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Author Topic: Ideas for designing sheep pens in barn please  (Read 7655 times)

OhLaLa

  • Joined Sep 2010
Ideas for designing sheep pens in barn please
« on: May 19, 2011, 07:51:21 pm »
I'm about to build permenant sheep pens in the open sided barn, main use will be for lambing.

I'm thinking three sections: in lamb ewes, ewes about to lamb (each penned sep) and ewes with lambs.

I've got metal hurdles for the divisions, the outer perimeter will be wooden.

Any must haves or don't do's? Sizes?

 :sheep:  :love:

shetlandpaul

  • Joined Oct 2008
Re: Ideas for designing sheep pens in barn please
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2011, 08:57:14 pm »
pallets are wonderful things and cheap.

daddymatty82

  • Joined Aug 2010
  • swindon
Re: Ideas for designing sheep pens in barn please
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2011, 09:44:38 pm »
make them temp as the barn can be used for multiple things then very easy and very economical

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Ideas for designing sheep pens in barn please
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2011, 01:01:13 am »
I like to have a large pen for two or three ewes with their new lambs.  I use it as a staging area between the mothering-up in a pen on their own and before going into the big outdoors.  Any ewes and especially first-timers and adoptions where I am not completely certain how well joined up they are but don't want to keep them in a single pen any longer.  It does need to be quite large - 15' x 15' or more - so that those ewes who can be aggressive to lambs not their own do not feel pressured and harm any of the other lambs.  I also train lambs who need it to come to me for a top-up in this area before they go outside - mum can interfere with catching them to give them a bottle once they are outside, but if the lamb knows about the bottle it'll run to me irrespective of mum's opinion.

Personally I don't pen the ewes in an individual pen until they have lambed unless there is a reason.  It restricts their movement while lambing, increases the risk of squishing one lamb while trying to produce the second, and you get all the birth mess in the pen which therefore needs immediate mucking out.

In an ideal world I like the lambing pen itself to be not much deeper (front to back) than the ewe is from nose to tail and just a couple of feet wider than deep.  I like them to be twice as wide as they are deep for triplets.  I like there to be a safe place for the lambs to get away from mum, if not in every pen then in a few for those ewes who get aggressive, for any adoptions, and for triplets.  A shelf the lamb can climb onto works fine.

I like the lambing pens to be very easy to clean out.

I do agree about making the pens temporary so that the barn can be used for other things the rest of the year.  A system I had on a previous farm and am planning to put in here is to have batons along the back wall with brackets to which the pen sides will attach (by pole through the holes in the brackets and matching holes in the pen sides.)  It's all very easy to put up and take down and very sturdy when built.  You can either buy pen sides with the holes in (some metal hurdles will have holes for poles to connect to each other) or you can attach brackets to your own wooden pen sides.

I also like to use something to hold the hay so that they don't waste it and get it all twisted around their feet.  A flap of weldmesh is a cheaper option than the clip-on hay racks.

Depending on the number of sheep you are looking at and their breed, if you are planning to feed cake in the shed then you may want to consider a setup whereby you can put out the feed in the troughs / feeders before you let the ewes at it.  Unless you run very fast....  ;D
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Ideas for designing sheep pens in barn please
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2011, 08:06:42 am »
Tim Tyne has an article in Country Smallholding this month about sheep housing - gives dimensions. Also have a look at the Soil Association standards for sheep as they also give standards for housing.

OhLaLa

  • Joined Sep 2010
Re: Ideas for designing sheep pens in barn please
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2011, 09:10:19 am »
Helpful replies - thank you all. Thanks SallyintNorth for taking the time to write all of that out, lots of good tips there.

Pallets here at a premium, always a use for them and not enough spare to make pens out of.

Luckily I have several barns so can afford the space for a ready to use permanent area dedicated to the sheep, but can see the benefits of it being temp.

I have another smaller outbuilding I could adapt which was for calves, so the partitions are already in, problem with that room is there is there is no window (no natural light apart from when door open) and hence not much ventilation. Ideas ??????   ?


 :sheep:  :wave:

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Ideas for designing sheep pens in barn please
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2011, 09:26:19 am »
I have another smaller outbuilding I could adapt which was for calves, so the partitions are already in, problem with that room is there is there is no window (no natural light apart from when door open) and hence not much ventilation. Ideas ??????   ?

Any way you could put an inner 'door' (maybe a hurdle would do) across inside the existing door so that the solid door could be left open most of the time?
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

OhLaLa

  • Joined Sep 2010
Re: Ideas for designing sheep pens in barn please
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2011, 08:44:47 am »
Ta for the suggestion SallyintNorth, I've taken a look but the door opens straight onto another internal pen door.

I've decided it's a no go as sheep pens. Way too dark and bleak in there as is.   :(


 :sheep:  :wave:

bazzais

  • Joined Jan 2010
    • Allt Y Coed Farm and Campsite
Re: Ideas for designing sheep pens in barn please
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2011, 10:11:55 pm »
I'd work with the size of the hurdles :)

For me - Prob be 6 foot square shapes for penned stuff. (though the occasional bodge of hurdles dividing that in two.)

I'd love to be able to plan out, and I do try, but in the end the lambing area is just bailer twine and hurdles fished out from hedges everywhere. A slog of climbing over 4 hurdles to feed the back lot - oh god glad its over...

thinking - its prob a good idea to plan a lambing area - 6 foot by 4 foot is prob the smallest area I'd put any of my lot in, referring to you last two sections. 6x6 being ideal.

Baz

 

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