2015 - Volume #39, Issue #3, Page #18[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Old Stackhands Make Nifty Calf SheltersRandall Holden found a new use for rusted out, Hesston Stackhands compression tops as calf shelters. Not only do the big toppers keep his calves dry, they don’t move in 50 mph winds.
“I have other shelters made from wood frames and tin, and I have to chain them to posts,” says Holden. “Even then, one was picked up and tossed into trees and destroyed. The Stackhand shelter is so heavy that it just sits in place.”
Holden picked up the 2 Stackhand tops from a salvage yard to make a 25-calf shelter. He paid another $200 for clear plexiglas that he mounted in place of louvers on top of each unit.
“The clear plexiglas cost more, but it lets more light in, which is nice for the calves and for checking on them,” says Holden.
He also likes the height of the 8-ft. wide, 14-ft. long units. They let the 6-ft., 4-in. Holden walk upright down the center as opposed to crawling inside most commercial shelters.
“The height gives the calves more fresh air, and it’s easy to spread fresh bedding,” says Holden, who notes that the size ensures the shelter doesn’t get lost in snowdrifts either.
To make the single shelter, Holden simply pushed the 2 units together. He was able to use existing bolt-holes to connect them, inverting them to match up.
“I left the door in place on one end and left the other door open for the calves with the top hanging down,” says Holden. “I drilled several holes on each side of the doorway for a length of old well pipe. It keeps the cows out, but as the calves grow, I can move the pipe up.”
He used his loader to lift each side to set it on and connect it to 2 7/8-in. oil field pipes. He bent pipes protruding from one end ski-fashion for easy pulling. When he needs to move the shelter, he simply hooks on a tractor.
“It’s too heavy to lift with my loader,” says Holden. “At the end of the calving season, I just pull it away and clean up where it stood.”
He used a Sawzall to remove the louvers and replace them with the plexiglas. Self-tapping screws hold it in place. He used similar screws to attach a length of old baler belting over the gaps left where the two units join.
Holden would like to build more calf shelters, but Stackhands are hard to come by. He still uses one that he and his father bought more than 30 years ago.
“There are a few in the neighborhood not being used, but nobody wants to sell them,” says Holden. “They all say they plan to use them again someday.”
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Randall Holden, 103 11th St. S.W., Hettinger, N. Dak. 58639 (ph 701 853-2466).
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