28/06/2022 0 Comments
What to Look for in a Cattle Squeeze
A cattle squeeze chute is an indispensable piece of farm equipment for many livestock operations. It makes catching and restraining cattle easier, improves safety for livestock and handlers, and reduces stress for the animals. Here are five things to consider when choosing a new cattle squeeze.
- Head capacity
Head capacity is a critical element of any cattle squeeze chute. It’s rare for a chute to have a headgate that’s large enough for bulls but small enough for young calves. Therefore, you must determine the size of the animals that’ll mainly be going through the chute. Look for a self-catch headgate to prevent animals from breaking out. Additionally, make sure the headgate and squeeze mechanism are easy to operate, adjust and release.
Ensure the chute gives you access where you need it. For instance, feedlots require a snug, tight-fitting head restraint to access the animals’ necks for injections. Purebred breeders need access to the underside of animals for semen testing. Moreover, some surgical procedures, such as C-sections, require access through the sidebars. Fortunately, some models feature removable sides.
Furthermore, make sure your cattle squeeze chute has a side release door, so downed animals can quickly be set free.
- Palpation gates
Some squeeze chutes come with palpation gates. Many farmers appreciate palpation gates because they allow easy access to the animal’s rear for pregnancy checking, artificial insemination, and castration.
Make sure the chute’s floor is made of high-quality steel to prevent it from deteriorating. Additionally, the floor bars must be securely anchored to prevent animals from slipping while inside.
Manual cattle squeeze chutes are much cheaper than hydraulic-powered ones. However, manual chutes offer the least adjustability and have the fewest safety features. If you have a small herd or a hobby farm, a manual chute may suit your needs. Conversely, more extensive operations with hundreds of cattle would benefit from a more expensive hydraulic model.
Lastly, some cattle squeeze chutes have additional features, such as platform or overhead weighing scales.
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