Cattle Handling Chutes for Texas Longhorns

By February 6, 2023 Tips & Tricks

It is no surprise that horned cattle require special handling considerations. Many cattlemen have metal working chutes and headgates, some even with hydraulics, to restrain cattle while they get their necessary vaccinations and other herd health procedures. However, a typical head gate can only be used on polled or smaller horned cows and bulls. Without a proper setup, there is a risk of injuring the cattle handlers or the Texas Longhorns as they are worked.

Here at Star Creek Ranch, the animal and operator’s safety is our first priority. In my very early years of raising Texas Longhorns there were no chutes designed specifically for handling horned cattle and chutes designed for polled cattle were modified in various ways to accommodate horned cattle. As horn length on cattle continued to increase, and the cattle became more popular and more expensive, having a cattle handling chute specifically for Texas Longhorns came into demand. Throughout the years, I have come across many different Texas Longhorn cattle chutes. Here, I’ve shared the Texas Longhorn chutes used most frequently in our industry. Learn more about them below:

Kinetic Motion of Stars being measured in the Dube Chute for the TLBAA Horn Showcase.

The Dube Chute

The Dube Chute came about after Bob Dube had begun modifying chutes and taking out the verticals so his Longhorns could get through. He started welding and building pens, and one day, a customer wanted two gates hung opposite at the end of his alley. Bob thought it would make a good cattle chute. He built one that he could work his own cattle through, and the word quickly spread.

The Dube Chute will squeeze a baby calf or a mature bull without needing adjustment. It has palpation gates on both ends so a cow or bull can enter from either direction. It has let-downs for branding, castration, or milking, and it works well for vaccinations, worming, ear tagging, horn measuring, and nearly anything to do with horned cattle! It even makes loading and unloading cattle easier.

I think I bought the first or second chute Bob Dube ever sold and I have used four since then at various places on my ranch. I have worked cattle through a Dube chute thousands of times and other than getting a finger bruised when measuring horns (you learn to not put your finger between the horn and the pipe) I have never experienced a serious injury to cattle workers or cattle.

Panels and accessories are also available to customize your pen and chute to your setup needs. The products are all portable, so they can be moved to suit your needs. The Dube Chute is 101″ in length x 72″ in width and 8′ tall, and fits on a flatbed trailer for transport. The Econo Chute is 3’x9’x6′ tall and can be hauled in a livestock trailer.

Kinetic Motion of Stars being measured in The Joe Chute at the 2018 Horn Showcase when she was the first cow to officially measure 100” TTT.

The Joe Chute

The Joe Chute is a squeeze chute made by Joe and Stephanie Sedlacek (Lazy J Longhorns). It was used in 2019 by the Texas Longhorn Breeders Association of America to measure more than 300 Longhorns for their Horn Showcase event.

At first, the Sedlaceks did what every Longhorn rancher did when they had to confine an animal – squeezing it behind two gates or panels – but that never quite worked well, so they bought a popular Longhorn chute that didn’t have vertical bars. That, however, did not make things much easier. Cows and bulls were still able to swing their horns dangerously. And one day, a bull picked up their chute and walked with it into the crowd. So that’s when Joe called a welder. Instead of modifying the existing chute, Joe drew a design of what he saw in his head, and the welder built the first prototype. Over the years, many people were interested in what they called “The Joe Chute,” and the Sedlaceks began making more.

The Joe Chute has bars that keep horns from swinging and a floor to prevent a chute from ever being lifted up and carried off by an animal. The gates can be adjusted to fit animals of almost any size – you can squeeze a 2,500-pound beef bull in it or a newborn calf and have it completely restrained. The gates are offset, so one gate swings one way and the other the opposite way. It also has branding bars that drop down for branding access.

The P&C Longhorn Cage

The P&C Longhorn Cage is a squeeze chute made for Longhorn cattle. It has a side entry and exit that makes it easy for horns to slide in, palpation gates on the front and back to allow working at either end, and drop-downs on both sides for branding. A horn-lock system can also be added.

Owner, Paul Warford, started making facilities for Longhorns in 2008. He and his son Jack now manufacture, deliver, and set up seven styles of cattle-handling facilities. The chutes are versatile enough to be used for other cattle as well.

According to Paul, gates on working facilities for Longhorns should always be at least 10 feet wide to accommodate the horns. The P&C Longhorn Cage’s design helps keep some distance between Longhorn and the operator. The chute’s framework is made from 2 3/8″ heavy wall pipe, the gates are made from 2 3/8″ Sch 30 and 14 gauge. P&C can also create a custom-built chute to fit your needs.

Learn More About Texas Longhorn Chutes

Part of the attraction of Texas Longhorns is their eye-catching and unique horns. While large horns are an asset, they certainly offer a different set of obstacles. It is crucial for Longhorn cattlemen to have working facilities that are specifically designed to handle these beautiful horned animals safely. Ranchers with Texas Longhorn cattle must get set up with something that works for them and the cattle. To learn more, contact me, Darlene Aldridge, at Star Creek Ranch today. I love to “Talk Texas Longhorns” and will be glad to help in any way I can.