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Cattle For Those Who Like To Have A Cow.

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Old 07/10/08, 01:20 PM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: west central iowa
Posts: 430
cattle handling for small farm

I have only a few Dexter cows but will probably max out with around 6 of them in the near future. I am looking for ideas of an alleyway/chute/headgate or something similar that I can build myself.
Just looking for a way to restrain them for shots, worming, etc. and a way to get them loaded onto a trailer.I have good building skills with wood but no welding experience. Does anyone have a design, or ideas, they can share?
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Old 07/10/08, 01:33 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: NC
Posts: 977
do a google search on small barn plans...I found a dept of ag site that had all kinds of plans...we bought just a headgate, no chute, and using telephone poles, we made a chute out of heavy duty plywood...the chute is mounted to bull is going to budge is built in between two small stalls in our small barn...then we use pipe panels to create a small holding pen and run the cows through the chute and into the gate....we bribe with a pan of feed just outside the gate, which our piggy cows go for sure to measure and leave yourself working room to do shots on either can make a fold down panel....on each side...also need a way to slide a couple of 2x4's in behind the cow so they don't back out...good luck...
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Old 07/10/08, 02:30 PM
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Saskatchewan, Canada
Posts: 827
For the # of animals that you may be handling all you need is a basic corral and chute with some sort of a headgate on it. I doubt you have any real need for a squeeze. I would advise having the chute facing into a corral, that way if you have an escape it is much easier to recirculate the escapee than if she ended up out in the pasture. When designing your chute, keep in mind that your Dexters are smaller than the average beef cow and adjust your width accordingly.

Here are some links to designs.
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Old 07/10/08, 11:01 PM
genebo's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: VA
Posts: 1,599
When building your chute for Dexters, make it a little narrower. I built mine to standard width and the smaller Dexters can turn around in it. I wish mine was 3" narrower.

Also try to incorporate a crowding gate into the loading chute, to help get them into the trailer.

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Old 07/11/08, 01:51 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: KS
Posts: 3,841
Simple setup for a few head...

Take two 8 inch Diameter or larger wood posts, and plant them same as you would a fence post. Place them 30 inches apart. Then attach one 2"X8" plank across the two posts at the top, and one of same at the bottom. Then attach upright(vertical) neck rails to these 2"X8" cross pieces. 2"X8"planks or steel pipe will suffice for neck rails. Place the neck rails such that the spacing between them will allow your largest cow's head to pass thru, but will contact both front shoulders and prevent cow from proceeding forward.

Then, perpendicular to this fixed headstall you have just constructed, plant another 8" wood post seven feet and eight inches out from headgate post. Attach 8 foot 2"X8" planks to form a solid board fence. Make the top plank a good ten inches higher than your tallest cow to discourage jumpers.
This will be the solid wall you crowd cow against to do your vet work.

On the other headgate post, Attach a 12 foot steel cattle gate(heavy duty 2" dia steel pipe gate). Using threaded rod bolts provided with gate, bore holes thru post using a brace & bit and hang gate. When open, the gate should swing wide to where it is perpendicular to the opposing board wall. When closed, the far end of gate will contact the board wall to form a triangular space the cow is squeezed into. Then have a chain which can readily be thrown around plank post fence and secured back to outbound end of gate to lock cow in position.

It works like this: Herd cow into stall by walking her into the corner formed by the plank fence and the open gate. Swing gate closed to sweep cow in as she walks forward into the headstall, chain rear of gate shut after cow is fully forward in stall. After your tasks are complete, swing gate open and cow will back away, turn and exit. If you wish to use for loading also, construct other gates such that when she backs away to exit stall her only exit is right into stock trailer.

For extra strength pour concrete around posts rather than tamping them with dirt.
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Old 07/11/08, 08:28 AM
Tana Mc's Avatar
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Ks
Posts: 1,027
Up North has the right idea........
I worked our cows on Wednesday to preg check, worm and tag them.
I am a 45 yo woman and my helpers are a 17 yo daughter and a 14 son (with a really bad attitude). The 7 yo son is my "book keeper" and records who is pg and who isn't.

We only keep 10 cows on a small 30 acre leased pasture. The fences are bad and we are repairing them as part of the lease agreement. I bought a portable squeeze chute and we use portable corral panels. It works because we are experienced at working cattle but I truely wish for a stable set of working pens.

A neighboring rancher hires my daughter each spring to help him get ready for his production sale. She comes home telling me of all the wonderful working pens that he has...... just green with envy. Ours is cheap, paid for and most importantly, able to go home with us when the lease is up.

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Old 07/11/08, 09:24 AM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: west central iowa
Posts: 430
Thanks for all the info. I am trying to picture what UpNorth is describing....sounds like something that would work for my place.
Anyone have any pictures they might send?
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Old 07/13/08, 09:58 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: WI
Posts: 1,245
I put large posts into the ground. Attached to them I bought at auction heavy duty gates. I move the gates to funnel them into a used headgate I bought and put up between two posts, or move the gates to funnel them into a trailer. I can also move gates to make a quick pen if need to keep an eye on a small heifer calving etc.

I did this with 4 used gates, old fence posts I picked up here and there, one new gate I had to buy, and the headgate.

I paid my AI lady $20 to come out and give me her ideas on how to do the layout based on all the other farms she goes to .

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Old 07/13/08, 11:18 PM
Patt's Avatar
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Ouachitas, AR
Posts: 6,049
All of my cows are halter trained and we have a stanchion for them in our milking shed. They all go in the stanchion when we need to work with them.
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Old 07/14/08, 11:38 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Willamette Valley, Oregon
Posts: 5,492
Take a look at this milking stanchion that was made for Dexter's - might give you some ideas.
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