September 13, 2016
In 2015, Alan and Charlotte Heim built a new 999-head feedlot for their custom replacement heifer development business.
Related story: Raising beef replacement heifers right
Feedlot features include poured-in-place concrete bunks and heavy-use pads, cable fence and concrete waterers. The feedlot has 12 50-head pens and four 100-head pens. Each client’s heifers are kept in separate pens.
The feedbunks face a center alley. Heifer calves coming in off pasture aren’t used to drylots. But they’ll come to the bunks sooner because they can look across the alley and see other cattle. Then they discover the feed, Alan Heim says.
NEW FEEDLOT: Alan Heim closes a gate at the back of one of the pens. The pens’ herringbone design is one of the low-stress cattle-handling features incorporated into the feedlot.
Designed by DeHaan Grabs and Associates, a Mandan, N.D., engineering firm, the new feedlot has dirt mounds in the pens. Such mounds aren’t common in beef feedlots, but they are used frequently in dairy feedlots to keep dry cows and replacement heifers out of the mud.
The fences across the back of the pens, opposite the feedbunks, are arranged in a herringbone pattern. Heifers follow the herringbone fences when they are returning from the handling facility. They don’t have to be prodded to enter the pen when the gate is open. They walk straight into the enclosure. If the alley had two parallel fences, a gate would have to be opened to the pen, and the heifers would be forced to make a 90-degree turn to enter the pen.
“It doesn’t seem like a big thing,” Heim says, “but the herringbone design makes a difference in how calm the heifers are.”
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