Could this innovative gate work for you next spring?

Many dairy farmers are beginning to rack their brains for ways in which they are going to reduce the workload next spring.

Particularly when there is a risk that dairy farmers may need to keep dairy bull calves for longer next spring – until the dust has settled, when they will then hopefully be able to find a home for them.

Calf rearing, for most, has the greatest demand for labour during the busy spring period. So making the calf rearing process as streamlined and efficient as possible – before calving begins next spring – should be at the top of a lot of farmers to-do lists.

The feeding of young calves is usually a very labour intensive job on many dairy farms; especially when calf numbers begin to build up.

To reduce the amount of time feeding calves this coming spring, this innovative gate design (seen below) might work for you.

It works by reversing a calf feeder on the back of a quad – or another vehicle – up to the gate to allow the calves to feed. A large number of calves can then be easily fed in a matter of minutes.

However it is advisable to wait until calves are at least a week old before being introduced to a group of this size. In this scenario calves are put in groups of four to five calves, for one to two weeks before being moved into this larger shed.

This will ensure they are used to feeding from a teat and strong enough to fend for themselves in a larger group.

This gate (seen above) was designed to fit a Milk Bar 40-teat mobile feeder, but can be altered to fit a different design or a larger teat feeder.

In this case, a total of 30 calves could be fed at a time, with this number decreasing slightly to between 28 and 29 calves as they got older – as some of the teats are out of reach.

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