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“Corral Catwalk” Makes Working Livestock Safer
Anyone who has driven livestock through a corral system knows that trying to work on the ground while the animals are in the alleys and chutes can be challenging. That’s why Randy Miller, bison and cattle rancher near Bruner, Mo., decided to build an overhead catwalk around his corral.
  “Catwalks can make working livestock safer and more efficient for any setup. Along with reduced livestock stress, we gain efficiency and operator safety by removing people from being in the alley or chute areas with the animals. A catwalk offers a safe and healthy working environment for both people and livestock,” says Miller.
  Miller designed the catwalk to take advantage of bison and cattle “flight zones”. When the handler stands above the animals in the alley, it triggers a flight response and causes the animals to move away from the perceived threat – the handler – bringing them farther along in the alleys and eventually to a squeeze chute.
  The catwalk wraps around an entire side of the corral, and also leads up and over the corral’s 2 loading chutes – one for livestock trailers and one for semis. All alley gates can be controlled from the catwalk and since the alleys in Miller’s corral are 16 ft. wide, having a way to quickly and easily open and close gates is necessary. Using ropes, pulleys and sliding doors, all the gates can be maneuvered from the catwalk.
  The wide alleyway is in place for another reason as well. “I believe that animals are like people and become agitated when having to stand in a line,” says Miller. “The wide alleys allow the bison or cattle to move forward together in small groups until they reach the chute.”
  The catwalk is about waist high off the ground and is fitted with stepladders and handrails along the entire length of the catwalk for operator safety. The walkway is made from welded bar grating, and the handrails are made from angle iron welded to channel iron posts. Bracing is welded to 4 1/2-ft. upright metal posts to further stabilize the catwalk. The sides of the corral are solid sheet metal, so livestock can’t see the lower half of the handler on the catwalk. The entire catwalk system is painted green.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Randy Miller, HC 66, Box 204, Bruner, Mo. 65620 (ph 417 683-7058; www.millerbisonatelkheadranch.com).

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2014 - Volume #38, Issue #6