Mr Koos Geldenhuys of the farm Uitkyk near Riversdale in South Africa used scrap materials lying around on his farm to build a slide dipping system that can dip up to 1 000 sheep an hour.
The dipping ditch which is traditionally used – which can dip up to 500 sheep a day – was causing him sleepless nights, especially the dipping of pregnant ewes and rams.
Koos’s kraal consists of:
Holding pen – The pen or pens in which the sheep are kept before being dipped are separated from an alley by means of gates.
Alley and walkway – The sheep enter the alley through a gate and move to a ramp area, where they walk up a slope which has wooden railings on either side. The ramp has been constructed in such a way that the sheep can grip and walk up easily. At the top, at a height of 1.9m, there’s a 1m-long level walkway, also with wooden railings on either side, and then the sheep move to a galvanised sheet slide.
Slide and dipping ditch – A worker stands on the walkway to help any animals which hesitate to go down the 2.1m slide into the ditch below. The ditch is made of concrete, with a capacity to hold 5 000 litres of dipping solution. The sheep swim through the dipping canal, which is 8m long and 0.6m wide, and then climb out the other side via steps. The width of the canal was designed with pregnant ewes and the width of rams’ horns in mind, but not so wide that sheep can turn around and move against the flow. The size of the canal also ensures the cost-effective use of the dipping solution.
Time efficient – About 2 500 sheep can be dipped in one morning, compared to the almost two to three days it took with the previous dipping method.
Materials used – Scrap materials lying around on the farm were used, such as wood, galvanised corrugated iron sheeting, some railway sleepers and tar poles. Only cement and sand was purchased.
Labour efficient – The ease with which the sheep move through the system means that only three or four people are needed for the dipping process.
Contact Koos at: firstname.lastname@example.org