Sunday, July 5, 2009

Building a corral, part 5 of 5, BOM, costs, thoughts

The plans specify 10' gates -- I had a pile of 14' gates that I purchased at a dairy auction and I wanted to use them instead of building the gates in the plans. To accommodate the bigger gates I stretched the design to 38'x44' outside dimensions and then adjusted the radius points and stuff to make it work. Ended up adding one post to each wall, and a post in the center of the cut-off part to make them fit, but found that the big steel gates are both longer and heavier than was probably planned for. So the gates dragged the corner posts around a bunch. As a test, I put a 2x4 across the openings to see if that firmed up the corner posts enough, and it did. So I bolted on timbers to those corners and did an arch, below.
This arch from the posts the gate attached to to the opposite corner was a 16' 2x4 screwed into an extension on the top of the original post. It firmed up the gate post so that the gate could swing free.
In looking at the chute design, i wanted 20' length so that I could have 3 cows in it at a time. I decided to do two blocking gates. One about 6' past the loading ramp opening, and one at the edge of the corral where the squeeze chute would go. The goal of that was to allow me to control the whole thing by myself if need be. Get the cow into the chute, close the blocking gate, then walk to the next blocking gate and open it, get the cow into the squeeze, etc. Having two blocking gates with a gate back into the holding pen between them allows me to move animals out of the chute one at a time until I get to the animal I want in the squeeze chute. Think about situations where you want to work on the 3rd cow in line but not the first two.
The catwalk on the inside of the loading chute turns out to be a pretty handy bench to sit on as well. This one was faced with scraps from the corral rails.

One thing that I didn't notice in the plans was that the wall that the crowding gate is attached to is a straight line to the loading gate. If I were to do this again, I'd consider adding a curve so that the loading ramp isn't a straight shot from anywhere in the corral. A little turn or curve so that the cows can't see the trailer until they're at the ramp.

Here's the BOM:

All lumber except the OSB is pressure treated, all hardware is galvanized or outdoor rated.

42 4x4x8' posts (most posts are 8' 4x4), $11 each, $462
4 4x4x10' posts (blocking gates) $14 each, $56
51 16' 2x6x16' (rails), $816
110 80lb bags of concrete, $384
2 steel gates, 14', $250
11 sheets 1/2" OSB, $70
5 gallons cheap exterior paint (for the osb), $42
30lbs 16d 3.5" galvanized common nails, $65
5lbs 3" deck screws (osb, gates), $20
16 1/4" lag bolts (vertical extentions to gate posts and line posts)
9 heavy duty galvanized hinges (3 per gate, 3 gates), $54
two rail hinges, stanley kits, blocking gates, $170
two eye hooks, two pulleys (blocking gate trigger)
two 8' segments of channel for the blocking gates, $60
10 2x4x16' (gate support arches & vertical extensions), $120

Materials cost: $2500 or so.
Labor: 11 man days. All post holes hand-dug, which added probably a day vs doing them with the tractor, but the majority of the labor time is just the careful assembly. The plans are pretty sketchy

Stuff that I'm likely to add: Concrete pad under the loading/squeeze chute area, probably another $300 in materials and labor, the loading ramp itself, and a squeeze chute at the end of the pen. It's designed to butt the squeeze chute against the sheeted chute, so it should just be a drop in item. If it isn't, I'll extend the chute a few feet to make it fit better; half a day. I'm watching craigslist and the auctions for a used chute.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How far apart did you space your posts? I agree that the plans on the Canadian site are sketchy. I would love to see an overhead view of the corral. Can you stand on the roof of your truck? :) Where did you buy your lumber?