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Cattle Handling Facilites

Last week Travis and I presented to the Monroe County Cattlemen's Association.  It was a great meeting.  Part of the program included safely handling cattle and designs of cattle handling facilities.  Although many may feel that right now is not the time to spend money on facilities, I would differ in that opinion.  My reasoning is this: your time is valuable!  Sometimes minor changes or adding additional handling facilities can increases your efficiency and decrease your cattle's stress.  Also if these changes allow you to add value to the calves by dehorning, castrating, vaccinating then those procedures will pay for those changes.

There are numerous articles about designing cattle handling facilities.  In my opinion one of the best is from the University of Kentucky.  The article discusses the various components of cattle facilities, gives dimensions, and numerous diagrams from which to work from. 

A second article that you may find useful is from the Ohio State University.  The first part of the article discusses "How Cattle Perceive Their World".  Keep in mind it is always prudent to handle your cattle as stress free as possible.  Also you want to make sure that your cattle will go through the working facilities; if they are stressed the first time they may balk thereafter.

Cattlemen do not need to spend an enormous amount of money on facilities; but they need facilities that prevent injury to them and their cattle.  I have visited many that were made with materials already found on the farm.  Having said that the facilities must be built strong enough to hold the cattle.  Also the design should take into consideration the size of your cattle; 1200 vs 1600 lb cows, stockers, 2200 lb bulls, etc. 

Before you build, visit a couple of local farms or when you attend auctions, look their facilities over.  Ask the owner what he/she likes or dislikes about their facilities.  Many times you will come away with new ideas or "see" a different way to build the component.

Happy building!

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