Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Building a corral, part 4 of 5, gates

The first gate completed is the gate that routes cows from the corral into the loading ramp. This view is with the gate in the "loading ramp" position. The loading ramp will be to the left when it's completed.

This is the view with the gate in the "chute" position. We're looking at the blocking gate about 10' down the chute. This blocking gate was based on plan 1814.
This is the view with the blocking gate open. You can see it to the right through the corral rails.

This blocking gate was actually one of the most expensive to construct. The rolling hinge and track that it runs on cost $85. Counting the cost of lumber, labor and hinge, this gate cost $125 to construct. It slides into a slot between four 4x4 posts. We'll install two of them in the finished corral.
This is the view of the hinge and rail that the door operates on. It's angled so that the door naturally slides shut. You operate it from the catwalk inside by sliding it back and forth, or from the outside of the corral by a string and pulley that haven't been installed in this picture. You can see the loop that the string will attach to if you look closely at the top of the door just to the left of the leftmost post.

These are the two access gates. The one on the left opens into the squeeze chute area -- the goal of that one is to allow us to clear a cow from the chute to get to the one we want to work on. So it opens into the main corral. The second is a man gate to allow folks inside the corral to exit it to the squeeze chute area. They're built to blend in with the fence so that they aren't obvious targets for a curious steer.
Access gate closed, chute gate open. There will be another blocking gate just outside the end of the chute, just in front of where the squeeze chute will install.
This is the start of the framing for the catwalk. The verticals are scraps from the fence rail, nailed to the posts and then trimmed to allow a 2x6 to be laid across. The catwalk will be topped with scraps from the rails that are nailed both to the 2x6 and to the fence rail. The goal of this catwalk is to allow someone to work down the chute encouraging the cattle to move into the loading ramp or down the path to the squeeze chute. I've spaced the top boards 1" apart, and angled them about 1" down from level to allow the rain to keep them clean of mud and debris. This catwalk also makes a nice bench.

At this point we're at 5.5 man days of labor. I'll do a complete breakdown of the materials and costs in the final post.

1 comment:

Don said...

Nice fence, some good ideas here. One thing I have learned is that gates always sag from their own weight, and an angle board or turnbuckle cable is the way to minimize that sag. Do you plan to do this now, or wait to see if this is a problem? Once the sagging starts, it bends the fasteners and enlarges the fastener holes, so doing it now is a good idea.