The most important equipment considerations if you are going to own cattle are pens (corral), a chute, and a trailer.
It is a lot of fun looking out into a pasture and seeing your cattle grazing, but the day will come when you need to catch, transport, or restrain that peaceful looking cow. Here are my suggestions of “must-have” equipment if you are going to own cattle.
There are numerous styles of pens and materials that can be used to make them. The key features to having a good working pen are:
Whether you need to vaccinate, treat a wound, or artificially inseminate, a chute, preferably with a head catch is a must, both for the safety of the animal and yourself. There are several companies that manufacture chutes and prices can vary widely between these brands. Simple homemade chutes can be made with panels or lumber, and 4 solid 6” diameter posts. Head catches can be made from scratch also, but I would suggest purchasing one, either from your feed store new, or a good used one on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace (these are two of my go-to sites for used equipment).
I have come across so many customers of mine that do not own a trailer. It may seem like you are saving money by not purchasing one, but it can get expensive in a hurry to not own one. As there becomes fewer and fewer large animal veterinarians, and even less that will do farm calls, having a trailer at your disposal can save you costly farm calls, or even worse, a dead animal because you were not able to get it to help. Relying on a friend or neighbor that has a trailer limits you to when it is convenient for them to let you use it. Hiring people is another option, but again, you are limited to their schedule and they can be very costly.
For just 1 or 2 head of cattle, a simple bumper hitch trailer that is 12-14’ long will suffice and can be pulled with a medium size pickup or SUV.