Farmers using the revolutionary Roundhouse building for beef cattle estimate their animals are finishing between three and five weeks faster than those in conventional accommodation because of the superior environment.
Labour input is also being cut by half, and veterinary bills slashed by between 50% and 75%. There’s also a reduction in straw use for bedding - by between 15% and 20%. All of the farmers, when surveyed, gave the Roundhouse full marks for the quality of the atmosphere in the building, for the handling system, and for the ease of use of the building. All would recommend it, they said.
Integrated features – such as the handling system and escape gaps in the pen divisions – were particularly highlighted by the farmers as being useful features. “The Roundhouse allows the farmer to run cattle through a race on his own, instead of gathering a group of people to together to perform the task,” said one user. Another commented that “there is no safety issue with one man working on his own in the Roundhouse for most operations due to the safety measures”.
Animal welfare, handling and loading
The Roundhouse has been designed with animal welfare in mind – be it the environment, or the handling system.
The open sides and roof vent mean airflow is perfect for the animals, flowing evenly in through the sides and out through the top. Users of the building report much lower rates of disease, particularly pneumonia.
The open internal layout means the animals can always see other animals across the building, reducing stress because the “fright and flight” zone is much wider than in a conventional building.
The integral crowd pen and handling system are key, making management of stock much easier and stress free than in conventional buildings – for both the animals and stockman.
The crowd pen is accessible from all pens and delivers the stock directly into the handling system, and then onward to the loading dock. The operator always has steel and gate protection around him, thus improving his health and safety.
The loading dock and collecting pen at the end of the race allows animals to be penned before loading and provides sufficient turning space to return the animals back to their pens.
Feed and Water
The Roundhouse lends itself to quick and safe feeding, with troughs placed on the circumference for easy access by a mixer wagon, or materials handler. There is also enough space between the top of any trough and bottom of the roof to comfortably fit a round bale through. There is no need to open gates or enter the pens for either feeding or bedding purposes.
Water is delivered to small troughs via a gravity fed system that utilises a single header tank in the handling area. There are no ball-cocks accessible to the stock, so there is nothing for them to damage or to freeze in bad weather.