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We Finally Get a BudBox

By   /  January 6, 2020  /  4 Comments

Animal handling can go a lot more smoothly with the proper facilities. Here’s how On Pasture author John Marble made that happen at his place.

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Spring is a pretty exciting time for me, as it is for all graziers. The grass bursts forth and my da
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About the author

John Marble grew up on a terribly conventional ranch with a large family where each kid had their own tractor. Surviving that, he now owns a small grazing and marketing operation that focuses on producing value through managed grazing. He oversees a diverse ranching operation, renting and owning cattle and grasslands while managing timber, wildlife habitat and human relationships. His multi-species approach includes meat goats, pointing dogs and barn cats. He has a life-long interest in ecology, trying to understand how plants, animals, soils and humans fit together. John spends his late-night hours working on fiction, writing about worlds much less strange than this one.


  1. Webb says:

    I have a portable corral system that I put up adjacent to holding pens in front of loafing sheds. It’s simply a bud box and ally made with priefert panels leading right the chute. I have a lot of trouble getting them in the ally sometimes. As I work them around the bud box to the ally opening they often pause at that point and try to back up or turn back into the bud box. Any advice?

    • John Marble says:

      Hi Webb.

      I’m going to suspect you are truly competent at performing the basic herding maneuvers inside of the BudBox. (not everybody gets this part right). If that’s so, the issue is likely visual stimulation of some kind.

      First, does the BudBox entry gate appear to be solid? I say “appear”, as this is really a visual thing. I like to sheet my gates with black landscaping cloth. This offers no structural strength, but it’s light and cheap and works very well. I use zip-ties to hold it in place.

      While we’re talking about the entry gate, make sure the gate is hinged on the correct end. When you close the gate and enter the BudBox, you should naturally be positioned at the point where the herder needs to be standing. I occasionally see boxes designed exactly the wrong way on this point, and it causes a hick-up in the cattle traffic pattern.

      Next, the alley way itself. Make sure the alley way is straight, rather than curved, and that it maintains a straight path for at least 10 or 15 feet. If the alley way is currently open-slatted, try sheeting the outside of the panels with the same black ground cloth mentioned before. I think this offers less visual stimulation, and makes a “light at the end of the tunnel” sort of cow’s-eye view. Finally, if your alley way is equipped with alley-stops, I’d suggest either removing them or folding them into the open position.

      I think we’ll be showing some of these little tweaks (along with some more tricks) in a future On Pasture article. Thanks for your question.

      • Webb says:

        Thanks for the reply. I currently do not have any solid covering on the panels and have considered trying that. I think it could definitely help because right now I don’t think they really get a strong sense that heading down the ally is the best route to escape the pressure.

  2. Don K. says:


    Liked your pens. I built something similar but go from dual bud boxes to a sweep then into the chute. I have the option of using one bud box or both. The other direction goes to the loading ramp. It works good especially for cows that tend to get agitated.

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