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How to Make a Headgate for Cattle

| Updated September 26, 2017

Things You'll Need

  • Posts, 8-inch by 8-inch

  • Measuring tape

  • Saw

  • Post hole diggers

  • Tamping rod

  • 5 Boards, 4-inch by 4-inch

  • Nails

  • Hammer

  • Crowbar

  • Bolts, 14-inch

  • Nuts

  • Hinge, 8-inch

  • Strap iron

A cattle head gate is often used to hold cattle in place while the cattle is being treated for medical reasons or for feeding purposes. While many locations sell head gates, they can easily be made with a few supplies. The key to a correctly functioning gate depends on the craftsmanship. The gate needs to easily open for the maneuvering of cattle to be easy. Cattle head gates should also be constructed cautiously so farmer and cattle safety is taken into account.

Place two 8-inch by 8-inch posts so that they are 22 inches apart on the ground. Use a measuring tape and a saw if needed to cut the posts. Select the area where you want the holes to set. Use post hole diggers to make a 3-foot deep hole. Use a tamping rod to make sure the bottom of the hole is flat and place the posts in the holes.

Nail a 4-inch by 4-inch timber on the front across the posts at ground level. Nail another post 24 inches above the ground. Place the last timber across at the top of the post. Use a drill to secure the three boards to the 8-inch by 8-inch posts. Place a 14-inch bolt in the holes and use a nut to tighten the bolt. Remove the nails with a hammer or crowbar if desired.

Nail a 4-inch by 4-inch board from the top of the right side post diagonal to one-foot above the post on the bottom 4-inch by 4-inch board attached in Step 2. Nail a 9-foot-long 4-inch by 4-inch board to the bottom cross board one foot from the left side post. The right side will act as the fixed side of the gate while the left side is movable.

Use an 8-inch hinge to hold the 4-inch by 4-inch timber to the top of the post on the right side. Make sure at least 2-feet of the board is above the post. This is the grip handle you can use to hold onto. Connect the movable side of the head gate to the top of the handle with a piece of strap iron. Drill the strap iron and the 4-inch by 4-inch boards to each other. Place a bolt through the drill holes and secure with a nut.


  • When the head is closed, it will rest against the right-hand post. The movable board rests against the cattle’s neck.