I know that squeeze chutes make cattle work more efficient and less stressful for the cattle we are handling. Just this Thanksgiving, my family branded and doctored over 200 head in a few hours and this was possible because of our squeeze chute.
Temple Grandin will also tell you the animals prefer this method of handling. Enjoy this short and interesting history by Alan Newport, full story here.
Squeeze Chutes: From Stone to Steel Modern manufacturing made the squeeze chute better and affordable.
By Alan Newport
The modern American squeeze chute with its all-steel construction and hydraulics actually began as wooden or stone stalls in Europe – sort of a freestanding framework into which animals were led and tethered for treatment.
Often they were known as “stocks” or “crushes.” These stocks or crushes were typically either community property or belonged to the local blacksmith, and it’s certain from their design that the technology modern squeeze chutes largely replaced – that is ropes – were an important part of beef production even then.
European stocks were most often manufactured from heavy wood timbers. Stone appears to have been less common.
Only a few had stanchions of sorts for holding the head of the animal, whether horse or bovine. Some had slings. Some had devices to hold up legs for hoof care.
But none of them actually caught and squeezed the animal for control and operator safety. That seems to have been developed in this country, or perhaps simultaneously here, in Europe and in Australia.
Perhaps one of the most amazing things about squeeze chutes and head gates is nearly anyone with cattle in this relatively affluent nation can afford one.
Researchers at the University of Kentucky developed enterprise budgets for 50-cow herds with a $5,000 investment in handling facilities that included a head gate and chute. They projected a return over variable costs of a little more than $20 per head due to a higher calving percentage, higher weaning weights, and lower death loss for both cows and calves. That is enough to pay for the facilities in five years.