Crush pen and basic handling for more than 10 head of cattle


By Nan Smith | 5 July 2017

We discussed the essential crush pen as an absolute requirement for a stock owner with fewer than 10 animals, in a previous article. Now we look at expanded handling facilities for bigger groups.

Dr. Danie Odendaal of Afrivet designed this system as a basic handling facility that can handle from 10 to 100 cattle, depending on the size of the camps. Danie is a vet with extensive experience in deep rural African areas who has a very good idea of the problems facing African cattle owners with small herds. He has dedicated a great deal of time to training and helping stock farmers.

Without access to knowledge and informed experience cattle farmers will continue to lose animals to preventable diseases, injuries, malnutrition and the neglect caused by ignorance.

This design makes it possible for a stockman (or woman) to work alone. Personally, I like working with at least one other person. He, or she, is generally like-minded, and if two people can get a good work rhythm going you have a strong team.

CAMPS

Divide the kraal into two camps for sorting animals, and position the water trough to supply both camps.
The crush which connects the two camps must be opposite the internal gate between the camps. This gate keeps the two groups of cattle (eg vaccinated and unvaccinated) apart.

This basic facility means you – the cattleman – can treat sick animals; proactively dose for internal parasites and spray for external parasites; vaccinate your animals regularly and provide supplementary lick only to those animals that need it.

 

RULES

There must be a holding area before the entrance to the crush and another after the exit.

The two camps must be connected. Animals will escape when they get closer to the crush, but they must not be allowed back into the untreated group. Keeping them in the crush camp means that ultimately they will be seen by the stockman.

The entrance to the crush must have one straight side. Without this straight side it will be very difficult to get them to enter.

The gates to the camps must always be at the side or it will be too difficult for one person to herd from A to B.

These are basic rules. Not following them leads to extreme handling difficulties, frustration, stressed animals and people and even injuries to handlers or cattle.