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Animal Chutes

restraining chute

There are times when you'll need to safely restrain your alpacas in a livestock chute to give shots, shear fiber, bandage wounds, trim teeth, clip toenails, etc. If the animal chute used by many veterinarians is too expensive for your budget, then you'll need to build your own animal chute. It's rather easy to build with lumber and some simple hardware. alpaca chute, livestock equipment

What follows are plans he has drawn up by Stan Ebel and Jim Hook of Colorado, and published previously in Llamas Magazine (with commentary by Dr. LaRue Johnson) and elsewhere, for camelid owners to accomplish their own construction.

Before Up Start

Below is a list of materials and hardware that you will need.


3 - 3/4" or 1" marine plywood
2 - 4’ x 8’
1 - 3’ x 8’
2 - 5" x 33"
2 - 5" x 57"
11 - 2" x 4" x 8’ lumber for frame
6 - 8’
10 - 44" 6 - 2" x 4" x 7’
2 - 8’ x 4" fence posts
1 - 1" x 3’ dowling peg


18 - 3-1/2” or 4” lag bolts with 18 washers
1 box 16p nails
2 - 1/2” x 6” eye bolts
2 - 1/2” x 4” bolts with 2 nuts and 6 washers
1 snap swivel
1 panic swivel 16 - 1/4” x 3-1/2” bolts with 32 washers
8 - 1/4” x 5” bolts with 16 washers

Building Instructions

side view of livestock chute

Build the three upright sections separately. Use 1/4" bolts (3-1/2" on all joints but the top of the middle section where 5" bolts are required) to secure the joints. Use washers at head and nut. This construction is adequate for most applications. If using on large numbers of animals, however, stability and longevity will be enhanced by adding metal angles on the upper and outer corners of the frame (Figure 2 and 4). They’re 1/8" plate with 8" sides. Additional 1/4" bolts are used to anchor points of angle pieces (1/4" x 2").

Join Uprights Together

When uprights are complete, join them together with the 8’ cross members. Use 3-1/2” or 4” lag bolts to put these in place. Pre-drill holes of small diameter to prevent splitting. With these in place, put in cross member in back portion of floor as show in Figure 1. nailing this in place with 16p small box nails.

Install the Sides

Put in sides (4’ x 8” plywood sheets). Nail in place with 16p small box or smaller ring shank nails. Next lay in floor and nail in place. Toenail sides to cross member in back floor section described in step 2.

Cut and Shape Vertical Posts


Cut off posts in vertical position, even with the top of the center frame section. Then with the posts in vertical position in the center of chute, mark 1/2” below the bottom of the top cross member of the center frame section. Then cut down with a saw from opposite sides so a center section approximately 1-1/4” in width is left. Use a chisel to cut away the sections sawed down.

Making the Stanchion

front view with open stanchion

For head restraint, two ties are used. A permanent tie is established on one side. An adjustable heavy snap swivel on the other is ideal. Attach panic strap to lag bolt anchor. Use a boat mooring tie down on the other side to tie lead rope to.

Drill a 9/16” or 5/8” hole in the opposite end of the post to a depth of 4-5”. Cut slots in the floor immediately behind the bottom cross member of the middle upright frame section. Make the slots 3/4” wide x 1-1/2 long. Put posts in vertical position and space according to Figure 2 to locate these slots properly. Now tip the chute on its side.

Place post in position in the chute while it is on its side. Be sure to place tab in between the two horizontal cross members at top of frame. Push 1/2” x 6” eyebolt through slot in floor and into hole drilled in bottom of post. Push eyebolt in until center of eye is 1/1/2” from top of the floor cross member. Mark this point and align it with center of floor slot. Drill hole i cross member. (Diameter of hole dictated by size of eye in eyebolt. Bolt must be long enough to allow washers and double nut.

front view with open stanchion

Assemble per diagram. Leave loose enough to allow eyebolt free pivot motion around bolt. Tighten the two nuts against each other. Repeat for other post.


A series of 3-5 holes are drilled in the two cross pieces to accommodate 1” oak doweling pegs. They are spaced to accommodate various options of human and llama body size. Make sure the pegs and holes allow easy insertion and removal.

Head Restraints

back of restraining chute

For head restraint, two ties are used. A permanent tie is established on one side. An adjustable heavy snap swivel o the other is ideal. Attach panic strap to lag bolt anchor. Use a boat mooring tie down on the other side to tie lead rope to.

The animal must be haltered to use the chute. A heavy nylon web halter is preferable. The animal is led in from the back. The posts may be in the open position or pre-set to allow leader’s body to pass to one side, while allowing llama’s head through center. Close them enough so the shoulders will not clear. Attach the quick-release tie snap to the halter ring. Then pull the animal with the lead, so that its shoulders are firmly against the posts and its neck is extended. Then tie the lead to the mooring anchor. The animal should not be able to move its head sideways or up and down. It should not be able to move forward or backward. If it lays down, breathing should not be hampered. Do not allow the animal to lie on its side as under pressure will be placed on the trachea. Adjustment of the post assembly is important, so that it allows the shoulders to rest against the posts, yet they are not so tight as to put undue pressured on the neck. This is where the variable peg holes are necessary. It is also important to tie the assembly firmly to the side to minimize movement. It is best to use two people, especially on untrained animals.

Releasing the Animal from the Livestock Chute

top view of restraining chute

When releasing the animal, first untie the lead, making sure that you allow enough slack to release the permanent tie. Then fully release the lead and open post assembly, so that animal can walk through the front of the chute. Some largeer animals may balk at going forare and prefer to back out of the livestock chute

Weighing Animals

If you put your vet scale on the floor inside the livestock chute, you can easily weigh your animals while you perform whatever herd management tasks are required.

This page was last updated on June 8, 2008


Able Oaks Ranch 6167 FM1857 S. Rusk TX 75785 | 903-530-1009