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Calving Barn

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3 M L & C

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I am looking to build a new calving barn. I run a heifer develope program. I sell them as pairs, I calve early and in a bad winter run quite a few through a shed with stalls and cameras. I am expanding a bunch and wander what kind of percent of barn stalls I should have compaired to the size of herd. Any opinions?
 

Soapweed

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Back in the early 1980's, we would turn out bulls on June 1st so that calving started March 10th the following year. One of those years, the last week of March was terrible cold snowy weather. Our cows were calving hard, and in one 24 hour period we had ten percent of our calves. We had a fairly big old barn, but had no individual stalls. All we could do was put calves inside and let them out twice per day to suck. I always applied muley maker paste and castrated when the calf got its ear tag. The weather was too lousy to do that, so the calves weren't yet tagged. It was a mess trying to get those hungry calves matched up with the right mother.

We calve earlier now, with the heifers starting about February 20th, and the cows' due date is March 1st. One "advantage" :? :???: of doing this is that the cows don't breed up as fast, and consequently don't calve as fast the next year. Anymore it's seems like our biggest runs are usually just under five percent in any one 24 hour period.

Since you are running a heifer development program, keep in mind that heifers probably breed up and calve faster than their older contemporaries. To be on the safe side, my suggestion would be to have barn capacity of at least five percent, on up to ten percent. Cameras being quite expensive, I would recommend forgetting the cameras and spending that money on more stalls. Hire enough help that someone is with the heifers 24-7.

Free advice is worth exactly what you paid for it. :)
 

3 M L & C

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What size of stall is needed for heifers. Most of mine are 10 by 12 and seem bigger than needed. 10 by 10 would give me more room but dont want to crowd them.
 

Soapweed

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We have barn space for 64 individual stalls, all 8' x 10'. This seems to work even for older bigger cows. Sometimes it almost seems like they do less rammin' and jammin' in the smaller stalls, because they don't have enough room to build up their momentum. We try to stall the cows before they calve, to save dragging the calf in out of the cold.
 

ranch77rocket

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I'll second the motion and say at bare mimimum five percent and with first calf heifers ten percent would be even better. Ten by ten would be a nice size pen. We have a lot of eight by twelve pens in our portable sheds and you don't want a pen size smaller than that. With too small of a pen size and you'll get calves stepped on.
 

3 M L & C

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Thanks for the advice. I sync and ai these heifers. So the pens are used quite a bit just to keep confusion to a minimum when so many calve together. Don't like trying to get a heifer to claim her own and not someone else
 

3 M L & C

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#1 Who said thats all the barn is being used for?
#2 I'm paying for it not you.
#3 Not as many as you might think at $2400 a pair.
 

Faster horses

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I don't know what you intend to use to make your pens, but
portable panels work soooooo well. You can take them out when
you are done. Makes for easier cleaning and you can then use
the barn for something else. Just a thought.
 

littlejoe

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Faster horses said:
I don't know what you intend to use to make your pens, but
portable panels work soooooo well. You can take them out when
you are done. Makes for easier cleaning and you can then use
the barn for something else. Just a thought.

Yrs ago i was out to an old boys place, think he was into exotics. He was up in real snow country, said sometimes his footpath to his old calving shed would be 3' deep, shed was at least 100 yds away. Said he was gonna make things easier, if he stayed in business.

He had an attached garage built onto his house. Onto that, he built an 'operating room'---well lit, heated, cement floor that sloped to a drain. And onto that--and lower--he built his new calving shed. Wall between was mostly glass. Shed was 30'+ wide, maybe 80' long. Jugs on both sides, with alley down the middle. All the sides of the jugs were gates, hung on the wall. He could make it into 3 long alleys in about 5 minutes and come in with a backblade or skid steer and muck the whole deal out in nothing flat. Could increase his jug #'s by partitionng off center alley. Said he could stroll out from his living room during commercials, in his slippers, check, and be back when his show started.
 

ANGUS327

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3 M L & C said:
#1 Who said thats all the barn is being used for?
#2 I'm paying for it not you.
#3 Not as many as you might think at $2400 a pair.

I was just asking a question. You don't have to be a **** about it.
 

jodywy

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the newer barn has 10x10 stalls that we makerach into 4 jugs during lambing. I use a old barn more then the new one in has smaller pens, have had cows pusg a calf out agaist a wall and kink its neck and not get up fast enough to lick and get the calf moved. the old barn has a inclosed lean too along the back that I'll put new pairs in during a bad storm or very cold night. Nice thing about the old barn is I can lift a few round bales into the loft and then throw hay down into the pens needed.
 

JF Ranch

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There are so many good ideas. Everyone has their own preferences and each has merit.

Our calving sheds have 10'x10' stalls and I think that is a good size. Not too big, yet big enough to give the cow room to move around without endangering the newborn calf. However, Soapweed gets along good with 8'x10' pens, so if you want to maximize the area of your barn, I'd go with that.

In our case, we have pens down each side of the barn and a long alley in the middle with gates that let us divide the alley in four large sections. I like to leave the cows in the alley sections to calve, then move the pair into an individual pen. This tends to keep the pens cleaner and the larger area gives the cow room to pace around. If necessary, you can put two or more cows in each alley section, again moving a new born into a pen after birth.

We made short calf hooks out of 3/8" rod to pull a newborn with. they are about 3' long and shaped like a typical "shepard's" hook with a D-handle on the other end. We keep several in each shed so you never have to go very far to find one. We have a firm rule though, to always put it back in the same place because they can get misplaced easily otherwise. If you hook the calf above the hock, it's easier than down by the hoof.

One shed is used only for penning pairs. The other one not only has individual pens but also has our pulling pen, heated vet/storage/wash room (with hot water) and tack room, etc. We normally take heifers to this barn to calve in case she needs help. If a cow needs assistance from the other barn, it is simple to move her through an alley that connects the two sheds. We keep a folding cot in the vet room that lets a guy stay out with the cows all night if bad storms make it necessary.
 

3words

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This is a very interesting topic and giving a guy some more idea's.I would also like to put up a new calving barn this year if not,next year for sure.Any pictures of the inside of your calving barns would be greatly appreciated.I got a good barn now,but my Dad is getting up in age and one of these days he might just say thats enough.Then i will be a one person operation,so i need to prepare for that day.
 

3 M L & C

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I agree with the previous post. I am a one man operation and finding help that is even half decent is about imposible around here. Any ideas are greatly apretiated. I do have to say that the camera system i have is really nice. They are not to pricy and you can get one camera to see multiple stalls. Plus some in the lot outside. Makes it nice to check in your underware on the tv if all the cattle are not doing anything.
 

3words

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3 M L & C said:
I agree with the previous post. I am a one man operation and finding help that is even half decent is about imposible around here. Any ideas are greatly apretiated. I do have to say that the camera system i have is really nice. They are not to pricy and you can get one camera to see multiple stalls. Plus some in the lot outside. Makes it nice to check in your underware on the tv if all the cattle are not doing anything.

I defiantly agree with you about the camera's!! I know with the camera's i get more sleep,and i'm not so stressed out from being so tired all the time.Best hired man i ever invested in,and i don't have to worry about if he will show up for work or not!!
 

leanin' H

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3words said:
3 M L & C said:
I agree with the previous post. I am a one man operation and finding help that is even half decent is about imposible around here. Any ideas are greatly apretiated. I do have to say that the camera system i have is really nice. They are not to pricy and you can get one camera to see multiple stalls. Plus some in the lot outside. Makes it nice to check in your underware on the tv if all the cattle are not doing anything.

I defiantly agree with you about the camera's!! I know with the camera's i get more sleep,and i'm not so stressed out from being so tired all the time.Best hired man i ever invested in,and i don't have to worry about if he will show up for work or not!!

Geez! With attitudes like that ya might as well be bankers or store clerks! :roll: :D 90% of the reason we all went into ranching was we were running low on misery and anguish. Nothing replentishes both like running out in 20 below zero weather with a almost dead flashlight wearing a quarter of the clothes you should have but will only be a minute because nothing will be calving. Only to find 3 heifers in labor, one with it's head stuck under a panel, one on the fight and locked at the shoulders and the last one won't claim her baby! So you are alternating between lifting panels, running laps around a pen trying to pull a calf and escape it's crazed mother and trying to get a chilled big dummy to nurse a cow who kicks a lot! :eek: :lol: The flashlight died 3 steps from the door to the barn and your muck boots and long johns are now the color of spinach. Any fool can have a camera but only a slightly demented, sleep deprived, caffine fueled phsyco can calve heifers the way i do!!! :lol: :lol: :lol: Please don't Mrs. H i called her a phsyco!
 

LazyWP

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leanin' H said:
3words said:
3 M L & C said:
I agree with the previous post. I am a one man operation and finding help that is even half decent is about imposible around here. Any ideas are greatly apretiated. I do have to say that the camera system i have is really nice. They are not to pricy and you can get one camera to see multiple stalls. Plus some in the lot outside. Makes it nice to check in your underware on the tv if all the cattle are not doing anything.

I defiantly agree with you about the camera's!! I know with the camera's i get more sleep,and i'm not so stressed out from being so tired all the time.Best hired man i ever invested in,and i don't have to worry about if he will show up for work or not!!

Geez! With attitudes like that ya might as well be bankers or store clerks! :roll: :D 90% of the reason we all went into ranching was we were running low on misery and anguish. Nothing replentishes both like running out in 20 below zero weather with a almost dead flashlight wearing a quarter of the clothes you should have but will only be a minute because nothing will be calving. Only to find 3 heifers in labor, one with it's head stuck under a panel, one on the fight and locked at the shoulders and the last one won't claim her baby! So you are alternating between lifting panels, running laps around a pen trying to pull a calf and escape it's crazed mother and trying to get a chilled big dummy to nurse a cow who kicks a lot! :eek: :lol: The flashlight died 3 steps from the door to the barn and your muck boots and long johns are now the color of spinach. Any fool can have a camera but only a slightly demented, sleep deprived, caffine fueled phsyco can calve heifers the way i do!!! :lol: :lol: :lol: Please don't Mrs. H i called her a phsyco!

Oh H.... you just made coffee come out my nose. You better be saving all your stories to put in a book form.
 

Big Swede

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I used to dream and plan calving barns and tree groves. Calf shelters were also on my wish list. Then I figured out if you let your cows calve when the weather is warm I didn't need to build or plan anything. It took me quite a while but I figured it out.
 

randiliana

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In my mind, and for our herd, 10% is the number I'd shoot for if building from scratch. We have 6 10x10 or bigger stalls, which I find plenty big enough. A couple are big enough that if we were really stretched we could double up. We made our own maternity pen, cost us about $1500 less than buying new. Added a camera this year, very much worth the cost. We've probably saved 3 calves with it, but the real reason I like it is cause you don't have to interrupt a calving cow to check on her, or wonder if that calf has been up and sucked, you can see it.
 
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