Cattle stop just before head gate. Why?

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Lucky thats why you want a scissor type head gate instead of a saloon door type.

Brute I catch most of mine the same way you do. Run them into the chute, shut the back door and let them ease into the headgate. Its also why I wish the Priefert chutes were a little bigger, length wise.
She spoke here a few months ago and that's one of the things she stressed. See what the cow is looking at. A couple things she mentioned also was having a squeeze chute that the cattle could see you beside of it and they wouldn't move forward. Her low cost solution was to get a cardboard box and tie it up to block their side view. If they only see forward they will move forward. So simple but I hadn't considered it.
Another thing she stressed and I was guilty of this one. My alley has a piece that raises up as the cow goes under and falls down behind her to keep her from backing up. I had noticed some cows didn't like going under it unless I forced them. She suggests putting a rope on the alley and pulling up the backstop until the cow passed it and then letting it drop behind her. It helps.
Lucky thats why you want a scissor type head gate instead of a saloon door type.

Brute I catch most of mine the same way you do. Run them into the chute, shut the back door and let them ease into the headgate. Its also why I wish the Priefert chutes were a little bigger, length wise.
I agree. The vet has a big silencer and you can see the size difference.

That's also where I got a reminder about putting a pipe behind them before you open up. We were fert testing that big Brahman bull in my avatar. We forgot the pipe and he hit reverse to the back of the squeeze. He was POed and started rocking that chute. The weak link in those chutes is right out the top. 😆

It was the definition of a cluster...
I'd say one of the biggest things is to try as much as possible to always make the all-around chute experience as pleasant for them as you reasonably can. If possible, do as much work as you can in the lane, and don't even put them into the chute unless you need to for something more. Beyond that, avoid use of hot shots, no yelling, keep ALL WORKERS CALM, AND... maintain calm, quiet, gentle chute operation and functioning.

Auto headgates with the cafe' doors are notorious for the animals ramming into them hard and slamming them shut... BANG-CLANG... bruised shoulders, then jerk hard back to try to escape, then jump around because you're caught, etc. Then because you often can't "release" without manipulating the animal first (smacking them on the head/or forcing them forward some), you generate more stress. Would YOU want to go back into that thing after that kind of an experience?

A straight in/out functioning headgate operates much more quietly (AQ, Priefert, Lakeside, etc.), and doesn't HAVE to be a torture clamp device on them. The Priefert headgate will operate on auto without the "slam"... doesn't need to be (and SHOULDN'T BE) squeezed "tight"... it's DESIGNED to gently take up the slack without squeezing her neck unnecessarily as long as it is lubed up right. Hydraulic headgates often are pressed too tightly by the operators. Hand operated ones more often than not get squeezed too tight too... I see operators all the time cranking on that handle to where they can't apply any more pressure without another man... thinking that they'll escape somehow otherwise... or they think they'll somehow "control" the animal better if clamped really tight??? Maybe they think they'll be able to teach that sucker a lesson if she won't stand still... IDK.... IMO, that just makes them fight more.... = more stress, = more resistance to ever putting their head through/into that thing again.

If the animal is balking because she's seeing a man ahead of her outside of the chute, then the man is in the wrong position, and simply moving relative to her coming in (so that she feels she can "escape" past you) would likely solve that... but if you're stuck at the front because you HAVE TO BE to run that headgate handle, you might need to come up with a solution for that. The AQ sliding handle is helpful for that... Priefert auto-catch works good too... as do hydraulically run headgates, if you can afford it.
Lots of great ideas on here keep it up. I'm gonna take off neck extender. Had a closer look and I might add some card board and zip ties to play around with. I did walk through and noticed that the neck access door was open on the top half. I'll block that off and see if that helps. Have to treat a couple sick ones today. Small sample but fingers crossed the changes help.
I have found that if you release their head first and then the squeeze they are much more likely to move forward instead of backwards. Not 100% but it does improve your odds a lot. (Does not apply to self catch.)
I'm battle that a little with the priefert squeeze. A lot of them don't like going in when they see you standing beside it.

Some thing kind of odd that has worked better for me is I just leave the head gate closed and put them in the squeeze. After I close the tail gate I start a light squeeze and open the head gate. I'll even put a little pressure if I have to. It helps spur them to walk out.

Not letting them fly in there and hammering them with the head gate has really helped the flow and their mentality toward the squeeze.

It seems slower one by one but I think it avgs out faster. It only takes a couple to throw an absolute fit about going in to screw it all up and for you to lose the gained time jamming them in.

I have a Priefert, too, and started doing this - head gate closed until they walk in - when 2 things happened. First, my sale barn man came out to look at something and told me he had a huge problem lately - cows were going down with broken shoulders. He saw it happen - the man running the hydraulic head gate thought it would be fun to try to catch the cow as she was at a full run. She literally hit the head gate as he closed it so hard she would break both shoulders. He fired the man for making a game of it and the policy has always been to open the head gate when she is in the chute.

Second - my head catcher - both manual person and the auto were not moving fast enough or hard enough to catch. I changed the locks on the auto gate and require the cows to enter or almost enter the squeeze before the gate is opened.

And training the cows once a week or every 2 weeks by running through without catching is absolutely the best way to handle them going through.

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