News

Louette & Jared's multi-purpose calving shelter

Mar 28, 2024

Author: Lisa Smith

Here at Outpost Buildings, we strive to produce quality kitset livestock shelters that are fit for purpose and deliver the best for our customer’s needs. Last year, when we created a new calf shelter, we put the design to the test on a working dairy farm… 

Based outside of Taupo with 550 cows on 240 hectares, Louette and Jared Breingan run a very simplistic dairy farming system. They already have a large custom-built Outpost Borderland shelter that they highly rate and say it makes their lives so much simpler over calving. 

“So much so that we are looking at different ways to incorporate Outpost buildings into our farming system - particularly for calving but then we want multi-purpose sheds so we get more bang for our buck. We don’t want to have a paddock full of redundant sheds for eight months of the year,” Louette says. 

Louette says in an ideal world, they would like to get their calves out into a paddock once they are trained onto a feeder. Nevertheless, the priority is ensuring they have shelter in their paddock. Another area that is important to them is that they want portable shelters so that they can shift them daily. 

They find that by moving the shelters daily, it reduces the chance of bugs developing and then the bugs from spreading. 

So, over the winter, Outpost supplied the Breingans with the newly designed relocatable Hunter Calf Shelter to see how it stood the test of a calving season. 

Like all of Outpost’s kitsets, it was delivered in flat pack form with all of the fixtures and fittings supplied. 

They found it incredibly easy to get to site and, as the delivery came at a time when the North Island was experiencing non-stop rain, they appreciated knowing that the shed was securely packaged. 

Jared and one of the couple’s daughters, aged 13, tackled the job of putting it together and they had it completed within two days. It was easy and effortless and they built it when they had time during the day. 

“Here’s my best advice,” says Louette. “Read the instructions! I am fully aware that it is difficult for a handy farmer to read instructions on an easy build kitset but to quote my husband “it’s actually really easy to build when you have everything there handy and you read the instructions!” 

The shelter has been a hit with the animals with even the pet goats who took a liking to it before they could move it down to the farm. 

More importantly, Louette says the calves did really well in the shed. They had 12 calves per shed and they loved the shelter for both horrible rainy, windy days as well as for the really hot days. 

Once the calves were bigger, they used the shed for pet lambs and orphaned piglets.   

“Once again, the ability to move them easily and the shelter they provide really helps the animals thrive!”  

Once it started warming up, the shelter provided a great place to store gear and bikes. They have also started using the shed for drying seeds, herbs and flowers for the kids to sell.  

The verdict 

Overall, the Breingans say they highly recommend Outpost shelters. 

“The Hunter design is great and allows the calves to freely go in and out without camping unnecessarily causing pasture damage. There is also plenty of ventilation, which is essential to avoid bugs.  

The sheds are great quality and a lot of attention to detail has been added. There are no sharp edges or points. They are simple to move, build and versatile.”  

When it comes to any room for improvement, Louette says there are a couple of tweaks she would make to suit their operation. 

Something they added to the design was placing a 6x2 beam across the front of the shelter and cut out some grooves to hang their calf feeder on. They found this also provided extra support for regular towing. 

The shelters are built tough and designed to be relocatable but as the Breingans relocate theirs daily across undulating land Louette thinks it could be beneficial to have the towing braces flat to provide a bit more strength at a vulnerable spot of the shed. She also suggested placing corner braces at the front of the shed as an add-on to increase stability. 

Again, due to optimizing the portability of the shelter, they made a wire towrope that they have permanently attached to the structure so that it is ready to move at any time. They whacked a nail into the dwang so that they could clip the wire up and save them from getting manure on their hands.   

Louette says building it was simple. The only feedback on the instructions was that lining up the iron was a lot harder than they assumed.  

Overall, the Breingans say the shed is “awesome” and after testing the Hunter, they prefer this design to the Borderland, from a pasture point of view. 

The Outpost range 

Outpost supply a range of livestock shelters from end opening designs like the Upland and Borderland to front opening designs like the new Hunter as well as Bobby calf pens and ramps.

Every livestock shelter we produce has been designed to be eminently durable, made from local materials that have been manufactured right here in New Zealand. They can withstand wind, rain, heat and anything else the weather - or your animals - can throw at them. 

They are all made with heavy duty treated timber framing and designed to be relocatable so they can be moved to fresh ground or repositioned when required. 

Visit https://outpostbuildings.co.nz/collections/livestock-shelters to find out more. 

Bobby Calf Welfare Regulations 

In 2020, the government consulted on changes to the way you farm that relates to body condition score, intensive winter grazing, shelter, provision of lying surfaces and limiting time on hard surfaces, calf rearing and end-of-life management. 

Additionally, Fonterra publicly announced changes to its supply contracts, ordering its farmers to stop killing bobby calves on their farms unless there is a humane reason for doing so. While there are a number of regulation changes, one key change is that Fonterra suppliers are required to provide suitable paddock shelter for young calves before and during transportation, and at points of sale or slaughter. 

Outpost’s New Zealand-timber framed structures comply with all existing regulations and are easy to implement and move around due to their skid-mounted base.

All of our kitsets are easy to assemble, and a breeze to move around! They can even be customised to meet your specific needs if the standard sizes don’t work. Reach out to us today to get a quote for any custom work or to secure your bobby calf management structures.

 

Related Articles
How Much Does a Farm Shed Cost in NZ?

How Much Does a Farm Shed Cost in NZ?

Read more
Do You Need a Permit for a Farm Shed?

Do You Need a Permit for a Farm Shed?

Read more
What Type of Blanket Should I Put on My Horse?

What Type of Blanket Should I Put on My Horse?

Read more

By Year