There have been a lot of articles written about the “Bud Box” for loading a processing chute or trucks in the last few years. Though Bud often stated he “would like to live long enough to see every crowd tub replaced with a Bud Box, or at least with some other system that is more animal friendly,” we view these articles with mixed emotions since unless you understand the right way to work it, it doesn’t work as well as it should. I used to try to discourage people from building a Bud Box unless they had been to one of our schools or had seen the DVDs we have for sale, but there has been such wide-spread coverage (including some information that is not correct), I decided to post some information here on our website.
When designing a Bud Box, keep in mind you want to take the cattle past the opening to the single file chute (another way to say this is that you want the opening to the single file chute as close as possible to the gate the cattle came in. This principal should be kept in mind when you are designing your corrals, since it is much easier to put the animals through a gate into a smaller pen if it is close to the gate they have just entered). When they come to the dead-end, they will want go back. You will position yourself very near the chute entrance in such a way that, when they go around you, they will be going into the single file chute. You can either be in the pen with them or outside the pen. It works equally well either way.
For loading trucks, the box should be 14′ wide and 28-30′ long. These dimensions work well either on foot or horseback and are necessary to hold the number of cattle that will go onto the larger truck compartments. For going to a squeeze chute, it doesn’t have to be this large (14′ x 20′ is a good size) but it can be. If you are only going to be working on foot, you can make the Bud Box going to the squeeze 12′ wide. This is the minimum. This pen should be a RECTANGLE. DO NOT set the gate on a slant to make a “V.” The entrance to the single-file chute should not be “V”ed. You want a square opening so the cattle enter in single file. A “V” entrance encourages two animals to try to enter at the same time. When they get stuck, they both want to back out. Your position near the mouth of the chute makes you the “Adjustable V.”
The Bud Box should be fairly open so the animals will go into it easily. Coming from a 12′ wide alley into a 14′ wide pen also causes them to enter willingly. You can make the gate where they come in solid if you want. If the box is made with lumber, a 5-6″ gap between the boards works just fine. If you are using pipe, you should line it with something like a cattle panel since pipe is a little too open. Remember, the thing that makes this work is when they come to the dead end they naturally want to go back. You have to pause for a few SECONDS and give them a chance to decide to turn around and then pressure them lightly against the dead end. You should be standing very close to the entrance to the single file chute. Since they don’t want to turn their back to you, it will pull them right around into the chute. If you don’t want to be in the box with the cattle, it works just as well from the same position outside the pen. We always build a small “man gate” there to make it easier to do this. Just remember to always be on the inside of the circle the cattle make to go into the opening. Don’t allow anyone on the outside of the circle. These people will distract the cattle. They need to be focusing on you.
Don’t bring any more animals into the Bud Box than will fit into the lead-up chute. If loading trucks, only bring the number you need to load the compartment. It’s best if you bring them at a trot down the alley into the box. This energy coming into the pen helps them to want to go back. If the cattle have been just standing on the other side of the gate to the Bud Box, they have very little movement in them to help you put them up the chute. If you accidentally bring more than will fit into the lead-up chute going to the squeeze, open the gate and let the excess cattle go back to the bunch. It will save you time in the long run.
The most common error people make when using the Bud Box is, instead of pressuring the animals against the back end of the box and letting the cattle decide they want to go back, the person will go around the cattle and try to drive them into the opening. This totally defeats the principals of the Bud Box.
We think the Bud Box is far and away the best facility to load cattle from, but it is important that it be worked correctly.