1988 - Volume #12, Issue #6, Page #32[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Calf Incubator"It's unbelievable how well it works. We've had a 100% calving success rate since we started using it two years ago," says Robert Hendrickson, Superior, Wis., about the portable calf incubator he designed to warm up and dry off newborn calves for the first two hours after birth. It can also be used with baby pigs and lambs.
Hendrickson builds the A-frame incubators out of plywood or particle board. One side of the unit has a hinged door that opens to place an animal inside. Key to success of the unit is its double floor. The top layer of the floor is slatted. Hot air is blown into one end of the incubator by a small milkhouse heater and is channeled down into the 6-in. wide space between the floor layers and up through the slats, warming the animals. A small 3-in. fan at the top of the unit also helps circulate air through the incubator.
"It heats up from zero degrees to 80? in 15 min. The first calf we tried in it was born on a day when the wind chill factor was 70? below zero. By the time we got it into the incubator it was ice covered but two hours later, after drying off in the incubator, it was anxious and fit enough to go back to its mother. For the calf it was like being born on a 70? day with a south wind," says Hendrickson. "Newborn dairy calves are worth $125 to $175. Saving just one is enough to pay for the incubator, and we've also had no cases of scours since we started using the incubator."
The incubator is 24 in. wide, 3 ft. long and 3 ft. high. It's big enough to hold two calves at once. Hendrickson says he recommends one unit for every 80 cows. He sells them for $160.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Robert G. Hendrickson, Rt. 1, Box 454, Superior, Wis. 54880 (ph 715 399-8348).
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