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Sheep Working Pens Are A Necessity

Livestock Update, December 1996

Steve Umberger, Animal and Poultry Sciences

Timely management practices such as vaccinations, foot trimming, and internal parasite control are more likely to happen when working pens are a on the farm. Otherwise, there is a tendency to delay or avoid getting the work done. Unfortuanately, this may lead to unnecessary death loss and poor flock performance. The six essential components of an effective working facility for sheep are: 1) large holding pen; 2) crowding pen; 3) crowding chute; 4) long narrow working chute with cutting gates; 5) foot bath; and 6) loading chute. The general space requirement for the large holding pen is 8 sq. feet per ewe for ewes with lambs or 4.5 sq. feet for ewes only. The space requirement for a pen footbath is 3.7 sq. feet per ewe. The crowding chute, working chute, and loading chute should have solid walls. During periods of inclement weather, it is extremely helpful when the primary working area is under roof. Basic plans for sheep working pens are available. For more information write or call Steve Umberger, Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061-0306, (540)231-9159.

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