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Working cattle with milking stanchions


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#1 CDennyRun

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Posted 25 August 2020 - 09:43 AM

Hey folks,

 

I'm growing a small herd of Angus, and currently don't have any means of working cattle. I've been looking for good deals on squeeze chutes, or head gates, but haven't had much luck, and don't have tons of cash to spend right now building a tub. Eventually I will definitely be doing that, but for now I feel kind of vulnerable not having some sort of way to treat, tag, preg check, AI, etc.

 

A friend of mine works for what use to be a dairy, now raises heifers for other dairyman. They have good used locking stanchions they're selling for cheap. I can get 20ft or so for a few hundred bucks, vs $1500 for a used chute, plus the panels etc to build a tub-like setup. Are there any cons to running just the stanchions, or would I be better off saving my money for now and chance not having anything to work cattle with if someone gets sick?

 

Thanks

 

Chris

 

 



#2 r82230

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Posted 25 August 2020 - 10:08 AM

I had stanchions available to me, in the barn where we milked cows.  So with the dairy cows, stanchion treatment wasn't bad.  But I hated trying to use them with beef cattle, cows move sideways it seems.   Now, it you put them in to stanchions on a regular basis, then you might have better success, using stanchions.   However, most beef cattle are not handled every day, so locked in a stanchion raises someone's anxiety slightly.  :o

 

What I did on a tight budget, is build my own chute, about 30" wide.  Put a panel on hinges (hinged close to cow's front leg/shoulder) on one side, with a chain on rear side,so I could pull/chain her to one side if needed.  I could have used a stanchion on the front, but did invest in a head gate only.  This system worked barely.  Reaching between 2 x 6's, with a dancing critter wasn't always the best idea (or possible outcome :rolleyes: ).  But at least I knew the critter wasn't going anywhere, with the head gate.  I could take pictures, but I wouldn't want you to laugh too much.  ;)

 

Larry

 

PS I have since invested in a complete chute, life is better (and safer :) ).   Wasn't cheap, but having to have medical procedures done on myself or others isn't cheap either.   I find as I age, I tend to spend more money buying things to make life easier/safer, because I have less time here.


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#3 CDennyRun

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Posted 25 August 2020 - 10:22 AM

I had stanchions available to me, in the barn where we milked cows.  So with the dairy cows, stanchion treatment wasn't bad.  But I hated trying to use them with beef cattle, cows move sideways it seems.   Now, it you put them in to stanchions on a regular basis, then you might have better success, using stanchions.   However, most beef cattle are not handled every day, so locked in a stanchion raises someone's anxiety slightly.  :o

 

What I did on a tight budget, is build my own chute, about 30" wide.  Put a panel on hinges (hinged close to cow's front leg/shoulder) on one side, with a chain on rear side,so I could pull/chain her to one side if needed.  I could have used a stanchion on the front, but did invest in a head gate only.  This system worked barely.  Reaching between 2 x 6's, with a dancing critter wasn't always the best idea (or possible outcome :rolleyes: ).  But at least I knew the critter wasn't going anywhere, with the head gate.  I could take pictures, but I wouldn't want you to laugh too much.  ;)

 

Larry

 

PS I have since invested in a complete chute, life is better (and safer :) ).   Wasn't cheap, but having to have medical procedures done on myself or others isn't cheap either.   I find as I age, I tend to spend more money buying things to make life easier/safer, because I have less time here.

 

 

Good insight there! Thank you.

 

If I do go with stanchions for now, I was planning on feeding them grain in that section so they get use to putting their heads in there regularly. One heifer is pretty skidish, so I wonder how she would do once they she gets locked in.. 

 

I weld/fabricate a LOT, and have been thinking of buying the head gate and building a squeeze chute, but don't have much to spend on all that just yet. Normally I'd have a bunch of hay sold by now to cover those costs (that was the plan) but it's been a interesting year for hay in my area, and people are selling it for DIRT cheap! I'm not going to try and compete in this market. I'll hold on to it. 

 

Thank again

 

Chris



#4 8350HiTech

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Posted 25 August 2020 - 10:32 AM

I don’t know how many cattle you’re talking but a used head gate on a homemade chute is definitely sufficient for a small herd. It’s more than I even have right now. A squeeze is so much nicer but hopefully you’ll barely even be using it. A few hundred bucks available, I’m spending it on a used head gate rather than used head locks. A used head gate won’t depreciate if you don’t destroy it so when you’re ready to upgrade you’ll get your money back out of it.

Personally, I would never try to build my own squeeze chute, despite also having welding ability. Too much going on that someone else who’s mass producing them will do a better job and it’ll barely cost more than you trying to build it. A brand new tarter is around $1800 I think. Not super heavy, but it’s a decent low use chute.
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#5 TJ Hendren

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Posted 25 August 2020 - 10:33 AM

A good squeeze chute is worth every penny, it protects everyone involved including the animal. Don't go cheap or your medical bills will be 10X the cost of a good chute. It will protect you or someone else from a permeant disability or even death. Never, Never trust them in a confinement situation I don't care how gentle they are they can change behavior in a second. Beef and Dairy are two different types, dairy are handled and touched everyday beef are not. And I do put my money where my mouth is, I spent 5500.00 on a squeeze chute and as far as the cattle business is concerned it is the best money I have ever spent, and I have a small herd.


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#6 IH 1586

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Posted 25 August 2020 - 11:24 AM

We work a small breed beef cattle, Dexters and have Jerseys mixed in as well. Big difference working the 2. They are all handled exactly the same and the Jerseys are just calmer. I use headlocks for my vaccinations and breeding. Use to walk between them to vaccinate now I tie their heads when I vaccinate. They just jump around to much.

 

Someday a squeeze chute will be here.

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#7 CDennyRun

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Posted 25 August 2020 - 01:04 PM

I don’t know how many cattle you’re talking but a used head gate on a homemade chute is definitely sufficient for a small herd. It’s more than I even have right now. A squeeze is so much nicer but hopefully you’ll barely even be using it. A few hundred bucks available, I’m spending it on a used head gate rather than used head locks. A used head gate won’t depreciate if you don’t destroy it so when you’re ready to upgrade you’ll get your money back out of it.

Personally, I would never try to build my own squeeze chute, despite also having welding ability. Too much going on that someone else who’s mass producing them will do a better job and it’ll barely cost more than you trying to build it. A brand new tarter is around $1800 I think. Not super heavy, but it’s a decent low use chute.

 

Those are all good points. Thank you. I'm only on 8 acres, and the cattle share it with a few horses, so I'll be keeping it small. Maybe a max of six mama cows. I think that would be pushing it too. Fortunately I have plenty of hay ground!

 

We work a small breed beef cattle, Dexters and have Jerseys mixed in as well. Big difference working the 2. They are all handled exactly the same and the Jerseys are just calmer. I use headlocks for my vaccinations and breeding. Use to walk between them to vaccinate now I tie their heads when I vaccinate. They just jump around to much.

 

Someday a squeeze chute will be here.

 

Thanks for the insight there. I appreciate it

 

A good squeeze chute is worth every penny, it protects everyone involved including the animal. Don't go cheap or your medical bills will be 10X the cost of a good chute. It will protect you or someone else from a permeant disability or even death. Never, Never trust them in a confinement situation I don't care how gentle they are they can change behavior in a second. Beef and Dairy are two different types, dairy are handled and touched everyday beef are not. And I do put my money where my mouth is, I spent 5500.00 on a squeeze chute and as far as the cattle business is concerned it is the best money I have ever spent, and I have a small herd.

 

I can't disagree with anything you said. I'm thinking I should keep saving my pennies and get what I really need. Thank you very much TJ!



#8 TJ Hendren

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Posted 25 August 2020 - 02:18 PM

I'm in no way saying to go out and spend 5-6,000 dollars. There are plenty of good chutes out there for far less. Keep watching for auctions or estate sales. I don't know about your part of the country, but i'm in cattle country and used one are somewhat plentiful. I sold my 45 year old green river chute that my bull was longer than it was for 900.00 at auction. I about fell over i thought it would bring 300.00 max. Just remember when a calf starts outweighing you he can hurt you.


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#9 CowboyRam

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Posted 25 August 2020 - 02:52 PM

We used a stanchion dad had built on the farm, but it was a bit dangerous when we had to put a rank cow into it.  There is no way I would get behind a cow to preg check using that stanchion.   Even one of those Powder River chutes would be better than a stanchion.  I think you should be able to find a chute worth the money.  I did a real quick search on craigslist and found an old chute near me for 600 dollars, it does look like it has been around since the days of Methuselah.  


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#10 Gearclash

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Posted 25 August 2020 - 04:39 PM

I’ve been around dairy stanchions old and newer, and also feeder cattle.  I wouldn’t waste the effort trying to make stanchions work for beef.  They are quite a bit lighter than a real working chute head gate.  A violent animal can wreck a dairy stanchion rather easily, or at least pop the head gate catch open.  


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#11 CDennyRun

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Posted 26 August 2020 - 10:24 AM

I'm in no way saying to go out and spend 5-6,000 dollars. There are plenty of good chutes out there for far less. Keep watching for auctions or estate sales. I don't know about your part of the country, but i'm in cattle country and used one are somewhat plentiful. I sold my 45 year old green river chute that my bull was longer than it was for 900.00 at auction. I about fell over i thought it would bring 300.00 max. Just remember when a calf starts outweighing you he can hurt you.

 

I don't see them come up often for cheap like that, but when they do, they go FAST! I missed out on a powder river head gate for $75 the other day on craigs list. It needed work, but for the price.. what the heck! Deals like that do exist.. right place, right time sort of thing. Most of what I see around here is $1500-3500 for used squeeze chutes. 

 

We used a stanchion dad had built on the farm, but it was a bit dangerous when we had to put a rank cow into it.  There is no way I would get behind a cow to preg check using that stanchion.   Even one of those Powder River chutes would be better than a stanchion.  I think you should be able to find a chute worth the money.  I did a real quick search on craigslist and found an old chute near me for 600 dollars, it does look like it has been around since the days of Methuselah.  

 

Ha ha! I'm okay with finding an older one and doing whatever restoration is needed. After reading yall's posts, I'm definitely leaning towards saving for a bit, and hopefully finding the right deal on a good used squeeze chute. 

 

I’ve been around dairy stanchions old and newer, and also feeder cattle.  I wouldn’t waste the effort trying to make stanchions work for beef.  They are quite a bit lighter than a real working chute head gate.  A violent animal can wreck a dairy stanchion rather easily, or at least pop the head gate catch open.  

 

Good points Gearclash. Thanks for the input!


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#12 r82230

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Posted 26 August 2020 - 12:11 PM

This is what i ended up with (more than a lot safer for both man & animal, than head gate only).
 

https://www.priefert...hutes-model-s04
 

Larry


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#13 CDennyRun

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Posted 26 August 2020 - 02:54 PM

This is what i ended up with (more than a lot safer for both man & animal, than head gate only).
 

https://www.priefert...hutes-model-s04
 

Larry

 

That thing is a beauty! I'm sure it takes a lot of the stress/fear out of the process.

 

Well I've decided against the headlock stanchions, and will definitely be going with either a head gate, or squeeze. Hopefully I can move some hay soon, maybe get some custom work. The sooner I get this setup, the better I'll feel. 

 

Thanks for all the thoughts folks. Much appreciated!

 

Regards,

 

Chris



#14 CowboyRam

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Posted 26 August 2020 - 05:03 PM

When looking for a chute there are a couple things you might want to look for.  Can the chute open from the side if you get a cow down in it; my neighbor had a cow down in his and it did not open from the side, and he had to pull her out with the backhoe.  Also can you operate it form the side your livestock brand is on.  If you plan on doing preg testing, you might want a palpation cage.  \

 

Those are the reason I bought our Arrowquip chute, as I can open it from side, if she goes down in the chute she will not chock down.  The rump bar is nice, especially when it comes to work bulls, as their necks are so think, and sometime they can pull their head out of the head catch; the rump bar keeps them from backing up.  The brisket bar is also nice, it helps keep them from going down to their knees.  I just wish I could have afforded the hydraulic chute.  So far I am very pleased with my chute, although I sometime wish it had a self catch head, as I have been a  bit slow on the catch.  We built a bud box instead of a buying round tub, that was cheaper than the tub.  

 

Buy the best chute you can afford


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#15 CDennyRun

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Posted 28 August 2020 - 02:59 PM

When looking for a chute there are a couple things you might want to look for.  Can the chute open from the side if you get a cow down in it; my neighbor had a cow down in his and it did not open from the side, and he had to pull her out with the backhoe.  Also can you operate it form the side your livestock brand is on.  If you plan on doing preg testing, you might want a palpation cage.  \

 

Those are the reason I bought our Arrowquip chute, as I can open it from side, if she goes down in the chute she will not chock down.  The rump bar is nice, especially when it comes to work bulls, as their necks are so think, and sometime they can pull their head out of the head catch; the rump bar keeps them from backing up.  The brisket bar is also nice, it helps keep them from going down to their knees.  I just wish I could have afforded the hydraulic chute.  So far I am very pleased with my chute, although I sometime wish it had a self catch head, as I have been a  bit slow on the catch.  We built a bud box instead of a buying round tub, that was cheaper than the tub.  

 

Buy the best chute you can afford

 

I just got done reading an article on the BudBox, seems like a great way to get them in the chute. I really like the idea of not having to fork out for a tub, but more importantly I like the idea of a less stressful (for the cattle and me) to get them to go where I want them. Great advise there CowboyRam!

 

Thank you very much

 

Chris



#16 8350HiTech

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Posted 28 August 2020 - 03:08 PM

Bud box is such a flexible concept too. You can put one in a lot of different type of places as long as you follow the basic premise of why it works.
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#17 CDennyRun

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Posted 31 August 2020 - 08:23 AM

Bud box is such a flexible concept too. You can put one in a lot of different type of places as long as you follow the basic premise of why it works.

 

I will most definitely be going this rout. 



#18 PaMike

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Posted 11 September 2020 - 06:47 AM

The other nice thing about Bud boxes is they can easily be built yourself with some basic fencing skills where as a tub is much more difficult to built.


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