2020 - Volume #44, Issue #2, Page #27[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Calf Shelter Designed To Produce Healthier Calves
“We started designing it in 2015, applied for patents, and started producing them in 2017,” says Raml, Iron Ranch Mfg. “Our shelters are designed to make life easier for the farmer and the calf.”
The unique design, with its sloped sides, came out of discussions Raml had with veterinarians, animal scientists and cattlemen. “They emphasized the need for air flow and ventilation,” says Raml. “The skylight helps keep bedding dry and bacteria in check. The light also encourages the calves to enter. They don’t like dark places.”
The 31-in. high calf door centered on the front of the shelter provides good airflow into the triangular shaped structure. It also maintains a consistent temperature throughout the shelter.
Raml designed the shelter with sloped sides front and back so high winds would flow up and over. “Any shelter with straight walls can be flipped over with high enough winds,” says Raml. “I have a couple hundred of these shelters out with cattlemen and have yet to have one flip over.”
Raml gives his cattleman father credit for the 6 1/2-ft. tall entry door at the end of the shelter. “He told me he was too old and too fat to crawl into a shelter,” says Raml. “I recall all too well crawling through mud and manure to spread straw or check calves in shelters as one of my jobs growing up.”
Raml’s father also suggested a gate that can shut up the shelter when a calf needs to be caught. It rests above the calf door when not in use, pivoting into place when needed.
Raml makes 3 models of the shelter. All are 8 ft. tall at the center and 8 1/2 ft. wide. Lengths include 12, 24 and 32 ft. All are designed to fit on a gooseneck or semi-trailer for transport. He has also made shelters customized to special needs.
He notes that the 12-ft. length is popular for use with smaller livestock. A double pipe frame around the bottom keeps pigs from rooting against the tin siding. It is priced at $1,400.
The 24-ft. long shelter can hold up to 32 calves. It is the most popular and is priced at $2,400. The 32-ft. model is priced at $3,200.
When designing the shelter, Raml included a lifting bar to make it easy to move the shelter to fresh ground in a calving yard.
He also makes windbreaks that set up in minutes and also have lifting bars so they can be handled by a loader tractor.
“I can set up my windbreaks in 90 sec. by myself with a tractor loader bucket,” says Raml.
The windbreak panels are 24 ft. long and 12 1/2 ft. high. They are priced at $800 each or $975 with a kit that converts them to shade panels in the summer.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Iron Ranch Mfg., 46293 U.S. Hwy. 212, Watertown, S. Dak. 57201 (ph 605 520-0021; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.facebook.com/IronRanchMfg/).
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