Cattle Restraint Options

Written by: Dr. Paisley Canning

Excellent Website on fencing/restraint design for highlands specifically: 

Locking/ sliding head gate/ catch inline with feeding area

  • Generally for larger groups of animals​
  • Self locking or manual lock​
  • Cow puts head through, tilts main bar and moves it to lock position which stops the cow from being able to pull head out of the gate​
  • Harder for horned cattle​
  • Usually installed at a feeder or feed bunk​
  • No restraint for back end of the animal provided with this set up​
  • Not useful for hoof trimming​
  • Inexpensive, common​
  • Meant for minor quick handling like for injections, deworming

Drone footage of set of locking head gates ​

Single animal head locks/catches with gates

  • Used in hospital pens, treatment areas​
  • One cow at a time​
  • Sturdier, heavy duty and have penning/gates on both sides of the head gate to stop the cow from swinging side to side  ​
  • Would need to manually close the head catch to trap the cow – the head gate applies pressure on the neck stopping the cow’s ability to be able to walk forward or backwards​
  • Not great for hoof trimming ​
  • Good for treatments, vet exams, preg checking, injections, deworming 

Hoof Trimming Chute

  • Combines a head lock, with secure siding, and winches/ropes to allow you to restrain the cow safety for hoof trimmings and procedures​
  • Safest options for cows and humans for hoof trimming​
  • Has a head gate on it – you can use it as a regular chute or head gate for injections or vet exams, preg checking too ​
  • Good for small herds, doing small number of trims ​
  • Studier than previous slide​
  • You will need gating and some practice moving cattle to get a cow to go in the chute (true of all the options!)​
  • Can move this with a tractor​
  • “all in one” 
  • Not recommended for use for a large herd – really good for folks with <20 cattle 

Conventional beef cattle chute (hydraulic or manual)

  • Extremely heavy duty​
  • For big cows and for large herds working with lots of cattle​
  • Need fencing/gate system to get the cattle in the chute​
  • Most expensive​
  • Can rig up a system to trim feet – there are no feet or leg lifts with this (compared to the hoof trimming chute)

Last updated on August 9th, 2023.