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Senior Contributor

Major Squeeze Chute Improvement


Background info: Dad and I used a Priefert squeeze chute for several years. Sold a property, chute was part of the deal. New property came with a squeeze chute. Dad did not like the squeeze chute on the new property, but I thought it would work fine. I was wrong, and this is how we discovered such:


After we figured out how to operate the dilapidated piece of junk; well, we sort of figured out how to operate it; we did some light cattle work, mostly calves and a few cows (the cows could be best described as backyard pets). We did not like using the chute, but it was tolerable, make that somewhat tolerable, and only somewhat tolerable if I try to forget the rotten rope. The back gate to the chute was operated by pulling a rope on the side of the chute that would lift the gate, cow walks under raised gate, let go of rope, gate drops. Of course, I am not strong enough to raise the gate on my own, and was barely capable of keeping the gate raised; if once it was raised, I pulled on the rope by leaning back which put all of my weight into keeping the gate raised. Just as I was getting used to holding the gate up, the rotten rope breaks, and I fall flat on my back, of course the pen that the squeeze chute is in had had cows in it the night before, so you know what I landed on. At least it was not a thorn bush. So, we replaced the rope and finished working the cattle with Dad operating the gate.


Time has a way of helping people forget why using a piece of junk equipment is a bad idea, so a few months later we decide to work cattle again, with the same chute (only idiots would be this stupid, scratch that, what I intended to say was only geniuses would be this frugal). This time we were working 1000+ pound cows instead of smaller framed first calf heifers, and these cows are not backyard pets. If their looks of hatred were not enough before they went into the chute, I definitely stayed away from them when they came out.


While our cattle working task of changing ear tags and giving a B-12 shot should have been quick and easy, Dad and I found ourselves becoming increasingly frustrated, with every cow. The squeeze chute was hard to operate, and even harder to adjust. Most of the group were pairs and we worked the cows and calves as they came through. If the chute was adjusted for a cow a calf would walk right through, if the chute was adjusted for a calf, the cow could not get in it. We were also unable to adjust the head gate once the cow was in the chute, which made ear tagging very difficult, as several of the cows would get their neck far enough through the chute to have sizable head swing room. There was also not adequate space between the head gate and the frame of the squeeze chute to easily and safely give a shot. One of the cows left the chute acting drunk, and was having considerable difficulty standing (We later learned she had a pinched nerve.) Add to this the fact that I could still not operate the back gate on the chute, and Dad and I were throughly frustrated. We started working the cattle in the late afternoon expecting to finish before dark. By dark, we were about half done, and ended the day by supplying the cows with feed and water and keeping them in the corrals overnight.


After a frustrating end to the previous day, Dad decided that greasing the squeeze chute would help. While this was not a bad idea, when something looks like a piece of junk, and operates like a piece of junk, greasing it will only turn it into a greased piece of junk. Somehow Dad and I managed to finish working the very unhappy herd, and turn them back out to pasture.


When the injured cow did not come up for cubes with the rest of the herd for two days, but her calf did, we started to fear the worst, and went looking for her. We found her alive, and expect her to make a complete recovery, but Dad and I had had enough of the dilapidated pile of scrap metal that someone called a squeeze chute. Dad replaced it with a Priefert squeeze chute like the one that he had sold. Dad and I have a newfound appreciation for what we had used for several years, and what we are now using, and I do not think we will be complaining about the fact that this new chute could be improved if ….. Correction, no comment. 🙂


Picture is of the new squeeze chute.


Edited because image did not post.






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Veteran Advisor

Re: Major Squeeze Chute Improvement

Your story brought back memories of the chute we used to have. Rope for the back gate. Another rope to squeeze the sides and probably the worst thing was a big pipe to pull down to squeeze the head gate. The best I can say is at least no one got seriously hurt using it We finally replaced it with a portable tub alley and working chute combo which has worked out very well for us. No hydraulics but that would be overkill. We have a cow-calf operation so work cattle only a few times a year. Life and farming is so much better when you have good equipment to work with
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