I originally used it because I didn't think I could afford to spend the money on a squeeze chute, and I figured that if it worked for Grandpa then it should still work for me. But I've hated that headgate from the first time I've used it and always dread working cattle with it. Over the years, I've had a cow smash my hand when she jumped around after I caught her head, I had a heifer run straight through it twice in a row (she ran full blast and knocked the gate past the catch so that it was open, then the second time around she did the same exact thing even though I had the headgate barely open, after all that I couldn't get her anywhere close to the chute for a third try), I jabbed myself in the thumb with the needle trying to vaccinate an uncooperative steer (there's not enough room behind the headgate), and the last straw was last summer when a cow ran into the headgate and got herself hip-locked.
For those that don't know what I'm talking about when I say "hip-locked", she squeezed through the opening in the headgate and instead of her shoulders pushing the headgate forward to catch her head, they slipped through the opening, spread the gate out instead of forward, and her hips got wedged into the opening. She couldn't go forward and she couldn't go backwards, because her hips were locked in the headgate. The cow was calmer than I was about the whole situation, but I had to cut the headgate apart with a hacksaw to get her out and she ended up with just some hide scraped off of her hip bones. The whole time I was trying to saw that headgate apart so I could get that cow out, I was thinking about how stupid I was for trying to save a little money by using this piece-of-junk headgate.
|Goodbye and Good Riddance, You Old Piece of Junk|
|Shiny, New Squeeze Chute That Actually Works|
I'm not sure if most people would call it a New Year's Resolution, but my Procrastinator's New Year's Resolution (four days late) is to spend a little money this year to make my life just a little bit easier and hopefully a little bit more profitable.
As soon as it warms up a little, I'm going to get out the torch and do a little cutting, then a little welding so I can install the new squeeze chute, then I'm going to run a few cows though it just for the heck of it, and if anyone asks real nice, I might let them try it out for themselves.