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Portable Calf Gazebo Makes Feeding Easy
Calf huts are easy to move to clean ground for healthier calves. However, feeding those calves in bad weather is anything but easy. Now N-Tech/NTH, Inc. has a new option that is good for calf and worker alike. They call it a calf gazebo.
"It's a round calf barn that sets up quickly and can be moved even quicker," says Clint Nesseth.
The 24-ft. dia. structure has 11 pens, and the 30-ft. structure has 19 pens. Each pen is shaped like a piece of pie - 5 1/2 ft. wide at the wide end, 7 ft. long and 2 1/2 ft. wide at the center. Space in the center is left for a feeding and working area and one pie space is left empty as an alley for the worker to reach the center work area.
Nesseth got the idea after ordering a 60-ft. dia. enclosed pen for working horses. However, after spending 2 1/2 weeks with a crew to erect the circular pen, he was determined to make his calf barns simple to erect. He succeeded. The key is a center core that serves as both structural hub and ventilation chimney.
"You lay out the central core on the ground and attach steel rafters and braces to the core and in turn hinge legs to the rafters," explains Nesseth. "The entire frame is assembled on the ground."
A translucent fabric roof is attached over the top along with an adjustable cover to the chimney/core. At that point the approximately one-ton structure can be lifted into place by a boom on a tractor loader.
As the center core is lifted up, the legs swing into place. Bolts lock each leg joint. Pegs are driven in the ground, one to either side of each leg, to lock it in place. Removable panels attach to the legs on the outside and on the inside to form the pens. Side panels that can be raised or lowered as needed are added. Customers can choose from hard plastic panels or heavy plastic mesh.
"To move the structure to fresh ground, just pull out the pegs, hook on the boom, lift it up and go," says Nesseth. "The pens stay in place."
Nesseth took prototypes to several farm shows before starting production on a final design. He knew he was on to something when he began getting positive feedback from farm wives who usually do the feeding.
"One guy looked at it and said, ŠI sure hope my wife doesn't see this', while others said, ŠI have to get one of these for my wife,'" recalls Nesseth. "We got lots of good suggestions that we worked into the final design."
Nesseth says the smaller 11-calf unit is priced at about $6,000, while the larger unit is priced at about $8,000.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, N-Tech/NTH Inc., P.O. 136, Barron, Wis. 54812 (ph 715 537-9207 or toll free 800 537-9207; fax 715-537-3861; www.ultrabarns.com).

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2008 - Volume #32, Issue #2