Beef Tips

A System Approach to Cattle Handling Facility Design


By A.J. Tarpoff, Beef Extension Veterinarian

Cattle handling facilities are an excellent investment for the future of an operation. A well designed handling facility allows the operator to work more efficiently saving time and reducing animal (and handler) stress. Design planning must incorporate an operation’s needs, available space, and budget to create a functional system.

Many designs available from purchased books or the internet focus on a single portion of the facility system. An example of this would be either a tub design or a Bud box design.

A new publication from K-State Research and Extension incorporates all facets of a system: Designing a Bud Box for Cattle Handling (MF3349; The Bud Box design was utilized due to its simplicity, and small area requirements. This publication illustrates several applications of a Bud Box handling facility. The document provides suggested dimensions of components such as chutes, fences and holding pens that are useful in a variety of facilities regardless of design. Also included in the publication are designs for:

  • alleyways,
  • holding and sorting pens,
  • load outs,
  • fence passes,
  • calving pen.

If you are considering building a new facility or replacing an existing one, this is an excellent resource to assist in the process.


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