The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Livestock => Sheep => Topic started by: DartmoorLiz on February 20, 2017, 06:46:21 pm

Title: perfect sheep paddock layout
Post by: DartmoorLiz on February 20, 2017, 06:46:21 pm
Any thoughts on what a perfect sheep paddock layout would look like. 

We're still fencing the fixed boundaries but I'm dreaming about working towards a perfect layout.  What do people think of a wagon wheel design with a main central building with radiating paddocks?  Are there any other ideas? How many separate paddocks is best? Is it possible to have too many? Has anyone found internet links to good plans?
Title: Re: perfect sheep paddock layout
Post by: BenBhoy on February 20, 2017, 11:00:37 pm
I like to keep it flexible so use electric. Can graze them tight if wanted or open it up without creating poached gateways which can be breeding ground for foot issues. If you go for radial then each section will need a water supply too....
Title: Re: perfect sheep paddock layout
Post by: Womble on February 20, 2017, 11:12:20 pm
Radial is good, but you need to make sure that your 'focal point' is really easily accessed. Putting it at the centre of the circle can mean a lot more walking and gate opening to get things done. A half-wagon wheel design is therefore sometimes better. Also think about where you'll put hay feeders etc. I have to walk quite a way with hay every morning at the moment, and I wish I'd thought of that when we planned the fences.

Another consideration is to incorporate 'bypass' routes so you can move sheep past each other when you don't want them to mix. My ideal layout would be a half wagon-wheel with a small strip field right round the outside "rim" of the wheel. That way I could move anything to anywhere without having to worry about things like "tup lambs must not meet ewes".
Title: Re: perfect sheep paddock layout
Post by: clydesdaleclopper on February 20, 2017, 11:23:36 pm
what about something like the Paddock Paradise system used for horses. A track that goes around the perimeter or does a figure of 8 with access to bigger areas in the middle.
Title: Re: perfect sheep paddock layout
Post by: landroverroy on February 21, 2017, 10:22:38 am
If I were starting again, knowing what I do now, I would consider what, to me presents the greatest problems. I think that that is ease of feeding and access in winter. 
So if you're planning on keeping your stock outside, even for part of the time, your biggest enemy is mud. That being the case, I wouldn't go for a cartwheel system because you would be concentrating your stock in the narrow part of the field, near the hub and that would soon become impassable to man and beast.
My ideal system would be to have the fields all next to each other in a row,  with a fenced  hardcore access track running along the bottom, with a gate from each field onto the track.  Something like this.I=I=I=I=I=I=I - I know it isn't very clear! But what I mean is the = sign is the track (meant to be continuous) and the I is the boundary separating each field.
I would then have my main building at the other side (beneath) of the track or at one end of it. This building would be built with easy access from the road so:
  1. Deliveries could easily get to your main building.
  2. It's easy to feed the animals in the field - merely take the feed from the building, along access track and put over fence into feeder. As ground gets trampled down around the feeder, simply move the feeder along the fenceline a bit.
  3. In order to move animals from one field to another,  open the gate to the track and drive them along to the next field or into the building.

Obviously this can be refined with gates, handling systems in strategic places, or the animals can simply be run into the building for handling.

Title: Re: perfect sheep paddock layout
Post by: Rosemary on February 21, 2017, 10:53:17 am
Once you get a layout on paper that you think will work, DL, you could maybe try it with electric?
Title: Re: perfect sheep paddock layout
Post by: Marches Farmer on February 21, 2017, 11:35:10 am
I like landroverroy's scheme.  We have the fields in a line but no path and having to shift A to D inevitably means moving B and C out of the way first.  Think also about loading the stock for market or the abattoir.  If you get lots of frost consider a central drinker with an underground access pipe, like they have in the US and Canada. Poaching is always a consideration - we have a field hayrack on a 15 sq metre square of tarmac in one of our fields but even then the area around the tarmac gets poached after a few weeks.
Title: Re: perfect sheep paddock layout
Post by: DartmoorLiz on February 23, 2017, 02:30:25 pm
Thanks everyone.  There's some interesting thoughts that I had not considered.  Mud, hardcore feeding areas, tracks, getting animals from A-D. My plan of action is:
1. Train the sheep to respect electric fencing
2. Make a track along a central field boundary to the middle.  This can also be part of a sheep handling system and get hardcore where it needs it.
3. Start dividing fields with electric fencing to work out what works.
And when I've got that far, in about 10 years, I'll let you all know how it works.