The best cattle handlers know that animals that are happy and relatively stress-free will make them the most money. Cows that are stressed don’t have healthy eating habits, leading to poor weight gain. Cows that are stressed are more likely to get sick and are likely to die early. The effect of stress on animals is much like humans. Therefore, handling cattle as stress-free as possible is to the benefit of both the cows and the handlers. It takes more people to handle stressed cows as well, increasing labor costs. Poor nutrition is one cause of stress, and the environment is the other. Cows that are not treated well in their environment are stressed.
Squeeze Chutes with the Best Stress Free Features
It is important that when choosing cattle equipment, to make choices that will cause the least amount of stress to your animals. The best squeeze chutes offered have rubber inserts at pivot and slam points, reducing noise during the operation of the squeeze chute. Noise can stress cattle, so cutting out as much noise as possible is essential.
There is also a material called “rumber” that is made from recycled tire rubber and plastic. Squeeze chutes that have rumber on their floors and foot doors also reduce noise and stress for cattle. Rubber floors with cleats on them ensure cattle won’t slip on the floor by providing traction. Some squeeze chutes also come with a chest rest to help keep cattle in a calm standing position. Many mechanical and hydraulic chutes are also designed to gently hold animals and not squeeze too hard so that cattle can stay comfortable while in the chute. Manufacturers also provide detailed instructions on how to use a cattle squeeze chute effectively to provide low stress handling to your cattle.
Maintenance of Squeeze Chutes
The best squeeze chutes will last more than 20 years as long as they are properly maintained. First, they need pressure washed frequently to keep them clean. Hinges should be frequently checked for any noise and greased or oiled when necessary to maintain quietness. There should be nothing protruding from the corral or chute that can injure cattle, so frequent inspections should be taking place to ensure your chute stays safe for your cattle.
Corral Design for Low-Stress Chute Entry
The two best corrals used for cattle is the Bud box or a tub. Either way, both take advantage of cattle’s natural tendency to turn around and go back where they came from when they hit a dead end. A good corral system will also have half panels. It’s important for the cattle to see their handlers and allows the handlers to work them from their sides. This is less stress for both the handlers and the animals.
The bottom line with cattle handling is to provide as much of a stress-free environment as possible for the animals. Animals that are not stressed eat well, are less likely to get sick, and provide the best beef. The humane way to handle cattle is the best and choosing the right squeeze chute can help.