|Publication number||EP0813358 A1|
|Publication date||Dec 29, 1997|
|Filing date||Dec 9, 1996|
|Priority date||Dec 9, 1995|
|Also published as||WO1997021342A1|
|Publication number||1996940689, 96940689, 96940689.1, EP 0813358 A1, EP 0813358A1, EP-A1-0813358, EP0813358 A1, EP0813358A1, EP19960940689, EP96940689, PCT/1996/3029, PCT/GB/1996/003029, PCT/GB/1996/03029, PCT/GB/96/003029, PCT/GB/96/03029, PCT/GB1996/003029, PCT/GB1996/03029, PCT/GB1996003029, PCT/GB199603029, PCT/GB96/003029, PCT/GB96/03029, PCT/GB96003029, PCT/GB9603029|
|Inventors||Charles Henry West|
|Applicant||Charles Henry West|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Non-Patent Citations (1), Classifications (9), Legal Events (5)|
|External Links: Espacenet, EP Register|
SHEEP ROLLOVER CRATE This invention relates to sheep rollover crates for inverting sheep or other animals for carrying out feet trimming or other treatment. Crates according to the invention w ll be known as "Ewe-turn" rollover crates.
One known form of sheep rollover crate is described in GB-A-2080088. Such crates comprise a clamping device in the form of a cage which lifts the animal from the ground and turns it over about an axis which extends along one side of the cage. However, considerable force is required to rotate the cage since, the axis of rotation being alongside the animal, the entire weight of the animal must be overcome in applying the rotation force. The problem is rendered more acute when the animal is large or heavily pregnant or the operator lacks health or strength and, to make matters worse, the animal tends to use its legs, braced against the ground or the floor of the crate, to resist being turned over; this entails a risk of the animal sustaining damage to its feet and legs. Also, in such crates, the wall of the crate remote from the axis of rotation is arranged to fall away laterally, to provide clearance for the feet of the animal on rotation.
It is an ob}ect of the present invention to provide a sheep rollover crate which in particular enables the animal to be turned over with less effort than with known crates .
Accordingly, the invention provides in one aspect a sheep rollover crate comprising a support structure and a sheep restraining cage comprising side members adapted in use to clamp the sheep, the cage being pivoted on the support structure about a longitudinal axis of rotation for movement between a normal position where a sheep held in the cage is upright and a working position where the sheep is inverted, in which the axis of rotation is between the side members of the restraining cage.
By displacing the axis of rotation inwardly towards the central region of the restraining cage, between the side members, the axis is closer to the vertical plane containing the centre of gravity of the sheep and, hence, the animal can be inverted by turning it about the axis of rotation with less physical effort than is required where the axis of rotation is alongside the sheep. The cage may be journalled in support members carried by and extending inwardly from the support structure and the cage respectively and located at each end of the crate.
Preferably, the support structure includes base members with legs disposed on one side of the crate and pivotally carrying the restraining cage, the legs being pivotally connected to the base members for movement between a substantially upright orientation corresponding to the normal position of the cage and an outwardly sloping orientation corresponding to the working position of the cage. In such an arrangement, the axis of rotation of the cage is laterally translatable with the pivoting movement of the legs, whereby the sheep to be inverted is initially tilted outwardly before rotation takes place. The feet of the animal are thereby initially removed from the floor of the crate, less rotational movement is then required to invert the animal, and sufficient clearance for the legs and feet is provided between the animal and the remote side wall of the crate while rotation takes place. The remote side wall is therefore preferably fixed to the base members. Additionally, in the initial tilting step, the centre of gravity of the animal is brought slightly past the pivot axis of the cage, whereby the weight of the animal tends to continue the movement in a rolling fashion as the tilting movement finishes, whereby the rotation of the cage is facilitated. Once inverted, the weight of the animal in relation to the pivot axes retains the animal inverted for working purposes, while little effort is required to return the centre of gravity back over the cage pivot axis on the return rotational movement.
The restraining cage may comprise a first side member pivotally mounted to the support structure and a second side member connected to the first side member for movement between an open condition, to allow an animal access to the cage from one end of the crate, and a closed condition, in which the animal is clamped for rotation and inversion. Preferably, the second side member includes a back support element which may be partially removable at either end or reversible to allow animals to enter from either end of the crate, to make the crate useable by right- or left-handed operators, and to keep the upper rear quarters of the animal free for treatment irrespective of its direction in the crate. The back support element should be in close proximity to the back of the animal in the normal position when the cage is closed, whereby the animal is securely held when inverted. The second side member is preferably pivotally connected to the first side member. The respective side members may be curved to define a barrel-type shape and, where the members are pivotally connected together, the curvature of the second side member is preferably such that it will draw the animal towards the first side member in moving towards the closed condition, thereby closely restraining the animal. The second side member may comprise two or more curved body-restraint bars and a neck-restraint bar; at least the neck restraint bar may be mountable at either end of the side member according to the direction of the animal in the crate. The second side member may include adjustable stop means, whereby any size of animal may be accommodated, and is preferably biassed towards the open condition. The adjustable stop means may comprise a clamp bar which is slidably carried in a hinged locking plate which can be actuated to lock the bar by a amming action at any desired intermediate position; preferably, the plate includes quick-release means whereby the cage automatically adopts the fully-open condition under the biassmg force on release of the clamp bar. The clamp bar is preferably arranged to engage with a part of the support structure in the open condition, to prevent the cage from rotation except when in the closed condition.
Crates according to the invention may include a sloping floor to assist the animal in losing its foothold at the start of the rotation. Preferably, the floor takes the form of a longitudinal trough, for example a shallow "V" in cross section. Crates according to the invention may also include end gates to control access to and departure from the cage; preferably, a pair of gates is provided at each end and the respective gates of each pair are arranged to open and close in opposite directions, whereby the side members of the cage do not interfere with the opening of the gates and one gate always opens away from the animal irrespective of the direction of approach. Conveniently, each pair is manually operated via a spring-biassed latch and the respective gates are mechanically linked together by a push-rod and crank elements, whereby opening one gate with the latch handle causes the other gate to open in the opposite direction. Crates according to the invention may include trolleymg elements comprising wheels at one end and handles at the other. The handles may be foldable or removable and the crate may be demountable with respect to the trolleymg elements.
According to another aspect of the invention, a sheep rollover crate comprises a support structure and a sheep retaining cage pivoted thereon about a first longitudinal axis for movement between a normal position where a sheep held in the cage is upright and a working position where the sheep is inverted, in which the support structure includes base members and legs pivotally connected to said base members about a second longitudinal axis for movement between a substantially upright orientation and an outwardly sloping orientation, the first axis being laterally translatable with pivoting movement of the legs .
Embodiments of the invention will now be described by way of example with reference to the accompanying drawings, of which
Figure 1 is a perspective view of a sheep rollover crate with the gates closed and the restraining cage in the normal position;
Figure 2 shows one pair of end gates in the closed position;
Figure 3 is a plan view of the gates of Figure 2 in the closed position;
Figure 4 is a plan view of the gates of Figure 2 in the open position; Figure 5 shows a wheeled sub-frame for transportation of the crate shown in Figure 1 ;
Figure 6 shows in diagrammatic form the sub-frame of Figure 5 attached at one end of the crate, handles being attached at the other end; and
Figures 7 to 10 show various stages in inverting a sheep using the crate as shown in Figure 1.
Referring first to Figure 1 , the crate consists essentially of a base frame constituted by longitudinal members 11 and cross members 12 at each end. A fixed wall 13 is attached to the base at one side; the cross members 12 have parts 12a which extend beyond the base frame at the other (operating) side. Legs 14 are pivotably attached to the base frame at 15 and are connected together by longitudinal member 16; the other side wall of the crate is constituted by a frame 17 rotatably attached to the legs 14 by pivot pins 18 carried by inwardly-extending hinge plates 19, 20 attached respectively to the legs and to the frame 17. The frame carries a metal mesh grille which is bowed to conform approximately to the side shape of a sheep. The upper member of the frame carries an operating handle 21 and an over-centre locking and release device 22 is mounted between the lower ends of the legs 14 and the base frame extensions 12a.
Pivotably attached to the upper member of the frame 17 are the limbs of a U support member 23 carrying a parallel-sided frame 24 to which is attached a mesh grille, and curved body-restraint bars 25. The ends of the frame 24, outside the limbs of the U member 23, are selectively removable, and a straight neck-restraint bar 25a is de ountably attached at one end of the member 23; it could be mounted at the other end. The member 23 is pivotable between a lowered position as illustrated, where the lower or distal ends of the bars 25 are in close proximity to the lower member of the side frame 17 to define a sheep-retaining cage therebetween, and a raised position; a helical spring 26 is mounted between the end of one of the (J limbs and the lower member of the frame 17 to bias the U member towards the raised position and a locking rod 27 is carried by the other U limb and is slidingly located through a hole in a hinged locking plate 28 also attached to the lower member of the frame 17 and operated by bar 29 either to a jamming condition, to retain the locking rod at any desired position, or a release condition which allows the locking rod free movement through the plate 28. The lower end of the locking rod when the U member is a raised position extends below and in front of the longitudinal bracing member 16, thereby preventing rotation of the cage about pivot pins 18 unless the U member 23 is in the lowered position.
Referring to Figures 2 to 4, each end of the crate is equipped with a pair of gates 30, 31 pivotably mounted at 32, 33 on frame member 34 attached to the base frame. The gate 30 on the operating side of the crate carries an operating handle 35 which is pivotably attached to the gate at 36 and is biassed by spring 37 into a position of engagement behind lug 38 carried by the frame member 34. The other gate 31 carries a cranked bracket 39; the gate 30 and bracket 39 are connected by a link bar 40 whereby the opening of gate 30 in an outwards direction causes gate 31 to open inwardly.
The base frame has sloping floor plates 41 , 42 and also carries a stand element 43 for carrying shepherds' working equipment such as clippers, sprays, drenches and the like. The stand may be erected at either end of the crate. The base frame extensions 12a may carry electronic pads which, together with corresponding pads on the cage, adapt the crate to act as a weighing machine. A sub-frame 44 carrying wheels (Figures 5 and 6) may be removably attached under one end of the base frame and handles 45, which as shown are foldable to a non-use position, may be attached at the other end.
In use and with reference to Figures 7 to 10, the crate is positioned with sheep races at each end for guiding sheep to be treated from a holding pen. Sheep are individually admitted with the remote gates closed and the near gates open; the U member 23 is raised (see Figure 7). Once the sheep is inside the crate, the near gates are closed and the U member 23 is pushed down manually against the pressure of spring 26 so that the bars 25 close around the body of the sheep and draw it sideways towards the side frame 17 (Figure 8). The sloping floor plate prevents damage to the sheep in resisting such movement. The U member 23 is locked at the desired position by pulling on the bar 29 to cause the locking rod to become jammed in the hole in the locking plate 28. The operator then pulls on the handle 21 to cause the entire cage, supporting the sheep from below, to tilt on the legs 14 (Figure 9); the cage can then be rotated about pivot pins 18, the weight of the sheep assisting in the rotation process by the inertia of the initial tilting step and the relative positions of the axis of rotation and the centre of gravity of the sheep. In the fully-inverted position (Figure 10), the sheep can be treated and, on completion of treatment, may be rotated back to the upright position, released from the cage by pressure (conveniently knee-pressure) on the bar 29 and released from the crate by opening the gates at the remote end. If it is desired to clean or otherwise treat the upper rear end of the sheep without encumbrance from the frame 24 and the supported grille, the appropriate end region of the frame may be removed leaving the sheep still adequately supported by the central and other end regions of the frame and grille.
It is to be understood that although the invention has been described with particular reference to handling sheep, the crate as described is equally suitable for pigs, goats or any other animals of similar size and larger-scale versions of the crate would be equally suitable for cattle or other larger animals.
|1||*||See references of WO9721342A1|
|International Classification||A01K15/00, A61D3/00, A01K1/06|
|Cooperative Classification||A01K15/00, A01K1/0613, A61D3/00|
|European Classification||A01K15/00, A61D3/00, A01K1/06F|
|Dec 29, 1997||AK||Designated contracting states:|
Kind code of ref document: A1
Designated state(s): BE CH DE DK ES FR GB IE LI NL PT SE
|Feb 11, 1998||17P||Request for examination filed|
Effective date: 19971212
|Jun 2, 1999||17Q||First examination report|
Effective date: 19990419
|Sep 13, 2000||18R||Refused|
Effective date: 20000402
|Jan 12, 2001||ET||Fr: translation filed|