Recommended Handling Facility Layout


  • This diagram illustrates a modern cattle stockyard and chute system. All the animal movement is one-way and there is no cross traffic. Each long narrow pen holds one truckload. The animals enter through one end and leave through the other. The round crowd pen and curved chute facilitate movement of cattle to the stunner. 
  • A curved chute is more efficient for cattle because it takes advantage of their natural circling behaviour. It also prevents them from seeing the other end while they are standing in the crowd pen.

  • A curved single file chute with solid sides at a ranch.
  • A curved chute should be laid out correctly. Too sharp a bend at the junction between the single file chute and the crowd pen will create the appearance of a dead end. All species of livestock will balk if a chute looks like a dead end. Round crowd pens are efficient for moving all species into a single file chute.


    Curved system for handling and loading cattle.





  • Crowd gate lengths for pig operations may vary based on line speeds and plant sizes. As a guideline, the recommended radii (length of crowd gate) are: Cattle, 12 feet (3.5m); pigs, eight feet (2.4m); and sheep, eight feet (2.4m).

    Sheep in a crowd pen moving into a single file race.


    The basic layout principles are similar for all species, but there is one important difference. Cattle and sheep crowd pens should have a funnel entrance and pig crowd pens must have an abrupt entrance. Pigs will jam in a funnel. A crowd pen should never be installed on a ramp because animals will pile up in the crowd pen. If ramps have to be used, the sloped portion should be in the single file chutes. In pork facilities, level stockyards and chute systems with no ramp are most efficient.


    Pigs being handled in a round crowd pen.


  • Example design for truck loading ramp for pigs with a curved chute and round crowd pen system for a meat plant.