Cattle handling devices such as cattle crushes can improve the safety of the cattle and their handlers.
What is a cattle crush?
A cattle crush is a strongly built stall or cage that holds big, heavy and strong animals like cattle so that workers (including veterinarians) can work with them. Despite its name, it does not crush the cattle. It is close fitting and simply keeps the animals from moving, which keeps both the cattle and workers safe.
A cattle crush may be used to:
- weigh cattle
- inseminate or pregnancy test
- stripping out and mouthing
- test cattle for diseases
- give vaccinations
- check if cows are in calf
- suckle new-born calves
- spray for ticks or flies
- tag ears.
Cattle crushes are typically built from standard heavy steel pipe or tubing that is welded together and they may be fully fixed or mobile. The front end has a head bail or neck yoke and may include a chin or neck bar to hold the animal’s head still. Other features include veterinary sections, baulk gates, a squeeze mechanism, or split side gates.
How do I choose the right cattle crush?
There are many things to consider when buying a cattle crush. The operations you need it to perform will help you to determine the features you need. Ensuring the cattle crush is made to good manufacturing standards using quality materials is also important. Ask yourself:
- What jobs is the cattle crush designed to perform?
- Is the size suitable for the cattle being handled? For example, large aggressive bulls that are not regularly mustered will require a stronger and more sophisticated crush, such as one with hydraulic parallel squeeze sides, hydraulic head bail, and anti-backing facilities. Head holders or chin bars make any work on the animal's head safer and easier.
- Does it provide access to the head, side, and rear of the animal?
- Is it easy to maintain?
- Is it manufactured to high quality standards and designed to last?
- Does it offer value for money?
Functionality, ease of use, and the safety of the operators are also important considerations. You should also consider:
- Is the baulk gate easy to secure?
- Is there adequate head clearance for animals and workers?
- Is there a split vet gate?
- Are the gates quick releasing in the event of an emergency?
- Is the unit secure to the ground?
- Are there any protruding objects that could harm animals or workers?
- Is there a kick-shut latch on the kick gate?
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