Animal Handling

When it comes to crush setups and cattle handling facilities it is better to rely on animal behavioural principles instead of sheer force to restrain and control animals during handling. Fine-tuning the design of animal handling facilities will enhance animal welfare and reduce stress and injuries. This applies to both animal and user. When designing a crush, parlour exit race or any other handling facilities there are several factors to consider. Safety, cow flow,  management and handling of livestock, location, future developments, your yard layout and how it will fit into your day to day activities. Implementing all these factors is not always possible, but all should be considered and are good starting points for design. Most of all using handling facilities should not be a chore, a well-designed handling facility should fit in with your day to day routine seamlessly. Here is a short video on some cow behaviour point you should consider when designing your yard and handling setups.

In terms of safety for the handler, pedestrian walkways and slip throughs are key design feather that should be included for all handling systems and yards. a simple slip through may save your life. We also have a range for handling items like head scoops, hoofnacks and anti-back gates, which not only make the job easier but also safer, saving hands, fingers and arms from being damaged or broken.


Fitting Cattle Handling Facilities

When fitting your crush it is important to follow the fitting instructions. A straight crush is simple enough to fit, we would recommend starting with the crush gate and work back. Ensure that poles with latch holes and lugs are in the correct position. All our crush panels and poles are designed to bolt together for a simple installation, no welding required on site.

Where this can get a bit more complicated is when you are laying out a yard or penning before your crush.  Best practice is the ensure that the most critical measurements are accounted for first. Let say you are fitting one of our 360-degree gates in the lead into your parlour exit or penning. This gate could have 3 or 4 points of contact to latch into. A standard gates clearance is 30mm, the 360-degree gate has an extra-long latch to help increase the latching points available but you are still working with a tight margin for error. Once you have decided on the point of contact then in this case you would start at the back of the crush and work forward. This ensures the handling system all works together as planned, also this is where you can really see the benefit and value of a quality fitter or builder.

Here is a quick demonstration of our 360-degree gate in action.

Cattle are less surefooted on downward slopes and prefer to walk on a slight uphill gradient. Where this is a choice you should always go uphill. When standing a crush on a fall or rise in the ground we recommend standing the crush poles at 90 degrees to the ground level and not plumb. If the poles are plumb over a distance you may lose too much high in the crush. By standing the poles at 90 degrees to the ground level you do not lose any height, maintaining the safety and height of your crush. All other poles in a yard for hanging gates, etc should be plumb (as normal).



The Fixed Cattle Crush

A fixed cattle crush is an essential feature in any farmyard to handle animals safely. ODEL cattle crushes offer customers a simple adaptable crush system, hinged or fixed crush panels and a range of accessories, we’ll design your cattle crush to suit your needs. This video is of a cattle shed with a 360-degree cow flow system, the cattle never leave the system, flowing out one side of the shed and straight back on the other making it much safer for the handler.



Parlour Exit Race

A functional parlour exit race is an essential feature in any dairy farmyard to handle animals safely.  Our experienced sales team is available to answer any queries you may have on cow flow and safety. You can rely on their practical advice in designing your ideal exit race and drafting setup, penning or crush layout. We work with any parlour setup or drafter. the video below is from Salesian’s agricultural college where we linked up with a Dairymaster rotary parlour and drafter.



Outside Farm crush and penning

When it comes to investing in cattle handling facilities, strength, safety and durability should be the key decision factors. Investing in the correct equipment is essential in maximising efficiency, cow flow and you’re on farm safety. Here at O’Donovan Engineering, we have a wide range of solutions, crush products & accessories to suit all your needs.


Below is a nice outside farm crush and penning set up with creep gates for feeding calves and it is wide enough to drive through. It also has a made to measure gate for loading a cow box, making life safe and easier for this farmer.


IAE Mobile Crush Options

We are agents for IAE in Ireland, with over 30 years of experience in manufacturing cattle crushes and cattle handling facilities, IAE knows what works. We have a wide range of mobile crushes options with many unique features, to suit a variety of uses. IAE crushes are easy to use and we believe probably the best available in today’s market place. Here in O’Donovan Engineering, our motto is “quality and innovation give us the edge” – and this is the standard we hold ourselves to. This goes for manufacture and for what we import, that is why we are proud to be trade partners of IAE. We strive to bring our customers the best solutions and products available on the market.

Below is one of IAE’s crush option the Saracen suckler cattle crush.

Saracen Full Access Crush



At O’Donovan Engineering, our motto is “quality and innovation give us the edge” – and this is the standard we hold ourselves to. With over 40 years of experience in the market, we have the solutions to make your farm work for you.

Our experienced sales and engineering teams will work directly with you; designing and fitting the optimum layout in your new or existing crush setups and animal handling yard. It is important to keep in mind the options available to you. We look at each yard individually and design a solution for you! Contact us today at 00353 (0)217334066 or  CLICK HERE FOR CRUSHES & HANDLING



Hugh MacEneaney, Teagasc Dairy Adviser, Mullinavat, Co Kilkenny

“Good facilities allow farmers to expand production and incomes and add to the asset value of the farm. They also lead to a better quality of life for the farm family by reducing the workload and the drudgery. In many cases, particularly on dairy farms, buildings pay for themselves over a 7-10 year period. This is especially true when capital grant and tax savings are available.”

If you are looking for more information below I have link two very good article

HandlingFacilities. Article by Tom Ryan (Teagasc)

The important aspects to consider in designing cattle handling facilities”by Darren Carty of the Irish Farmers Journal