Chute or trailer

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RICHARD ADAMS

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I don't know a thing about animals and bought 3 mama cows with calves for yard decorations. The calves are male and need castrated. The local vet say's I need a chute for her to do this and don't own one yet and since they're longhorns I apparently need a special chute when they're grown but a standard chute when they're young. Seems like a lot of investment... would I be better off purchasing a trailer and taking them 30 minutes to UC Davis. And if I bought any of this how often should I need vet care assuming I'd prefer my involvement to end at facility care and feeding issues. I own enough truck to pull a large trailer.

Thanks for your input.

Rick
 

skip

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It's really not a question of a chute OR a trailer. From my experience, you are going to need both. I would not like to think about loading cows or calves on my trailer without running them through a chute. Now once you have a chute, a good headgate will do the job. Ours cost about $375 new.
Then you have the flexiblity to call the vet to you or take the calves to the vet.
 

TxCoUnTrYbOy

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a chute is a definate must. ive only needed to use it once, so you may be ok with a normal one. all ive needed them for is castration and dehorning which was done very young. they havent been in there since then
 

TXBobcat

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Welcome to the Longhorn world. They are a little different than other breeds when it comes to handling facilities. You will need some variation of a "Medina Hinge" setup to work the bigger cows. See this thread for explanation of a medina hinge http://cattletoday.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4336

As far calves, you might be able to work them in the same set-up, but I would prefer a Priefert brand headgate attached to the end of a 28"-30" wide chute. I would use the headgate to work small to medium sized calves that don't have much horn yet.

How often you might need vet care really can't be determined. That is like saying how often do I need to go to the doctor? The answer would be "Anythime you are sick and can't diagnois and treat yourself". The same answer would apply to your cattle. No matter what, you will still need some type of loading system (i.e. pens) to get your cattle into a trailer. As far as annual vet care, I would say they need to be wormed 2
times a year, and given an annual blackleg and triangle-9 vaccination, at the minimum. Who knows what else migth come up?

I am currently working on a set of pens to work longhorns. To give you an estimate, this is close to what will be spent (materials only), although it is not finished yet.

64' x 64' pen (perimeter with one 12' gate)..................... $1,400
Internal alley, Medina Hinge set-up, and loading chute......$1,100
Headgate (Priefert manual)............................................$ 400

Trailer 14' stock trailer (used but great condition).............$1,500
 

Cattle Rack Rancher

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I have a few of those long horned cattle. I've had good success with putting them in a standard chute, throwing a loop around their horns and tying them tight to the top bar of my headgate. It holds them nice and still. Get somebody to pull the tail up tight over the animals back bone and cut away. You'll turn their mind from a** to grass in no time. Good luck.
 
A

Anonymous

How big are these calves? A chute is nice but it can be done without one. Up to a certain size they can be easily handled without a chute. Get them inside a good solid pen with mom on the outside and go to it. If they are small enough throw them and do it on the ground. If they are bigger rope them and snub then to a post, have a gate hung on that post and swing it against the calf to pin it there. This statement probably wont go over real big here but some times you just need to cowboy up if you own cattle.
dn
 

jcarkie

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for three cows and calves it would be cheaper and easier to haul them to the vet. i do this twice a year to vaccinate and dehorn and worm, preg check, my vet is reasonable if you haul them in. i can't invest in a good head gate and chute yet. i have tried the wrestling and it is hard on you and the animals, too much stress.
 

greenpasture78

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Richard,
There is a large animal vet up in Willows (his name is not coming to me...call information...). He have a squeeze chute and he will do the castrating for you. Might try asking the Rosevill Auction to borrow their squeeze chute...somone there might show you how to castrate... There are numerous ways to castrate... I do the "cut and yank" method....bloody but quick.... UCDavis is pretty expensive... Roseville Auction is free...the vet in Willows is reasonable. Goodluck to you and those Longhorn calves....I suggest you dehorn them too...horns are dangerous... If you got kids, think about their safety... There are some mighty good Longhorns in that area... Take care.
 

Beefy

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In the long run you really need a working headgate/chute if you are going to have any cattle at all. But for now, you could get by with just a trailer if you build a small catch pen. you can make a cheap pen out of posts and those wire panels (assuming cattle arent wild) or if you have the funds you can use those portable cattle panels that you get from like Priefert, PowderRiver,etc. these work nice b/c you can move them wheresas the wire and posts are pretty permanent, although temporary. Anyway, make a catch pen and lane (i'd make the lane out of wood if you dont have the heavy duty cattle panels) and feed your cows and calves a sack or two of feed along and along in there to get them used to going in. feed them, close the gate and block off the lane, come back after a few minutes with your trailer, separate the calves into the lane, and load. Piece of cake.
 

shorty

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I would be lost without my chute and headgate, I've castrated calves without a chute but it's a lot easier on you and the calves if you have a good chute and headgate
 

Kelly

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I started out with just a homemade head catch. They got too smart and would not go anywhere near it. Then we set up a system of swinging gates that would hinge on posts and would close them in when they got past the first set of gates. The gates work really good with the smaller calves because you can do most everything you need to without them in the head catch. We put a manual headgate at one end so we can put the cows in the headgate if needed or just a chain behind them to keep them from backing up so we can have them AI'd or preg checked. Now this year I also set up a catch corral with chute made of cattle panels and headgate it was alot easier to get them worked on without trying to run them all into the barn one at a time! It just takes time to figure out what works best for your situation and the cattle you have.
 
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Anonymous

I just read the posts on this topic. Several comments (as a longhorn breeder, etc.):
  • 1. I strongly recommend using a "Medina Hinge" device to work longhorns. Once horns get 6-9" past their ears, traditional headgates (despite what the mfg's claim) do not work well with them.
    2. If you have longhorns do not de-horn them (as one person indicated on this board)--if you don't want horns, don't buy them.
    3. Yes you need chutes, holding areas, etc. with any cattle to work them and load/unload them properly, without losing your mind.
    4. Yes, you can tie a rope around their horn base to restrain their head in a chute to vaccinate, etc. them.
    5. One board respondent said to avoid longhorns since they are dangerous around children. ANY livestock are dangerous around children! Keep children away from livestock, especially horned ones and you won't have to worry about injuries or deaths. It is OK to say "NO" to a child...won't stunt their growth, make them sterile, or make them psychotic...lol.
Off my soapbox now. P.S.: there are mfg's who make special longhorn chutes, squeeze devices, etc. But, make sure they ARE for longhorns, not just wishful thinking from the manufacturer!
 

lazyhill

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If I understand your original post, you may only have enough funds to buy either a chute or a trailer. In the event that this is your scenario, I would recommend the trailer. You have a small number of cows and a trailer will get you more mileage in taking them to the vet when needed or taking them to sales, etc. Even though they are longhorns, your vet's alleys and chutes will work. It takes extra time and care to let the cow work its way down a narrow alley. I have done this with some very large horned longhorns before. Gentle prodding by me to get the cow down the alley and then into the chute, but it works.
 
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RICHARD ADAMS

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Thanks for the input. Sounds like I will need all this stuff with the trailer being first thing. It also sounds like I'll need more cattle to rationalize the investment. Cows $3300, panels, pen and water tanks $2700, trailer $5500 (have not found used in Sac Bee or local), chutes(s) and conversion to ag insurance on property additional $1500 annually. So, $13,000 first year investment. I'm sure this is all depreciable over 5 years. After adding in $1,400 guestimated operating expenses I'll have to have at least $4000 in annual income for this to be a clean write off. About how many cattle and of what age would I have to run thru the livestock auction for this to pencil out?

This must be why my kids have word problems in math class.
 

lazyhill

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RICHARD ADAMS":1mclhj1f said:
So, $13,000 first year investment. I'm sure this is all depreciable over 5 years.

Don't forget about the wonderful thing called the Section 179 deduction. It currently allows for $100,000 of assets to be written off in the first year that the asset is placed in service.

Here is a link to the IRS form. http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f4562.pdf
Here is a link to a little info on it. http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i4562.pdf

Keep in mind that you can start small and buy things as you need them and make sure that you only buy what you can afford. A lot of young people forget this when they start in cattle and accumulate debt that is very hard to pay off. Also, keep in mind that you are in California and as I've said on this board before, the further away from Texas you get ... the harder it can be to sell Texas Longhorn cattle without a lot of cost and time. In other words, make sure that your income expectations are realistic to your market.
 
A

Anonymous

Remember you don't have to own everything. You can hire out or rent a lot of what you need. My neighbors have a 350 cow dairy and they don't own a stock trailer. They say it is cheaper and easier to have someone haul their cattle for them. I have the same guy haul for me and it pencels better than owning one. It would be more convenient at times but for the cost of insurance, lic. not to mention the trailer, it is sure cheaper for me to hire someone. All you need to start is a good stout pen to load out of. A pen about 20 by 20 would work for the numbers you are talking about. Railroad ties set in the groud 36 inches with 2 by 8 spaced about 6 inches apart and about 5 or 6 feet high gives them no visible way out. Be sure to nail the board on to the inside of the pen.

Dave
 

Running Arrow Bill

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RICHARD ADAMS":1s212e8u said:
Thanks for the input. Sounds like I will need all this stuff with the trailer being first thing. It also sounds like I'll need more cattle to rationalize the investment. Cows $3300, panels, pen and water tanks $2700, trailer $5500 (have not found used in Sac Bee or local), chutes(s) and conversion to ag insurance on property additional $1500 annually. So, $13,000 first year investment. I'm sure this is all depreciable over 5 years. After adding in $1,400 guestimated operating expenses I'll have to have at least $4000 in annual income for this to be a clean write off. About how many cattle and of what age would I have to run thru the livestock auction for this to pencil out?

This must be why my kids have word problems in math class.

Think you should be able to find a NEW 14-16' enclosed cattle trailer for a lot less than $5500! Maybe everything in CA is price inflated! In Texas one can find such a trailer in the $2500 to 3500 price range, new. Look at the WW, Bonanza, S&H, and similar trailer brands. On the other hand, if one "can" find a used trailer in Texas (not the fancy all aluminum ones), they usually sell for between about $1000 and $2000 for the enclosed twin axle bumper pull types.

On your cattle sell thing: If you are selling calves at auction barn, figure anywhere between $350 and $550 for the 350 to 650 pound range. Check with your area auction sale listings. Finally, heard that the national average to feed, care for each 1000# animal is about $350. Factor that into your costs...
 
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