Cattle Handling Comfort Zone (And why to get out of yours!)

Published on Thu, 04/05/2018 - 9:41am

Cattle Handling Comfort Zone (And why to get out of yours!)

By Dana Charban

When it comes to cattle handling it is easy to remain within the realm of what is known and familiar - to continue with the way things have always been done, and the equipment that has always been used.

However, recent research in animal science and livestock handling practices indicates that the way we have been handling cattle up until this point has been detrimental to the wellbeing of the livestock, the cognitive state of the handlers, and has been diminishing profits from ranching operation’s bottom lines.
While many ranchers may wish to take steps to solve these issues, the question is often where to begin. Investing in new equipment is one piece of the puzzle, but there is far more to managing your cattle than the squeeze chute. Optimizing your ranch is a large undertaking that requires education, dedication, and time, and is most effective when used in all areas of cattle management.
To break it down into its simplest form, here are three key pieces of a low-stress, high efficiency ranching operation.

1. Invest in Stockmanship
Often the best place to start is also the most challenging. Implementing low-stress cattle handling practices your operation can have the largest return on investment, but it also takes skill, patience, and training for ranch hands. You must be willing to invest in the process for it to work out. There is no shortcut to Stockmanship.

2. Look and Listen
Cattle are highly sensitive animals, especially when it comes to sight and sound. Take some time to look and listen to what is going on when your cattle are being handled. Are there dogs barking, people yelling, or trucks roaring? What about lighting issues, shadows, or dead ends which may cause your cattle to baulk? Think like a cow when asking these questions – get low and see things from their point of view! Eliminating these types of distractions can prove highly beneficial when looking to speed up processing times.


3. Check your Equipment
Take a close look at the equipment you are currently using. Is it designed to adhere to the low-stress cattle handling practices you are implementing? Do you have the access and animal control you need to perform your tasks effectively? Is it safe and easy for the handlers who are using it? Determine where improvements are needed, then come up with a game plan and timeline to make those improvements. Whether it is something as simple as adding a new form of head restraint, or complex enough to require a complete overhaul of your corral system, knowing what you need to fix is the first step of the process.
Implementing low-stress animal handling techniques doesn’t have to be complicated. With the right information and equipment, optimizing your cattle handling operation can be simple! Arrowquip is proud to offer a lineup of products designed specifically around the principles of low-stress cattle handling. From the world-renowned silent squeeze chute, Q-Catch 86 Series, to the BudFlow® Tub that use cattle psychology to the advantage of the handler, they offer a variety of products which provide the opportunity to increase the productivity of any operation without unnecessary stress on the animal. No matter what equipment you choose to use, implementing low-stress cattle handling techniques will keep your cattle calm, and will lead to a more effective and profitable operation!
For more information on how you can increase the efficiency of your ranch, visit or contact or 1-866-383-7827.

The Arrowquip Experience

We have the Q-Catch 86 Series, the 8´Adjustable Alley, and the 8´ BudFlow® Cattle Tub. My dad did most of the research, and that alone is a testament because he researches like crazy before he buys anything! We needed one that worked with horned cattle, and we wanted something that, if need be, one of us could operate on our own without the help of anybody else, so that definitely went into it as well.
We haven’t had it for a super long time, and before we got it we had to do some things with our cattle and move them without it, so we have definitely noticed how much easier it was to do all that once we got it. We sort of struggled through for a while without it, so it’s made things a lot easier.
The BudFlow® tub works really well. It’s super nice that once you put them through the gate they go to the crowd gate and turn around. It’s a natural movement right into the alley. It’s so safe. We just had to move some of them from one location to another, and we trailered them. In the past some of the things we were doing it was like “Okay, that seems a little dangerous”, and with that at no point did you feel like there was any risk to either us or our cattle. It’s also nice that as you push it around it locks in every step of the way, so that they can’t push back against you at all. It works really well.
Molly Brown
Lone Oak Cattle and Colts, Webster, WI


1. Side Access Doors & Panels
2. Needle Door
3. Vet Door


4. Head Gate
5. Q-Catch Head Holder
6. Squeeze
7. Rump Fingers