The “Bud” box

December 3, 2009 06:00 PM

To move cattle, particularly individuals, into a holding shoot for milking first colostrum, treatment or hoof trimming, consider the use of a "Bud” box.

Named after Bud Williams, a beef cattle handling expert from Bowie, Texas, the Bud box is simply an additional pen that is positioned at a right angle just beyond the holding chute (see diagram).

The animal is walked into the Bud box, with the handler staying on the animal's flank. After the animal enters, a gate is closed to the box, leaving the holding chute as the only outlet.

The natural tendency for cattle is to exit an area at the same point at which they enter. So when the animal reaches the end of box, she'll naturally turn around and try to exit back down the lane she came from. But with the gate closed, she'll "escape” the box by entering the holding chute.

The advantage of using this concept, rather than a narrow alley leading right into the chute, is that the cow doesn't have to be pushed from behind. Pushing from behind creates stress, because this is the cow's blind spot--and anything she cannot see causes fear.

By calmly walking cattle up to the Bud box using a pressure-and-release technique, the animals remain calm and walk into the chute on their own.
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