You have to admire any piece of equipment that was inspired by a herd of sheep and now sells for more money than the average car.
That monstrosity is a sheep’s foot roller. One of the more interesting looking pieces of construction equipment found sitting on stylish construction sites around the world. The sheep’s foot roller is quite similar to its more mainstream cousin the smooth drum roller, but it has lots of little bumps or knobs that give it the memorable name. Both the smooth drum and sheep’s foot rollers are used in highway construction for compacting the material you’re going to be driving on but the sheep’s foot is without a doubt more interesting, and perplexing, to look at.
The idea for the sheep’s foot roller came about when an enterprising young contractor- to-be noticed the heavy compaction on trails commonly used by shepherds to get the flock out. Sheep or other livestock were herded across ground that needed to be compacted, and the idea was mechanized into what you see in the accompanying pictures.
Sheep’s foot rollers can be self-propelled, dragged behind other equipment, or as an attachment to multi-function equipment. Some varieties also vibrate to increase compaction, and they come in varieties small enough to pull by hand. The size and shape of the ‘foot’ attachments vary depending on the manufacturer and the intended use. (If they have rectangular ‘feet’ they may also be called padded food.) All the varieties give it a lot of versatility when it comes to compacting various kinds of soil.