Proper cattle equipment is essential when it comes to livestock management, and having the right equipment can make a significant difference when it comes to efficiency, safety, and animal welfare. While equipment such as cattle chutes, alleys, tubs, corral panels, and even cattle feeders are crucial, you can’t forget about the accessories! These accessories play a role in streamlining the cattle handling process and increasing safety for your operation.

Whether you’re a seasoned rancher, or just starting out, knowing about the different cattle equipment accessories that are available and understanding the importance of them will greatly enhance your cattle operation for the better.

By the end of this guide, you’ll have a better understanding of the various accessories available, their key roles in cattle handling, and be able to confidently choose the right accessories and take your ranch to the next level.

For Ultimate Control

If you’re looking for more control when handling your cattle in the chute, you may want to consider these accessories.

Cattle Head Holder

A cattle head holder is a great accessory designed to attach to the front of your cattle chute for ultimate restraint and control over your cattle’s head. This accessory plays an important role when it comes to safe cattle handling in situations that require you to work near the animal’s head, such as, vaccinations, ear tagging, dehorning, and brisket tagging.

Though there are different styles of cattle head holders, the safest option to opt for is a scissor-style head holder that gently secures the animal’s head in place at the top and bottom, eliminating the risk of cattle flailing their heads. This style also allows you to make easy adjustments depending on the size of cattle – so you can work your largest bull to the smallest calf all in one round.

Balk gate square

Cattle Balk Gate

If you’re looking for an additional security barrier, then a cattle balk gate may be the accessory for you. This accessory works by attaching to the front of the cattle chute, creating a closed barrier. This way, in case you miss catching the animal in the head gate, they can’t escape, so you can still treat your cattle.

The balk gate helps with rowdy cattle, and is a popular choice for ranchers with horned cattle as well. When cattle see the barrier at the front of the chute, they are more likely to slow down as they move through the cattle chute. This will make your livestock’s experience with the equipment as low stress as possible and will make your job easier.

Neck Extenders for Cattle

Looking for more access to your livestock’s neck? Then cattle neck extenders will be the perfect accessory for you. Neck extenders are two bars that attach to the head gate of your chute and work by extending the head of the animal forward, allowing for more access to the neck for procedures such as administering vaccines.

This accessory can come in both hydraulic and stationary options, though most times, stationary neck extenders can be a safety issue. Hydraulic neck extenders can sit directly against the head gate while not in use, so you don’t have to worry about injuring yourself or your cattle. One common issue with stationary neck extenders is bruising on the cattle when they enter the head gate, which can lower the quality of meat and decrease value at sale time.

For Cattle Handling On-The-Go

Do you often work cattle away from home? Consider these portable accessories.

Q-Power 107 Series set up as a portable cattle chute using wheel kit

Wheel Kits

Looking for more flexibility on your operation? If so, you may want to consider adding a wheel kit to your collection of cattle equipment accessories. This can be especially helpful if you find yourself having to treat cattle away from home frequently. With a cattle chute wheel kit, you can throw the wheels on the chute, hook the cattle chute up to your truck and haul it to wherever you need to get the job done. It only takes three steps for an easier, smoother, and more efficient cattle handling operation away from home.

Panel Carriers

Another option for on-the-go cattle handling are panel carriers. If you already have a portable cattle chute or cattle handling system, but you would like the ability to create more pens or bigger pens than your current system, you may want to consider panel carriers.

This handy accessory attaches to the top frame of your alleys and carries additional panels so you can have true customization to create a system that works for you and your operation.

For Optimal Cattle Flow

If your cattle don't flow seamlessly through your system, you may want to consider these accessories.

Cattle Alley Stop

Do you struggle with cattle flow from the alley into the chute? If your cattle are prone to backing up once they’ve reached the chute, a cattle alley stop will help put an end to that issue. This device acts as a barrier to prevent cattle from moving back into the alley once they’ve passed a certain point in your system. This helps the flow of cattle continuously move forward, which leads to a more efficient operation and a faster processing time.

A cattle alley stop also helps prevent over-crowding at the chute which increases safety as well. If you have a lead up that is too crowded, operators and cattle alike can become panicked, and things can go wrong very quickly. Alley stops may also come in handy when you need more precise movement of cattle, such as inspections or certain treatments.

For Additional Support

Looking for that added safety measure with your operation? Consider these accessories.

Sternum Bar for Cattle

A cattle sternum bar offers numerous safety and efficiency benefits to ranchers. This bar is typically bolted to the floor at the front of your cattle chute and works to ensure cattle don’t drop down during procedures such as vaccinations, hoof trimming, brisket tagging, dehorning, or performing routine veterinary examinations.

By ensuring cattle don’t drop down when in the chute, safety while handling cattle is greatly increased and allows for a more efficient process. When looking at purchasing this accessory, you want to opt for a sheeted sternum bar for cattle as non-sheeted sternum bars can be a safety issue. If your cattle sternum bar has any open spaces, the risk of cattle getting their hooves trapped and tripping in the chute is greater.

Calf Restrainer Bar

Restrainer bar square

For extra safety, especially if you’re working around the bottom half of your cattle, you may want to think about adding a restrainer bar to your cattle chute. It takes less than five minutes to install and mounts right on to the squeeze frame. Once the animal is securely in the head gate, you simply close the squeeze, and the bar will tuck into the hip joint to immobilize the calf. This will make tasks such as branding, trimming, and banding animals easier and safer than ever.

Cattle Rump Bar

Another valuable cattle handling accessory is a cattle rump bar. This accessory is used behind the animal once they’re in the chute and is used to immobilize them by applying slight pressure to their rump. This pressure prevents the cattle from kicking, backing up, or moving too much while they are in the cattle chute. This adds extra safety for the handler as it reduces the risk of broken bones or pinched fingers.

Which Accessory Should You Choose?

Whether or not you have cattle handling accessories is up to you, but as you can see, they play a critical role in the safety and efficiency on ranching operations. From basics such as a rump bar or sternum bar, to more heavy-duty tools such as a cattle balk gate or a cattle alley stop, every accessory serves its purpose.

By investing in high-quality accessories that are built to last for years to come, you can streamline your cattle handling procedures, minimize stress and injuries, and improve the overall productivity on your operation. When looking at equipment, remember to consider factors such as durability, safety, warranty, and the company that makes it. Make sure to go look at the equipment before purchasing so you can test it out, and don’t hesitate to seek expert advice or recommendations if needed.

Whether you’re in need of reliable cattle handling accessories, cattle chutes, or other cattle equipment, we’ve got your back. Don’t settle, invest in equipment that is guaranteed to take your operation to the next level. Your cattle, and your bottom line, will thank you.