DIY cattle sweep

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Well-known member
Feb 1, 2021
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Jonesborough, TN
Anybody ever built their own sweep? I've got a barn I'd like to make a cattle working barn. The center lane of the barn is 8' wide. I need to be able to turn the cattle 90°, then down an alley into the head gate. I can either try to build a sweep or a curved alley. I'd prefer to build as much of it as I can with lumber. I just need to figure out what method would be easiest. I'd mostly be working 500-800lb calves though it, but would also have an occasional cow. What would you do?
What 'type' of cattle? Easy doers?
The 90deg turn all at once can be a problem if they are feisty types and you are using wood, especially if you're working alone. A 45deg turn is easier and several manufacturers make a 45deg offset. I got one from Preifert that was $220 back in 2010 and I couldn't have built it for that..wood or steel. It bolted or chained (my option) right into the 29" wide alley.
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I could easily do 2 45° turns or even 3 30° bends. They'll all be reasonably easy going and gentle (not pets). I learned a long time ago that it's not worth keeping wild and stupid animals. I've got plenty of length of my barn aisle, just not much wiggle room on the width at just 8'.
We built ours out of wood in an existing barn and was also limited on space. Built an 8 foot sweep that is actually a touch over 90 degrees and it works fine. Used 10 foot posts so the top could be 5-1/2 to 6 feet, don't remember which. Posts are probably 30 inches apart maybe, used 2x10's I think for rails, guessing 5 rows. Lined with sheets of 1/4" osb (used 1/4 so it would make curve. Made gate stops out of 3/4 x 2" wide x 14" long and spaced them every 15 inches or so. For sweep gate just used an 8 foot Souix gate and fastened plywood to it and extended that on both top and bottom to make higher and to keep any cattle from trying to stick head underneath.

Only problems we have is if too many get in tube at same time. Then it seems more likely to have one stop and turn around blocking the alley. Been using it for probably 25-30 years. But when posts rot off will probably make next one out of pipe like GoWyo's and CB's.
Yes. Put together a few. Nothing wood tho. I was burned out in '90 and lost just about everything so I now use very little wood.

Large Trampoline frames. use the curves for the top and bottom. Use heavy steel for your verticals and I welded sheep panels onto the steel. That is 5 foot tall 4 inch grid wire panels 20 feet long. The utility are 16 feet long and easier to find.

If you are getting over 100 head, buy something professionally fabricated.

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