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sheep inside a sheep handling system

The importance of good handling

With most people’s lambing season over and summer just around the corner we’re heading into the peak season for sheep handling.

Whether it’s shearing ewes or weighing and weaning lambs, there is always a handling job to be done. And there are many ways you can help the handling process so everything runs smoothly.

The best systems and yard setups make good use of natural flocking behaviour to encourage the flow of sheep and provide a familiar working environment for operatorand animal.

For farmers handling groups of 100 sheep or more, the Sheep System D is designed with a focus on multifunctionality and animal flow, maximising efficiency.

Both cattle and sheep tend to return in the direction they have come from so the 180 degree crowding pen drives sheep around the system, naturally encouraging continuous flow.


The pen’s swing and slide gate ensures there is no dead space and users can backfill pens to make handling quick and easy.

Before the sheep reach this part of the handling system, they are held in pens which are built from six rail interlocking hurdles, making the space feel open and encouraging the sheep to enter.

Sheep System D can help with a whole variety of routine and one-off procedures taking place on farm throughout the year.

It includes three separate races: a 915mm wide foot bathing race, a treatment race and a narrow sorting race.

These three races can handle all sorts of vital jobs from foot bathing, worming and drenching to vaccinating or drafting.

They are long, narrow and constructed from sheeted hurdles, making it less likely the sheep will be effected by distractions and outside noises.

And further holding or dispersal pens can be added using interlocking sheep hurdles, allowing for larger groups of sheep andefficient drafting.

IAE cater for all sheep farming enterprises, offering a wide range of systems, each designed for a different purpose.

The Sheep System A basic kit is great for smaller farms, holding up to 20 breeding ewes or more if additional pens are added.

The system also makes use of open holding pens to encourage entry before adopting the crowding pen method to return sheep in the direction they came from.

Unique to the system is a 5m race which can be tapered if you are working with lambs. It is fronted by a lift and swing guillotine gate.

A single operator can control the flow of animals into the race using the pulley system on the gate while at the exit point, a two-way drafting gate is included for efficiency.

The most effective systems are well thought out in terms of location and component features to ensure the very best return.

If an off-the-shelf sheep handling system doesn’t suit you, you can  create a bespoke solution with components sold separately.