There is a vast array of specifications you can kit a handler out with to aid in catching, drafting, weighing and tilting sheep on their side.

With the average flock of ewes in Ireland being 109 sheep in total, few farmers can justify spending several thousand on a purpose-built sheep crate.

However, entry level models exist to cater for these farms. TAMS funding is also available, with two tranches remaining.

For the purpose of this comparison, we will look for entry level models that:

  • Have a clamp option to catch sheep.
  • Have a built-in weighing system including drafting.
  • Have a side tilt function for dagging, foot trimming etc.
  • Fixed unit without wheel kit for transport.
  • Ritchie combi clamp

    An ever-growing sight on UK sheep farms, combi clamp is designed as a simple and effective clamp to carry out routine tasks on sheep.

    Sheep enter the clamp through a chute with a non-return gate at the rear. Once sheep enter the clamp, a foot treadle clamps the sheep in place, allowing the farmer to carry out the required task. Side-tilting is not an option.

    The combi clamp is available to be specified with a weighing scale and either a three-way manual or auto drafting system is optional.

    The weighing system is tarred to the weight of the unit and the operator. No front gate gives ample access for drenching or blousing.

    The Combi clamp retails at €8,000 + VAT complete with weigh bars and manual drafting, with three-way auto drafting units retailing at €10,500 + VAT.


    Well known for its galvanised posts and fencing, Australian-made Clipex also has a range of both cattle and sheep handling units.

    The company’s base model for sheep handling is a fixed unit, with a towing option as an extra. Even as a base model, the sheep handler gives you three-way fully automatic drafting, with automatic pre-catch and catch functionalities including Iconix load bars, with its automated anti-backing technology keeping the sheep moving.

    A tilting option is not standard, but is available on the contractor model, as is the EID reader.

    There is ample head access with no front gate, and the option to extend warranty to five years will appeal to many.

    The Clipex base model retails at €12,500 + VAT.


    O’Donovan Engineering is the main retailer for Prattley handling units in Ireland. The brand carries a range of options regarding sheep handling systems, with the option of either manual or auto drafting according to weight.

    On the auto drafting unit, drafting can also be controlled via remote control for drafting sheep according to breed, dagging requirement etc. While both units have inbuilt weighing systems powered by Tru-test, Prattley does not offer any tilt or clamp options.

    Sheep are locked in to place using front and rear gates on the manual model, with the auto model operating on bump bars, vertical rollers which allow the gates to roll around sheep as they close and allow the following sheep to pull back without getting caught. Front and rear gates impede access for dosing, and there is no tilt function.

    Prattley manufactures turnover crates with a weighing option in another model. The Prattley manual drafting handling unit retails at €3,415.

    Te Pari

    Fans of Scottish vlogger The Sheep Game will be familiar with the high-spec Te Pari sheep handling unit. Even at a base model, the Te Pari Racewell JR is packed with technology and features.

    Clamping is operated by a clamp and release button, with no front gate leading to good access for routine tasks. A rear auto gate is in place, but is placed away from the rear of the sheep to prevent sheep from packing up to the rear of the clamp.

    Tilting and weighing are both optional extras on the base model, with the side tilt operated using a foot pedal built on to an air-operated system. A crutch flap is part of the tilting apparatus. A drafting feature is available as an optional extra on the Racewell JR.

    The Racewell JR retails at €8,330.


    Rappa Raceweigh. \ Rappa mobile yards

    Rappa is another popular brand both in the UK and here in Ireland, known for its high-quality mobile yards and handling units.

    The Rappa Raceweigh best fits the requirements set out for the article, incorporating weighing and drafting. Three-way manual drafting is available, with stock able to exit via the front gate or two sliding gates situated either side of the Raceweigh.

    Some practical features on the Raceweigh include an EID stick holder and anti-jump bars to prevent sheep injury or trapped hands when grading.

    Rappa retails its Raceweigh at €3,090 + VAT.