Build your own stockyards.
They said “build post and rail stockyards, they will look rustic and a real feature!”. What they did not say is the major effort required to build something that is basically circular in key drafting areas and not too many straight edges or right angles.
We started the stockyards Christmas 2010 near the entrance of the property, under some beautiful trees for shade. There was a lot of debate on the type and shape of stockyards, but we finally settled on a main holding pen that feeds into a smaller pen with a choke into a sorter to direct cattle either up the ramp, into the race/crush, into a small nursery pen or into another holding pen (to be finished).
The yards are quite unique – some random really tall posts and some posts with serious kinks in them.
The posts are Yellow Box, courtesy of our neighbour, 900mm to 1m in the ground.
The panels are 6×2″ Grey Gum attached with 10mm galvanised coach bolts drilled right through the posts.
The gates are hand-made from galvanised oval panels with 50×50 box ends. The hinges and latches are also hand-made.
The fixed ramp is constructed from steel C-channel with hardwood treads inserted from the top. Every third tread is flipped up to provide traction for the animals. Ideally, we should have packed spacers between the treads to allow dirt to fall through. This can be done when treads need replacing. A larger piece of timber will be used for the truck stop as this can take quite a beating.
It has been a mammoth effort with enormous help from family and friends. We could not have done it without them.
After nearly four years, the stockyards are finally ready for use, albeit only for sorting and drenching. The crush is to be cemented in and the crush race panels are missing.
Next time, build steel stockyards. They may not look as rustic or natural but the labour-saving will outweigh the additional costs.