into each, loose enough that the logs could be moved apart (into a V shape) and then moved upright and tied together to hold the animal's head in place.  Any comments on that design?  And will I have no hope whatsoever of getting them in there without a race, or will regular feeding in that space make going there easy?

With the yard, having read the reason for round/hexagonal yards, does it still hold for just 2 animals?  A 3m x 3m yard would be easier for me to make, and (i think) cheaper than buying 6 steel panels.

Sorry if that all sounds crazy.  I am just very aware that they will be here next weekend and I haven't worked out what I need in this area yet.  Any advice would be very very welcome!

On the plus side, the fences are all sorted!

Last seen: 05/27/2013 - 10:55
Joined: 03/12/2012 - 09:44

Personally I'd go for something either home made or second hand, although I don't know your steers. Theres been a few stories lately of steers harming or even killing farmers who have been caught in the yard with them, sure it's not a common thing but it's a reminder that you should never trust a steer, even a hard raised steer.

Having just brought a new yard system to handle up to 100 cattle I can tell you it's not a cheap process so for something as small as you are looking at I'd really try to keep the cost down by making whatever you could and making it strong or looking at the second hand market. A mate of ours sold his crush (quite old but still workable) for about $200 a few months back, you may be lucky enough to come across the same sort of thing.

Last seen: 03/08/2018 - 21:05
Joined: 08/11/2012 - 20:08

Thanks for your response.  Are you able to recommend any online sites to keep an eye on for such 2nd hand equipment?  I can think of farmstock.com.au and ebay but there must be others for rural classifieds....?

Last seen: 05/27/2013 - 10:55
Joined: 03/12/2012 - 09:44

I can't recommend anything off the top of my head, I remember talking about a similar topic on another forum about 3 months ago but I don't remember if there was any sites specifically mentioned and advertising the other forum on here probably isn't a good idea either. Just check the usual rags that have classified is probably the best suggestion I can come up with right now.

 

Last seen: 03/08/2018 - 21:05
Joined: 10/01/2011 - 10:46

Hi 2steers,

When I first started out farming and got my first few head of cattle I used a basic head bail combined with a few portable cattle panels to make a crush and yard. This was cost effective and worked well while I was only running a few head.

I basically made my own crush by using the head bail combined with some short 6-8 foot cattle panels and a sliding gate at the rear. The head bail is attached to the panels with pins. We knocked a steel post about half way in and wired it around the corner of the panels and head bail for strength.

I added four other larger cattle panels plus a swing gate at the rear to form a small forcing yard. You could save some money (if the cattle are quiet) and use an existing fence as part of the forcing yard.

I can't remember how much it all cost but it was less than the price of a proper cattle crush. I purchased the products from a local steel supply company.

Hope this is of help, look forward to 2steers becoming 4steers.

Mary

Last seen: 12/26/2018 - 09:21
Joined: 05/31/2011 - 09:44

Hi 2steers,

There is a website called bargain corner where you can buy, sell and trade in livestock handling equipment. http://www.bargaincorner.com.au/categories/cattle-crushes-3.cfm

I see under cattle crushes that they have a second hand head bail for sale for $660. This may be worth some further investigation.

Regards,

Charlie

Last seen: 03/08/2018 - 21:05
Joined: 08/11/2012 - 20:08

Thanks for the responses.  This is all helpful info.  I will follow up on that head bale, although the shipping costs to Qld might see a new one from the local area being cheaper.  Will investigate.

Phase 1:  We've come up with a plan for a small yard with 5 bar steel sides which will be assembled by the weekend when they arrive. 

Phase 2:  If we can work it out, moving one side open a bit and adding 2 more of the 5 bar sides would make a race out from the yard and then the head bale can go at the end of that.  This will happen as soon as I can get hold of a head bale.  I have been looking at plans online to build a very simple (non-walk through) one.  I am wondering if getting a steel fabricator to make it could be cheaper than buying a fancy one from a rural steel store.  The side panels could just open for the boys to exit to the side in a forwards-ish direction.  Page 23/24 of this http://dexter.une.edu.au/pdfs/bulletins/B77Final.pdf show a clipping frame and I was looking at the design of the front part and wondering if I could get something similar built to attach to a pole in the ground either side, and then run the panels on either side.

I have just realised that I may be thinking out loud now.... or at least typing!  I better go stew on this some more.

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