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Multifunctional Calf Shed, Loading Area

Longtime cattle farmer (and two-time Idea of the Month winner) Kendall Isley of Haw River, North Carolina, needed a head chute/loading chute area. By adding onto his existing calf shed, he built a multifunctional unit that serves all his purposes.   

“Now I can work independently when it’s time to take cattle to market or weigh them. I used to have to get someone to help, or I had to put up a temporary gate and tie it with a log chain,” he recalls.    

The rafters are built with 2×6-inch milled boards from a dying oak tree cut down on the homeplace. Besides the carpentry, Isley’s metalworking included making his own chainless gate latches from scrap metal and reinforcing the gates with cattle panels, which keep calves from sticking their heads through the bars. 

He estimates his total cost at $1,540, not counting the head chute he was able to get second hand from a neighbor. 

Highlights of the calf shed:

  • Load onto a trailer: Load outside the pasture onto a trailer parked at the loading exit.
  • Quiet operation: Gates all have chainless but sturdy latches. 
  • Reinforcements: Cattle panels are wire-welded to the gates for strength.

More About kendall isley

Farm life: Though technically retired from his job as a school bus mechanic, Isley says he doesn’t use that word since he now has two part-time jobs and, of course, his cattle to tend to.  

Growing cowherd: After acquiring 14 acres adjacent to his property, cleaning it up, and sowing grass, Isley was able to add 10 heifers.

Premier neighbor: He assists his neighbors with their cow chores and silage cutting.   

Travel: Isley and his wife, Lisa, are planning a trip to Washington, D.C., to visit the Smithsonian museums. 

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