2014 - Volume #38, Issue #6, Page #11[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Semitrailer Makes Great Calf House
“The 48-ft. trailer gave me 12 4 by 8-ft. stalls,” says Frandrup. “Rubber belting hung between the stalls keeps the calves from licking or touching each other. When I move a batch of calves out, I just remove the belting, open the end door and clean it with a skid steer.”
Calf doors 2 ft. wide by 6 ft. high start 6 in. up on one side of the trailer. The 6-in. lip helps keep the bedding inside. Frandrup also cut 2 by 2-ft. holes on the opposite side for each stall. Fresh bedding is tossed in through those holes, keeping straw mess away from the everyday work area. They can also be left open for added ventilation.
Headgates on each doorway hold a feeding station, but easily swing out of the way for moving calves in and out.
Frandrup drilled drain holes in the trailer’s wood floor to help keep bedding dry. A 6-ft. lean-to over the working area keeps rain off calves and workers. Concrete slabs in front of the doors are easy to wash down.
“The calf doors face southeast so the fiberglass roof helps keep the calves cool in the summer, but lets the sun in during the winter,” says Frandrup. “I have a fan that blows air through in the summer, and it is never hotter inside the trailer than outside.”
To make calf feeding and sanitation even easier, Frandrup built a 10 by 12-ft. workroom at the end of the trailer. The heated enclosure has running water and a work sink with an on-demand hot water heater. Markings on the inside of the sink make mixing up milk replacer fast and easy. Feeding goes so smooth that Frandrup named the trailer after one of his daughters, painting Jenna’s Diner on the side above the calves’ heads.
“We run water, add powder and mix,” says Frandrup. “I use a 110-volt pump to suck the milk replacer out of the sink through a hose to each of the calf pails. We can feed 12 calves in about 15 min.”
Newborn Holstein calves are brought to the trailer and stay for about 6 weeks. Frandrup then feeds them to market weight. His daughters handle much of the calf feeding, which he says they like.
“They get up at 5:30 a.m. to feed the calves before going to school, and I want to make it easy for them,” he says. “Besides, they are getting close to college age, and soon they’ll be gone.”
But the trailer will still be there, says Frandrup, simplifying calf care. It has worked well enough that he is considering adding another one like it, if he decides to expand his cattle feeding.
“I figure it took about 40 hrs. to build and that I have no more than $1,800 in it,” he says.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Jay Frandrup, 15746 Freeborn Ave., Hastings, Minn. 55033 (ph 651 590-9738).
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