Finishing steers is a daily chore. There’s just no way around it. Over the years, we have picked up little design ideas from other ranches and had come up with our wish list to make our daily routine faster and safer when handling 1100lb animals. I love that the new pens look simple enough, but they were anything but that. We wanted something that blended with Amy’s huge 8′ tall garden fence, something that didn’t look like an afterthought. Being able to feed critters from outside the pens makes life easy if we need a neighbor to babysit while we’re traveling. The pen location gives us access to load out from behind using the existing alley to direct in and out of trailers easy and peaceful. It would also give great natural drainage since it’s on a good slope. Trying to make gates work and look good on any grade is pretty tricky, but I think we pulled it off. Oh, and we wanted to have the pens open to our irrigated pasture grasses so we can graze without overgrazing. AND, we wanted to be able to contain pigs too, which is why you’ll see the heavy screening on the bottom.
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The same freeze-proof water design we used for the chickens was a great fit for the steer pens as well. The hay manger can hold an entire day’s feed in case a neighbor can only get up once per day. Anytime we are gone, we let them out on the pasture grass as well for an additional buffer in case someone can’t make it up.