Regardless of flock size every shepherd rates sheep stress and personal welfare as a primary concern. There is always a job to be done when you keep sheep, whether drenching, vaccinating or sorting. It is important sheep are handled in a calm and safe manner and you, as the shepherd, are able to tend to them. Sheep are a lot happier being handled in a field, on grass, than in an unfamiliar yard on concrete. This makes a mobile yard the ideal handling tool and allows you to take the job to the sheep.
The basic components of a mobile yard comprise of hurdles, gates and panels, all carried on a trailer for easy transport and deployment. Utilise the hurdles to form a holding pen and panels to form a race. The gates allow access, and can be used for sorting/drafting. The trailer provides easy transport to the field and storage when not in use.
A mobile yard can benefit you by:
- Reduced animal stress, helping to maintain condition
- Time saved due to limited distances animals need to move
- Providing a safe work space for the shepherd
- Improved bio security
Mobile yards can range from £2,000 – £10,000. Here are the important features we recommend you look for when purchasing a mobile yard:
Aluminium hurdles are light and easily moved over uneven ground.
Vertical bar hurdles
Avoid hurdles that use horizontal bars along the top. Sheep that jump can get their legs caught and break them.
Drafting gates are essential to help separate individual sheep from the rest of the flock.
Using a Guillotine gate you can release the sheep from the back of the race. Because you are positioned behind the sheep they will move forward freely.
It is important the chassis is lightweight and can be easily man-handled into place.
The components are matched to what you require now but can be added to as your flock grows.
Type approved manufacture
Type approval ensures you are buying from a reputable and legal company. All companies with Type Approval conform to strict set of rules covering the manufacturing process and products.
When using your mobile yard set up is critical and can make a big difference to the efficiency. Here are a few points to consider;
- An alternative to a round pen is to set your yard against a perimeter fence. The pen can be opened wide to surround the sheep. Hurdles can then be pulled against the flock as you work through them.
- If you have uneven ground set your yard facing uphill rather than downhill. Sheep will move better uphill.
- Do not set your race up facing the sun. Stock will not run well into the suns reflection.
A mobile yard requires minimal maintenance and can last is excess of 20 years making it a reliable investment. It’s a modern tool no shepherd should be without.