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Squeeze chute safety

Ron Gill and Jason Cleere Published on 27 December 2010
Operating a squeeze chute

Cattle are typically worked one to two times a year on the ranch. Vaccination, palpation, treatment, testing, dehorning, castration and identification are many of the management practices that require restraint of cattle. The safety of yourself, your help, and the animal being processed should be top priority

Sometimes, we just make the facilities that we have work because we do not want to invest in a squeeze chute. However, processing cattle without proper restraint can result in serious injury to cattle and/or those working them. It only takes a couple of injured or lost cows, or a trip to the emergency room, to lose the money a squeeze chute would cost.

Today’s market offers many different types of squeeze chutes, but all are designed to restrain the head and body of cattle to maintain the animal’s safety as well as the people processing them. Injuries can occur with even the best-designed squeeze chute, though, if proper operating procedures are not followed.

Squeeze chutes contain many moving parts, pinch points and protruding metal features by design. Differences between manufacturing designs make generalization difficult when it comes to discussing safety around squeeze chutes. Complicating the discussion even further are the differences between manual chutes and hydraulic-operated chutes.

There are four basic areas of a chute that are inherently hazardous: the headgate, side squeeze, side exit/access and rear gate. If you take each area, it can be broken down further. In addition, safety risks can be broken down into moderate and severe within each of those areas.  end_mark

To download a poster of tips to chute safety click here.

PHOTO TOP:

Processing cattle without proper restraint can result in serious injury to cattle and/or those working them.  Photo by Fredric Ridenour.

Ron Gill

Ron Gill
Extension Specialist
Texas A&M University

Jason Cleere

Jason Cleere

Extension Specialist
Texas A&M University

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