1987 - Volume #11, Issue #6, Page #09[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Handy claf sled and scaleGetting newborn calves weighed and out of the field was a problem for Vernon Isaac, of Edson, Kan. His solution: A home-made sled, built from scrap pipe, that he pulls with his pickup.
"We equipped the sled with runners instead of wheels because, when the pickup driver stops, the sled stops, whereas a sled on wheels would keep going. The only time you need to worry about this sled is when there's snow on the ground and you stop on a sidehill. If you don't downhill or uphill, you're alright. If you down-hill, it'll run into the pickup," Isaac points out.
The sled's runners are 3/4 in. sucker rods. Additional pieces of pipe were welded onto the front of the runners to reinforce them. A box frame, made from 2-1/2 in. pipe, was constructed over the top of the sled and a wooden floor put in the bottom. Wire hog panels enclose the sides.
The uprights are made from 1-1/4 in. pipe. A 1 in. gooseneck pipe, which telescopes into one of the up-rights, serves as a place to hang the scale for weighing calves.
To weigh a calf, Isaac uses a piece of old tire to slip under the animal's belly. The tire is hooked to the scale and, when the calf is hoisted into the air, it's weighed. "We've found this works better than picking up each calf and standing on a scale," says Isaac.
He notes that his 250 beef cows calve in a small area. He uses the sled to separate cows and their newborn calves from the rest of the herd. "If ten cows are calving the same day, another cow that's wanting to calve may try to clean one of these ten calves. Therefore, as soon as cows calve, I want them in a different pasture where they're fed more protein and vitamin A.
"When I put a newborn calf on the sled, the mother can see and smell it through the wire panels. She'll follow right along behind the sled," says Isaac. He adds that the sled's wood floor is easy to clean but, once it gets wet, newborn calves have trouble standing on it. He plans to install a rubber mat for better footing. Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Vernon Isaac, Rt. 1, Box 335, Edson, Kan. 6733 (ph 913 899-2863).
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