…Because it sounds more exciting than “Calf Alley.”
As you all have read, we vaccinate our calves several times per summer. The last round of vaccinations is done this time of year prior to weaning. It can be done after weaning, but the calves are stressed from the change in their diet and absence of their mothers so the vaccine doesn’t work as well. We try to do it before all of this stress and to give the vaccine enough time to kick in before weaning.
To help with this, we decided to build a new calf alley to work them through. The main alley that we have up there works for cows, but it is long and wide making it easy for the small calves to turn around and come back out. I wanted an alley that was short enough it was easy to push the calves up and narrow enough that they couldn’t turn around. I also wanted the alley to be low enough for a vaccinator to reach over the side and easily give shots.
We tested out the final product on Friday. It worked okay. Once the calves we in it, it went pretty well, but it looked dark and narrow and many calves didn’t want to walk into it. As the day went on, the calves were better about entering the alley. I’m not sure if this is because the shadows changed and made it look more appealing or the calves splattered it with enough manure that it didn’t look so new an out of place. Maybe both aspects played a role.
The following are photos of the construction process. I didn’t manage to take any pictures when we were using it. Things got a little busy. Overall, I think it worked pretty well even with the rocky start.
By Brandon Greet