Design of loading facilities and holding pens

Applied Animal Behaviour Science, volume 28 (1990) page187- 201

T. Grandin, Animal Science Department, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado U.S.A.

Holding pens and loading facilities are used in abattoirs, saleyards, stockyards, and sorting facilities.

In large facilities more than one unloading ramp may be required to facilitate prompt unloading. During warm weather, prompt unloading is essential because heat rapidly builds up in a stationary vehicle. Ideally, holding pens should be built at truck height to eliminate ramps.

Both loading and unloading ramps should have solid fences. The crowd pen that leads to the ramp should also have solid sides and it must never be placed on a ramp.

Crowd pens must be level.

Single file, curved ramps with solid fenced are very efficient for loading cattle onto trucks. Ramps used for unloading only should be 2.5 to 3m wide to provide animals with a clear exit off the vehicle.

In Denmark and other Scandinavian countries trucks used for transporting pigs are equipped with a hydraulic tailgate lift.

Well designed holding pens and loading ramps can help reduce bruises and stress.

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