Thursday, March 3, 2011


We seasonally calve, which means all calves are born within about three months. So to build a barn to raise calves, it has to be bigger than a normal dairy our size would build, since they’re all going to be babies at the same time. Imagine all the baby stuff you have for one baby … multiplied by 150 … spread all over your house …

So we want to build a barn that can convert from a calf barn into a transition barn, which means it’ll work for both new calves and older calves their first year of life.

The barn will have custom made gates. The calves will have individual housing, then when they’re about eight weeks old, we’re going to group them into groups of four.

They’re alone in the beginning so you can pay close attention to their eating, they don’t have to compete for food, and hopefully if one gets sick they won’t all catch it. (This doesn’t work in preschool for kids, but we try.)

Their pens have two buckets in the front – one for feed, and one for milk and water. Once they get to the age they don’t drink milk anymore is when we’ll pull the panels out and turn it into a group pen. They eat out of a feeder after that.

We’re looking to build it this year. Currently, Kris raises calves in a barn that is over 100 years old. It used to be where my grandpa milked the cows. So it’s not exactly set up for raising calves.

But it is set up for pictures. We’ll miss the old calf barn … but I’m pretty sure the calves won’t.

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