Cattle hate wind, and if you live on a farm like I do, where your cattle can be outside year round, this can create a problem. We reorganized our outside housing to reduce the amount of wind cattle are subjected to.
Tools needed before you start the windbreak project, include a compressor, nail gun and generator (if necessary), because doing it manually with a hammer and nails is slower and a lot more work. You will also want at least one person helping to hold boards and provide other assistance.
For our shelters, a lime pad was made fast, using lime screenings laid down in the centre of part of the windbreaks. This lime base provides for steadier footing for the cattle and doesn’t get as muddy in the wet season (mainly spring). The lime base also allows for better traction for the tractor during clean up.
We made two different types of windbreaks — some are portable, and others are permanent. The portable windbreaks are eight feet high; boards are attached to a steel frame that can be slid along the ground. The portable windbreaks are used for blocking wind in different areas as needed, however, make sure the portable units are well anchored to prevent them from tipping or moving. Ours are located outside the cattle pasture and we use a round hay bale, set on the frame to keep them from moving.
The permanent windbreaks are built by inserting 16-foot 2x6s six feet in the ground, about 10 feet apart. These are the posts, which will support the cross pieces which are rough 2×6 lumber. Once the three sections of cross boards (top, middle and bottom of post) have been nailed to the posts, you have the framework on which to nail your vertical board (windbreak). These can either be 2x4s or 2x6s. We experimented with both rough and planed boards, and found the rough wood sturdier. When nailing boards, leave approximately a one-inch space between the boards (use one board on its edge as the spacer).
Depending on windbreak location, we adjusted the height of the windbreak panels anywhere between eight to 16 feet, to better block wind. Both the portable and permanent windbreaks resemble a board fence. We also attached a board railing three to four feet high on the inside of the shelters to prevent cattle from rubbing directly on the boards or wall of the windbreak.
Also, in using our windbreaks we restructured the cattle’s pasture into sections using gates. We used one-inch metal pipe to make the gates. Both ends of each pipe were squeezed flat using a press and holes were drilled through each flat end. The pipes where then bolted to 4×4 posts to make a permanent “gate” fence.
Specific designs will vary to meet your farm needs, but it is important to make the windbreak sturdy so it will stand well and provide protection from the wind.
RebeccaTaylorfarmsatSt.Felix-de- Kingsey,Quebec.Shecanbereachedat: [email protected]