Steps or slope in your cattle loading race?

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1 year 1 week ago #558615 by Ruth
We're figuring out our replacement loading ramp.  It's timber, gentle slope and somewhere I remember reading, probably in something by Temple Grandin, that cattle prefer stepping up on several flat steps, rather than walking up a slanted surface.  What does the floor of your loading ramp look like?

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1 year 1 week ago #558616 by Hertz Donut
Ours is probably 30 years old or more, traditional slope with battens across it every x steps to stop cattle sliding back down. At some point we'll be moving the whole stock yard (because that'll be a cheap exercise...) so we'll be looking for ways to improve it.

Don't ask me, it was on its side when I got here.

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1 year 1 week ago #558617 by Ruth
The one we're replacing was just soil/gravel fill, so we never thought about it. Decisions, decisions ...

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1 year 5 days ago #558619 by Hawkspur
It is an interesting question. I have seen some ramps with really widely spaced battens which I think are not going to make stock feel secure, especially in an environment they are unfamiliar with and possibly hesitant or unwilling to use.
It is easier for me to stand or walk on little steps rather than a slope. It means my muscles and tendons are not working to hold me on the slope, or dig in against the tendency to slide, and can just push or hold me up. I guess cattle feel the same. 
If you are going for battens, then make sure they are as close together as they can be yet still allow a hoof room to sit solidly on one - not much more than a hoof width, as if they are spaced far apart they give room for feet to slip in between, and they require more of a stretch to reach the next, which adds to instability or a sense of insecurity.
I find the feeling of a foot just slipping a very short way is disconcerting, (admittedly as a bipedal it is more of an issue), and allowing the foot to slip further risks panic or a fall.

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1 year 2 days ago #558621 by Stikkibeek
Ours is a slope. Made of a concrete wedge which appears to have once been for sheep, or older smaller trucks, it now has an additional concrete wedge put on top/ Rails and posts have been replaced in last 2 years.

Did you know, that what you thought I said, was not what I meant :S

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1 year 2 days ago #558622 by Stikkibeek
Also, Goats love hurling themselves off it, but new gat at bottom now stops their fun!. Quite steep, but non slippery due to very rough stony surface

Did you know, that what you thought I said, was not what I meant :S
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11 months 4 weeks ago #558641 by max2
Wasn't the degree of slope changed in the last animal welfare act update? 

I recall something along those lines, would definitely be pre covid ++, as the dairy farmer who I was picking up calves from had recently bought a new portable ramp and it was ''out'' by a couple of degrees.

To top it off, an inspector was on the truck for the pick up run.    

Might be worthwhile checking those regs or asking the carrier.  They will know of any specifics.. 

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11 months 4 weeks ago #558642 by LongRidge
In my experience, cattle and sheep do not like walking up steps,
Also remember that animals do not like a change of ground surface, and will baulk when going from soft to hard, and from one colour to another.

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11 months 3 weeks ago #558643 by Hertz Donut
I was working around our ramp last night and had the opportunity to take some measurements. The ramp is 4m long and has battens every 35cm or so for footholds. Will definitely be using a different method when we move the yard, I'll probably build a longer earth-filled ramp as this one booms quite a bit due to being open underneath.

Don't ask me, it was on its side when I got here.

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10 months 3 weeks ago #558675 by Inger
Ours is a sloped ramp and our cows/bulls don't have a problem with it. The main thing is that it must be non-slip, as that's what we've found that makes them baulk at walking on it. Chicken netting or such like, can help them grip better.

45 hectares between Whangarei and Paparoa. Registered Dexter cattle, Wiltshire sheep - black, white & pied.
New Hampshire Red poultry & Dorking poultry. Pilgrim Geese, Appleyard Ducks.
A cat called Pusscat and still looking for another heading dog.

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10 months 2 weeks ago #558716 by Ruth
Thank you for all helpful responses.  The jury is in!
Max, I didn't notice your post, unfortunately, so didn't check that, but did read up on recommended gradients for ramps.

The 20 weaner calves, average weight about 260kg, went off on a truck last week.  I've never seen our cattle run up the ramp to the truck before!  I'd say it works a treat.  They didn't seem bothered by the hollow woody noise, presumably because everything is new.  There is some evidence of scraping across the wood surface, but no significant sliding.  We might have to address that with some mesh of some kind but at this stage, we were keen to make sure it works, before adding any more to it.  

  

Next some larger animals.  We'll still have fingers crossed but so far, so excellent.
 
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10 months 2 weeks ago #558717 by Muz1
Looks great. You might need some grip material on the board walk as time weathers the planks.

Everything Must be Somewhere

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10 months 1 week ago #558722 by Ruth
There's mesh on the cat-walk up the side, just nothing yet on the ramp itself.
We are thinking about how to address the one thing we missed: will have to do something at the top to hinge out alternate boards to provide access to the rails for the driver to go over and into the truck to shut internal doors. At least that's my plan at present. Driver had to go over the rails at the bottom and up the ramp to do it this time.

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10 months 1 week ago #558723 by Muz1
For truck access you might consider a ladder at the flat part of the walkway or maybe creating a gate into the race at the flat part. The gate would swing into the race allowing truck access and blocking off the race from other stock.
I have seen both ideas used. Drawback with the ladder is getting back out.

Everything Must be Somewhere

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10 months 1 week ago #558757 by Ruth
Thanks, still reckon my idea will work better. Just have to draw it up to see if that's true. I have it in my head but there might be something that doesn't work.

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