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Proper Head Gate Catch Location

Proper Cattle Head Catch location in manual cattle head gate

Best Practices for Securing Your Cattle

Head Gate Catch Location 1: Shoulders

Catching a cow too far back on the neck and/or shoulders greatly increases the likelihood of hip locking the animal. If you catch an animal in this location and the cow does not naturally back up into the chute, it is best to release the animal and put them through the system again.

Do not attempt to coax or force the animal backwards as this increases the likelihood of the handler getting injured. In the event of hip lock, refer to Emergency Release instructions in your product operation manual.

Head Gate Catch Location 2: Thickest Part of the Neck

This is the location where most catches are made, however the cow is often not properly secured in the head gate when in this position. If you catch an animal in this location, the cow will naturally retreat back into the chute and may pull out of the head gate.

To secure the animal properly, you must keep pressure on the head gate handle while the cow backs up into the chute. When the cow is far enough back, you can then secure the head gate in the proper location.

Head Gate Catch Location 3: Behind the Ears

This is the sweet spot! When you catch an animal properly just behind the ears and close the head gate tightly around the neck, they are securely placed in the head gate and cannot escape until they are released.

Always ensure that the animal is caught at this location before you continue to the next step and administer any treatment or complete work on the animal.

Head Gate Catch Location 4: Face/Nose

A cow caught in this position is not secured for treatment. You will need to release the animal, and it is likely that the animal will exhibit resistance to re-enter the head gate after they have retreated into the chute. If you catch an animal in this location, you may need to coerce the cow back towards the head gate patiently, and will then have to re-catch them in the proper location.