Squeeze chutes.....

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eric

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I am in the market for a squeeze chute / headgate, mainly for deworming a few cows and probably putting in ear tags and such. I am having no luck finding any used equipment around N Texas, so I probably will have to buy a new one.

Problem: having a hard time parting with the $2K that Tractor Supply wants for a good one, even the $1200 they want for the cheap one.

Solution: I own a machine shop, have a full time welder and a real good fabricator working for me. Any reason I shouldnt just make my own? It wont be as fancy as a store bought one, but I believe I could design something to hold cows still while I work with them. My idea is to take the design from the grooming cages, use thicker tubing, and make some sort of a V-shaped contraption which I could close either by rope or a wire cable / pulleys mounted on top. I could fabricate a gate for the back, and make the sides hinged either on the bottom so the side falls down or at the rear so the side swings open. I would still have to purchase a head gate, probably an automatic one, but $400 for a headgate is alot better than 2K for the whole chute!

Am I crazy for thinking I could make my own, any dangers I should look out for? Or am I just being a tighta$$ and should go ahead and spend the money for a store bought one? Or better yet, anyone know of any used equipment sites around Texas?
 

la4angus

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It sounds like you could design a good chute. Study the design of what the best TSC's best chutes and you maybe able to improve on them.
Sounds like you already have some pretty good ideas. Just use a good heavy guage tubing; prime it and paint it so it doesn't rust.
 

dun

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Yah you're being cheap, but there ain't nothing wrong with that. Remember that you'll need some way to adjust the closed neck width so you can do little calves also. If you don;t see a feature on a squeeze chute, I wouldn't recommend adding it to your design. If they don't have them they may be just more of a pain in the butt in the long term. Ropes and pulleys aren't desirable axcept for very limited use. Pulleys get dry and stick, ropes fray, swell in the ran and are just a general pain to mess with. Our chute has a sliding rear gate and I really prefer it to any of the other types I've worked with, and I think I've probably worked with them all. A scissor closing head gate works better then the swinging type. The geometry of the head gate is the only really tricky part. You might want to consider buying a good self closing head gate then build the rest of the chute yourself.

dun


eric":1h3c3ifr said:
I am in the market for a squeeze chute / headgate, mainly for deworming a few cows and probably putting in ear tags and such. I am having no luck finding any used equipment around N Texas, so I probably will have to buy a new one.

Problem: having a hard time parting with the $2K that Tractor Supply wants for a good one, even the $1200 they want for the cheap one.

Solution: I own a machine shop, have a full time welder and a real good fabricator working for me. Any reason I shouldnt just make my own? It wont be as fancy as a store bought one, but I believe I could design something to hold cows still while I work with them. My idea is to take the design from the grooming cages, use thicker tubing, and make some sort of a V-shaped contraption which I could close either by rope or a wire cable / pulleys mounted on top. I could fabricate a gate for the back, and make the sides hinged either on the bottom so the side falls down or at the rear so the side swings open. I would still have to purchase a head gate, probably an automatic one, but $400 for a headgate is alot better than 2K for the whole chute!

Am I crazy for thinking I could make my own, any dangers I should look out for? Or am I just being a tighta$$ and should go ahead and spend the money for a store bought one? Or better yet, anyone know of any used equipment sites around Texas?
 
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eric

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Yes, the headgate seems to be the most important part, and I would definately purchase that first, then build the cage / frame around that. The rear gates that I have seen slide open from the top, via a rope and pulley. There is a tall frame and the gate slides up and down inside this frame assembly. I didnt really like the rope system either, I was trying to figure out how to make a long handle welded on a piece of tubing to control the squeeze. But this is something I could move into my shop after use, so it could be oiled / greased to keep things working smoothly. I made some forks for my tractor so moving this thing around shouldnt be a problem. The TSC one weighs 840 pounds, so I need to come up with something pretty heavy parts, or make some anchors to anchor it to the ground when in use.
 

txag

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dun":151f2ef4 said:
A scissor closing head gate works better then the swinging type. The geometry of the head gate is the only really tricky part. You might want to consider buying a good self closing head gate then build the rest of the chute yourself.

dun

agree. we don't use any squeeze chutes but we have head gates at each place on the end of the chute. if you purchase a head gate, be sure to study designs. we sometimes help work cattle on a place that has a head gate that is a self-catching head gate (swinging-style). good idea but to let the cow out, it has to swing to the outside instead of the inside. if there's another cow close behind her, it's hard to swing it back closed, release the lock & swing it back inside to catch that next one. we prefer the scissor type like dun suggested.
 

D.R. Cattle

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Have you considered not needing a squeeze chute? I get by just fine with a stationary wooden chute and only a head gate. I just bought a new head gate for $350. Automatic shoulder catch. I give shots, worm, vaccinate and anything else. I'm not pushing 1000 head through, but I can do a hundred or two no probs.
 

WILD BILL

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I've found TSC to me the most expencive place to buy most anything. Look for a fencing supply company in your area. There are several companies manufacturing handleing equipment. Search the net and decide what you like, most manufacturers have websites.
 

dun

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Preifert has a heavy gauge mesh floor that fits on the bottom of their headgates so that the cow standing on it keeps it from moving around. When we have to work them away from the normal working facility that's what we use. Just hoof a couple of corral panels to it to make an alleyway and it's a done deal. Lunatics would probably cause a problem.

dun


D.R. Cattle":q1zk08s1 said:
Have you considered not needing a squeeze chute? I get by just fine with a stationary wooden chute and only a head gate. I just bought a new head gate for $350. Automatic shoulder catch. I give shots, worm, vaccinate and anything else. I'm not pushing 1000 head through, but I can do a hundred or two no probs.
 
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eric

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D.R. Cattle":18jldysx said:
Have you considered not needing a squeeze chute? I get by just fine with a stationary wooden chute and only a head gate. I just bought a new head gate for $350. Automatic shoulder catch. I give shots, worm, vaccinate and anything else. I'm not pushing 1000 head through, but I can do a hundred or two no probs.

No, I have only seen a squeeze chute used a few times at the salebarn, it was an hydraulic one at that. They used it to brand the cows after purchase. If you don't squeeze 'em fairly tight, don't they try and kick / move around when you give them shots? My main use for this thing would be for deworming and holding them for preg check as the local vet doesn't
have portable equipment anymore. He still makes house calls, he just doesn't bring a chute / headgate with him anymore. Would a headgate hold them still enough for dehorning and palpating?

The most cows I'll probably ever have is maybe 10-12 head total, another reason for the pucker up at the expense. It would take me quite a few calves to recoup that kind of investment!
 
A

Anonymous

i have built 2. looked at several different ones and used the things i liked about them and came up with my own squeeze chute. i bought and mounted head gates on them. works great.
 

txag

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eric":2g3ji0lk said:
Would a headgate hold them still enough for dehorning and palpating?

for cows, a headgate works almost as good as a squeeze chute. palpating shouldn't be a problem at all w/just a chute & headgate. as we're rebuilding pens, we're including a palpation/a.i. gate in the chute to keep from having to walk the whole chute or climbing over the fence. for dehorning, even with a squeeze chute, you'll probably have to halter the heads & tie them to the side (or use a polled bull).

for calves, yes, the smaller ones will move around a little more w/just a chute and headgate vs a squeeze chute.
 

dun

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Here's what we used to do and it held them well enough to preg check, AI, vaccinate, mouth and used it for the neigbors cows to treat for pinkeye where you roll the eyelid inside out and give a shot directly into the conjunctive tissue. Also used it for banding.
We sunk 2 treated 5x5's about 3 1/2 feet and made them solid with cement. They were spaced so that we could bolt a self catch headgate to them. On the entry side we mounted two 8' heavy steel gates so that we could swing them out to let them out the side if we wanted and hooke them close at the back with a chain. We had the front of the gate (hinge end) mounted at about 32 inches wide. Set up a couple of corral panels to make an aalleyway and put an alleyway arch at the end to hold the width. Synk T-posts on either side of the arch to hold them in place and just slid a 2x2 steel bar behind the cow to keep her from backing up. It worked fine but was a bit slow. But at the time the facilities only lent themselves to that sort of set up. We used it for about 5 years and made a couple of changes here and there as we came up with better solutions. BTW we had it under a roof so we could do stuff when it rained.
Longwinded again, sorry

dun


eric":k9uk8g32 said:
D.R. Cattle":k9uk8g32 said:
Have you considered not needing a squeeze chute? I get by just fine with a stationary wooden chute and only a head gate. I just bought a new head gate for $350. Automatic shoulder catch. I give shots, worm, vaccinate and anything else. I'm not pushing 1000 head through, but I can do a hundred or two no probs.

No, I have only seen a squeeze chute used a few times at the salebarn, it was an hydraulic one at that. They used it to brand the cows after purchase. If you don't squeeze 'em fairly tight, don't they try and kick / move around when you give them shots? My main use for this thing would be for deworming and holding them for preg check as the local vet doesn't
have portable equipment anymore. He still makes house calls, he just doesn't bring a chute / headgate with him anymore. Would a headgate hold them still enough for dehorning and palpating?

The most cows I'll probably ever have is maybe 10-12 head total, another reason for the pucker up at the expense. It would take me quite a few calves to recoup that kind of investment!
 
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eric

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that sounds like more up my alley Dun......I hate to spend a whole lot of money for something I might not even figure out to use! I like your idea, but I think I will make it portable so I can move it in and out of the shop.
 

arrowhunter

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With the kind of metal experience it sounds like you have access to, I wouldn't be afraid at all the make your own. Just go and look at a new one for ideas and weld away!! Stay away from sharp corners/angles or anything that could catch the animal and you should be fine. One thing, our shute has removeable panels at the bottom that allow easy access to hooves and even works great for getting a calf to suck when mom is less than pleased with her new prize! I highly recommend these panels, the are very handy!
 

dun

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If it isn't going to mounted rigidly you really need to look at that mesh deal that Priefert has. Plus I would run a T-post in on either side and chain it to them. It's surpising how well T-posts will hold if you chain them low and high.

dun

eric":454c2a5s said:
that sounds like more up my alley Dun......I hate to spend a whole lot of money for something I might not even figure out to use! I like your idea, but I think I will make it portable so I can move it in and out of the shop.
 

sam

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Prieferts is located in Mt Pleasant which is about 110 miles or so east of Dallas. they have seconds, which they sell a lot cheaper than the high priced ones, i'm talking chutes and headgates both. on the seconds there may be a welding flaw on a weld, something bent a little, just something where it doesn't pass inspection. you may want to contact them. they make the panels too.
 
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eric

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preiferts is a fairly common brand which I have seen at the various stock shows and fairs we go to. I didnt realize they had a seconds / surplus store. thanks for the info, I'll look them up on the web and give them a call. I dont have any problem at all buying used / dented gates, as mine will probably be that way quickly! Thanks again!
 

Linda

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I've often thought that if a second set of "doors" or something similar to the head catch were to be installed in a chute just forward of the shoulders, the cow could not move forward and back in the head catch.

This is difficult to describe in words, but when a cow is in a head catch, she can move forward until her shoulders hit the catch, and then back the distance of her neck, until her head touches the front side of the catch and stops rearward movement. This makes it difficult to give neck injections. A commercial squeeze chute reduces this problem but does not eliminate it.

I think if some kind of slider doors were installed so they could be moved inward to snug just in front of the shoulders after the cow's head was in the head catch, the neck area could easily be accessed for injections.

If and when you do build your setup, be sure to allow a system for neck injections. Too many require you to put your arm at risk by reaching in between bars or other cramped spaces to give that shot.
 

txag

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Linda":3s84jqzn said:
I've often thought that if a second set of "doors" or something similar to the head catch were to be installed in a chute just forward of the shoulders, the cow could not move forward and back in the head catch.

This is difficult to describe in words, but when a cow is in a head catch, she can move forward until her shoulders hit the catch, and then back the distance of her neck, until her head touches the front side of the catch and stops rearward movement. This makes it difficult to give neck injections. A commercial squeeze chute reduces this problem but does not eliminate it.

I think if some kind of slider doors were installed so they could be moved inward to snug just in front of the shoulders after the cow's head was in the head catch, the neck area could easily be accessed for injections.

If and when you do build your setup, be sure to allow a system for neck injections. Too many require you to put your arm at risk by reaching in between bars or other cramped spaces to give that shot.

some of the new squeeze chutes have neck extenders for just that problem.
 
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