Portable cattle handling systems are gaining popularity for many reasons, especially because they offer flexibility.
There are various advantages and disadvantages when comparing portable cattle handling systems to stationary or traditional ones. However, just like anything in ranching, it all depends on the unique needs of your operation. For operations with cattle in multiple locations, it is not practical or economical to have separate cattle handling systems — unless, of course, you can comfortably afford to do so.
Choosing the right portable cattle handling system is straightforward. There are a few features that every portable handling system should have, and you should consider the pros and cons of each system before choosing one.
- Ease of setting up and taking down
- Quietness when working
- Compactness during transport
- Structural integrity to handle uneven terrain and off-road towing
- Access and safety features of each component
There are several types of portable cattle handling systems. Here are the most common configurations you might find in the industry.
- Portable corrals — A portable system in the most basic form, corrals are ideal for sorting.
- Chute, alley, and tub — This is a full working system. You can combine your portable chute, alley and tub with panels or corrals at the location where you are working cattle. As an added benefit you can rent out this full handling system to your neighbors.
- Chute and alley — A portable cattle chute and alley unit is great for veterinarians, and those who need a portable chute but appreciate the extra alley section for access and flow. For vets in particular, having your own chute and alley greatly reduces the risk involved and keeps you away from unsafe equipment.
- Alley and tub — Some operations have multiple chutes but would just haul the alley and tub with them to different sites. Out in the pasture, this system is great for doing minimal such as pour on insecticides.
- Portable chute — Cattle squeeze chutes normally come with add-ons to make them portable such as wheel kits and chute trailers. This way, stockmen and women can haul the chute to different ranches with existing corral, tub, and alley systems.
Deciding on which portable unit is right for you? Read our previous article here.
It is not hard to see how the benefits of portables make them an attractive option. They are easy to rent, easy to share, easy to transport, and have a high resale value if you invest in quality equipment and proper maintenance. Their compact nature allows you to store them indoors when not in use to increase the longevity of the system.
If there is one thing that ranchers should always remember about using portables, it’s this: READ THE PRODUCT MANUAL. Portable units are big pieces of equipment, and a small misstep can mean injury or even lost life. When you’re working cattle at a remote location, make sure you always have your phone with you and an emergency kit.
Watch how animal science can be incorporated with portable systems to improve cattle flow:
Arrowquip’s portable working systems come in an array of configurations, similar to the ones stated above. Their full-time engineering team is always working on the next portable innovation to further improve your cattle handling experience wherever you and your cattle are. With product designs based on animal science, Arrowquip incorporates ways to improve cattle flow within the features of each component. Some of which include quiet points to keep cattle stress levels minimal and low or barred sheeting to draw cattle in.
Watch Arrowquip’s latest portable innovation here: The world’s most compact portable cattle chute, alley, and tub:
The goals of your operation, and how you work cattle will dictate your system choice. A portable system will be able to help you adapt and grow your operation, if it’s the best solution for you. At the end of the day, cattle handling systems that are efficient and effective give you more time to do the things that truly matter.
This article was published on behalf of Arrowquip.