Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Features and Benefits of Corral Panel Systems


 I did a prior post which touched on this subject, but I will clarify and enlarge upon some details in this one.

    I do a lot of talking about our responsibility to care for our animals properly in all weathers and especially in disasters and emergencies.  Most of us with dogs and cats have a plan.  Of course, if you have livestock such as horses, alpacas, cattle, goats, sheep, emu, etc. you need to have a more detailed plan for evacuating them.   Once you buy, rent, or get a friend to aid you with evacuation from your own site, you still need to have arrangements for where they might stay until your place is ready for your animals return.   Once you've secured a safe piece of land with a friend or your vet, how do you prevent your animals from becoming lost in an unfamiliar location ?    One of the ways you can keep livestock together and somewhat protected is through the use of corral panels which link together to provide fairly sturdy fencing for them. These can actually be assembled up against a barn or garage so that your animals have access to an indoor area, and can freely walk around in the corral.
     One of my friends keeps her animals on her farm and has a friend with a farm west of here with whom she has an evacuation arrangement, should a wildfire for example, trigger an evacuation of her farm.  She considers her friend's farm their evacuation location, or beta site. She has chosen to store her corral panels at the beta site, so that in an evacuation, all she would need to do is move the animals in a horse trailer herself. Her friend has a similar arrangement with her farm.  If you don't have a similar arrangement with someone, now is the time to consult with your farm vet. Most farm vets know of people who have space and run ins, who would often be agreeable to such an arrangement if it were made in advance.  Do not wait for an emergency and then try to relocate your animals. Advance planning is always best.

     Corral panels are available from a variety of manufacturers.  They come in galvanized which is a silver variety, and may also come in dark blue, brick red, or what most call "farm green". Rarer colors include yellow or brown.  Panels come in 6', 12' and 16 foot sizes. They are generally 5 feet tall. There are modular sections which have 4 or 6 foot gates.   The panels weigh about 50 lbs. each and are easily hooked together using the pin assembly on each corner, by two people working together.  One person can assemble these, but it goes much faster with two.   Some people assemble these as circles, especially for horses as they can also be used as riding rings, but others configure them as squares or as rectangles, although a triangle is certainly possible.   Some people use these as permanent fencing, and if you do this, you should anchor the fencing additionally by securing the corners using wood posts buried in the ground, which the fencing could be strapped to in some fashion.


This is how one manufacturer links the panels together.  This is a galvanized panel.

This is an example of how livestock panels can be linked up to make a circular enclosure.  Note the gate at the far right of the picture.

This set of corral panels is being stored upside down. They will last longer if stored with a roof above them perhaps with other farm implements.

Such corrals can also be transported fairly easily.

This is a small temporary enclosure for animals  If you use a corral panel system for miniature horses, you may need to place something else below the lowest rail.  Really young miniatures horses can get stuck while trying to exit the enclosure..

A horse near corral panels.

                A number of companies manufacture these panels.  Some home improvement stores have them, depending upon your area, as a special order item.  Certainly, agricultural supply companies usually have a way of getting them.   They come up used occasionally in rural areas on Craigslist.    A few sellers of corral systems advertise new corrals on Craigslist.    It can be very difficult to buy all the portions you want with the gate sizes you want, and so it can take time to buy what you need.  In my area, these systems were stocked for Spring, and are now all sold out.   This is what I get for singing the praises of planning ahead and making sure you have provisions for your own animals.

               If you plan to use a run in structure for your animals, and permanently link a corral fencing system around it, you can set galvanized poles in concrete on both sides of the structure. (Please cap them, so rain doesn't become ice and shorten their lifespan)  then, you can link up, or secure your corral fencing to these. Remember also to secure your corners in the same way.

These horses are being pastured with red corral panels

                Depending upon the size of the corral you need, they can be purchased for anywhere from $695. US to $1500. US   If you have livestock, this is definitely something you might consider,  for your tax refund. Conventional animal fencing is often much more expensive, and generally more permanent.  It is also possible to buy corral fencing systems with wire bottoms for the purpose of fencing smaller animals, such as chickens, ducks, and smaller goats and sheep.   It is also possible to use some of the wired prefabricated fencing systems to fence around garden areas depending upon the size you wish to contain.

This particular gate can be specially ordered from Home Depot. This particular one is not designed to link up with a corral panel set up, but there are some that are.  In addition, with a little of extra work, these could be used to create a square or rectangular region designed to protect a particularly sensitive area of a vegetable garden.

               When you do decide to buy a corral fencing system, order it well in advance from the time you anticipate needing it, as there can be a significant backorder on these items at certain times of year and in areas where there has been a tornado, or other emergency, and emergency temporary fencing for a large number of animals has been needed.

GATE WARNING:   Many horses have great dexterity with their lips, not unlike fingers.  I have watched horses casually unlock a number of different types of gates and then go for a stroll.  Make sure that all of your gates are secure, and if you have any doubts, add an additional way of securing the gate.  I know of one horse who had his temporary pen tied with a scarf because he could defeat all the other locks.  Mr. Ed has abilities you haven't even contemplated !

Should you have an interest in other types of fencing, these are prior posts of ours on the subject:

This also applies to fencing installation:

These are simply a few of the manufacturers and sellers of these items in the US:  Most will also send to Canada.

Baird Gate Corral Panels

Tractor Supply Corral Panels

Home Depot Corral Panels

C Siron Corral Panels


Linda said...

I have my emergency cage the hens spent the night in, secure in the house for awhile. Scoop up two hens and I am gone from here in an emergency.

This is the first time I have heard of the portable corral panels. You can tell I am not much into larger livestock.

JaneofVirginia said...

I enjoy all the different animals. It can be challenging for anyone to evacuate animals. Many of mine tolerate each other because they live in different parts of the farm, but if evacuated to a much smaller space, good fences are essential.

Ranch Supplycom said...

Looks great and you make it look so easy to build! cattle panels That's for the great directions. I am sure they will love it!

JaneofVirginia said...

I have two different types of corral panels now. Both are fairly easy to take down and reassemble for anyone who is able to unload a bag of feed or move a bail of hay. They make the setting up of animals in an evacuation location, a much easier task. Thanks for posting.

umair said...

I would like to incorporate a chicken coops arch into my vegetable garden. I am just afraid it would create too much shade for the surrounding plants. There are lots of things you can do with cattle panel if you are creative.

JaneofVirginia said...

Thank you for posting. I have some "smaller cattle panels" which I believe are actually intended as pig enclosures. They were fairly new and did not work out for the original purchasers intention, so I bought them from her. I was not sure what I would do with them, but perhaps they are best used to protect certain vegetables while growing from deer. Best wishes,

adeel rehman said...

I favor using the woven wire also. For the reasons Bill gives, and also because it has more "give." I have used a woven

wire round pen for many years, and still do. Five or six years ago we built a second round pen panels with cattle panels in

a different field. It looked very spiffy. The first time we used it was at a clinic, where an out-of-control novice dog ran

one of the sheep into a panel. Its neck broke and it had to be put down (fortunately, one of the clinic attendees was a

vet). If that sheep had been run into wire fencing I'm sure the damage would have been minimal

adeel rehman said...

We are planning a coop build out of our own - cattle panels our 7 chicks are getting big now (just got them a month ago.) Looking at your coop has me thinking about their needs in a completely different direction now! What a beautiful home for your feathered friends!

JaneofVirginia said...

Thanks for posting. Glad the pictures were a help !