Introduction: How to Set Up a Calving Barn and Run a Calving Operation
Have you ever wanted to calve out cows and start a cow-calf operation? Here are a few steps of how to set up a barn so you can.
Step 1: Knowing How Big the Barn Needs to Be
The first step to setting up a calving barn is to have a barn that is big enough for the operation. The number of pens that will be needed in the barn will depend on a few different things. The first thing that you are going to want to think about is how many head of cows will be calving out. In this case there will be 300 head calving. Another thing that will determine the number of pens you need is how long your calving season is and if there calving in groups. In this operation there are going to be 3 different groups heifers will be first, 2nd calving cows. will be second then the 3rd calf cows will be last, each group will have a 45day calving period, so in the barn there will be 6 pens 3 on each side with a tub and an ally with a headgate in case if one needs help delivering her calf.
Step 2: Setting Up the Pens
Once you know how you are going to set up the calving barn you then will need to have panels to make the pens inside of the barn. Your pens should be at least 10ft by 10ft or bigger. You will also need gates on the pens so you can get cows in and out of them. Not only do you need pens inside the barn you will also need pens outside of the barn. There will be a pen outside that is 50ft wide by 200 ft long this is where the cows and heifers will be at until they are getting close to calving. Once they become close to calving then there will be another pen that will be right next to the barn that will be 30ft by 30ft this is where my cows and heifers will go when their about ready to have their calf. You will also want an alleyway from the pen where they are just about to start calving to the door that will bring them into the barn this will help you be able to put the cows or heifers into the barn will less stress on them. In this barn there will also be a closed-off room that is 4ft wide by 6ft long this room with be a hot box. This room will have a heater and a spot to put calves in if they are born outside when it is cold and need to warm up
Step 3: Pulling a Calf
Step 4: Kicking the Pairs Outside of the Barn
After you have your barn set up you then will have to have a place for the cow-calf pair to go after they have got going and been in the barn for 12 to 24 hours. In this case there will be a small pasture/dry lot where the pairs will run. In this pen there will be two calf shelters that will have an open front that only the baby calves can go into. There will be 50ft of portable bunks where the cows will be fed the corn and a fence line bale feeder for round bales.
You can now start your operation and let the calves start hitting the ground