Cattle chutes are an essential part of any operation. Chutes improve management as catching and restraining cattle becomes easy compared to a head gate at the end of an alleyway. Livestock and handler safety are increased and animal stress decreases when using cattle chutes.

A 2011 Canadian Cattlemen article by Roy Lewis, DVM recommends that producers ask their veterinarian’s opinion on cattle chutes. Lighter chutes are not made for herds with several hundred head or more, notes Dr. Lewis. Most operations require higher quality materials and more chute options. Cattle chutes also have fewer cattle break out prior to completion of the procedure. 

Calm cow in Q-Catch cattle squeeze chute

We have 10 reasons why you need a proper cattle chute on your farm or ranch.

1. Cattle chutes are safe, humane, and efficient. We all need to utilize the facilities that are in the best interest of our animals as part of the producer code of cattle care.

2. Cattle don’t feel pressured by a good cattle chute. Pressure points are removed and a clear line of sight is ensured. When cattle are under less pressure and walk through the chute instead of running, it limits injury to livestock and the rancher, both issues that are often seen in self-catch cattle chutes. 

3. Solid walls in chutes minimize moving objects cattle can see that might scare them. The wide-angle vision field of cattle allows them to see 300 degrees. This can lead to balking or becoming frightened by unknowns. A curved chute uses cattle’s instinct to circle around a handler. It also reduces stress by blocking their view of the chute until they are almost there. Many chute options are available; you can select the one that works best for your cattle and operation. 

4. Noise is reduced or eliminated in a cattle chute. This keeps your cattle calm while you’re working on them, and again, reduces stress.

5. Animal health is improved using proper cattle chutes. Improper equipment and working cattle too quickly can lead to bruises, injection site damage, human injuries and incorrect records, according to faculty at Virginia Tech. Negative effects from stress cause lower conception rates, reduce vaccination effectiveness, and reduce immune and rumen functions.

6. Livestock handlers are safer from injury from cattle throwing their heads or kicking. Latches on commercial cattle chutes are also less likely to injure a handler if accidentally released.

Cow in Q-Catch Head Holder

7. Cattle chutes can be adjusted to the size of the cattle being handled.

8. Cattle chutes support the animal. This reduces balking prior to the chute, choking, or falls in the chute. It also prevents cattle from turning around.

9. Cattle can be quickly and safely released from a chute when handlers have finished procedures.

10. Cattle chutes increase the economic viability of your farm or ranch. Precise dosages of products minimizes waste, more efficient equipment saves time, fewer handlers are needed to perform procedures, and safety for cattle and handlers increases, reducing medical or veterinary bills. 

Before you use your cattle chute, you should conduct a safety assessment, and walk through to make sure that nothing is broken, or will injure or distract cattle. Reducing stress in cattle handling situations can save time when cattle must be handled again in the future. Cattle with bad experiences in a head gate or alleyway will be harder to catch the next time a procedure is needed.

Cattle chutes designed by Arrowquip are functional and economical. We continue to seek innovative design and engineering that adheres to the latest research from top animal science experts worldwide, including eliminating noise in our cattle chutes and taking the manual work out of the manual squeeze chute.

A proper cattle chute is quickly added to your list of essential equipment by increasing livestock and handler safety, and preventing injury or death. Beef Quality Assurance offers assessment tools for evaluating your cattle handling facilities at bqa.org.

Sources:
Virginia Tech
Temple Grandin 
Roy Lewis, DVM article in Canadian Cattlemen
BQA 
Drovers