An antipodean approach to handling alpacas with a chute

Animal handling practices in New Zealand tend to draw from the long run national experience with farming sheep (NZ at one time had about 20 sheep for every man, woman and child in the country and farming sheep had about the same economic significance to kiwis as ranching long horn cattle had in the American West) Perhaps as a result of this heritage we go for lighter constructions than our US contemporaries (smaller cars, light trailers, etc) so the construction of typical American Alpaca/Llama chutes is heavier and more complicated than we would use.

Also our sheep heritage produced solutions for large numbers of animals so we tend to design our facilities so activities flow together well. The pictures that follow illustrate a simple chute integrated into a set of pens. This is typical of sheep farming practice here where a yards complex will include one or more races that feed the individual pens and also include a set of drafting gates somewhere to sort animals into different groups (note the different terminology from the US - we use yards and races where in the US they use pens and chutes - just like we put the rubbish bin out on the footpath while the US put their garbage pails out on the sidewalk :-)

this first page shows the details of the race(chute) and the later pages discuss its use

In the sketch plan to the left
- the broad solid pieces are the permanent railed walls of the pens
- the wall on the south side is solid and 8 feet high topped with a roof which extends over the two pens on the south side and the race area in the centre
- the thin lines are gates with the arrow heads being at the moving/latch ends
- the grey rectangle in the race is the scale platform

the plan is not to scale nor is it in correct proportions north/south versus east/west

In this sequence you are starting out from the western side of the yards looking east down the length of the race. The covered pens (south side) are on your right

In this shot we are looking along the length of the race from the outside of the yards complex through to a larger outer pen and beyond that the paddock through which the alpacas approach the yards
the floor of the race is the load pan for a set of scales
there is a small feeder pen just beyond the race
a solid wooden gate between the race and the feeder yard is open in this shot
in the immediate foreground on left and right solid wooden gates are in their open position
to the left and right you are looking into a pair of small 10 x 10 foot square yards - the metal gates that separate each pair of side pens are open in this view
the pens on the right hand side have a sold wall on the far side to provide protection from the south easterly winds to which we are exposed

in this shot the side gates have been closed to block access from the side pens into the race

in this shot the gate at the end of the race is now closed to block access from the feeder pen

relative to the previous shots this view is from the left hand pen into the race through the opened side gate of the race. The side gate on the other side of the race is still closed

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