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Donkerdale Farms

Welcome to Donkerdale Farms, owned and operated by John & Doug Donkers, and Gus Donkers of Branchton, Ontario. We will be highlighting their naturally ventilated Fabric Structure calf barn.

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The Donkers house their newborn - 3 month old calves in a 42x40 Fabric Structure building which has Faromor curtains installed above a 4 foot insulated wall and a chimney for winter ventilation (to remove any moisture out of the air). The barn was built in 2007, pictured here with Doug Donkers.

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Gary: Ext. 223
  Rick: Ext. 230
  Terry: Ext. 241
Wayne: Ext. 229
   
 

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The calf barn houses up to 36 heifer calves in group housing systems. The calves are fed with a milk bar and a 20% pellet with rumensin.

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In the pens is straw for bedding with a sand pack underneath for drainage. The straw is cleaned out three times per year. This barn houses some very healthy well-grown calves.

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In the winter only the south facing curtain is open, while in the heat of the summer, all curtains are down. The building has bird screen on the curtains for bird control as well as a fine mesh screen to slow down wind movement.

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The heifer barn is located within close proximity to the milking barn, for easy access. Lights in the building are kept on all night while the two overhead doors on the end of the coverall remain closed at all times of the year. Doors were only open at this time to take pictures.

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These heifers are gaining at 2.2 lbs per day, and reach 800 lbs by 12 months of age. The Donkers Family milks 90 cows just outside of Branchton, Ontario.

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Tegenbosch Farms

Welcome to Tegenbosch Farms, owned and operated by Chris Tegenbosch and family of Atwood, Ontario. The family milks 120 head and put in two robots for milking in 2006.

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Tegenbosch Farms built a 50x100 DeCloet Fabric building for their younger calves both separate and group pens, and the second half being a heifer barn for the weaned heifers to one year of age. The calf barn has a capacity of 42 calves. The farm keeps all their bull calves for veal, and has a strict, successful program for all calves.

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New born heifers stay in the separate pens for 4-5 days, then move to a group area with automated feeding, but are monitored closely.

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Once they are 8 weeks old, they will be moved to a larger group penning with automated feeding. All calves are weaned at 50 days and fresh calf starter is available at all times. This enables the young stock to be eating 1kg of starter per day by 55 days old.

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The ventilation in the building consists of Faromor FRP chimneys, which always remain open, and a Faromor automatic Top Down curtain with the Summer Roll-Up option.

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As a calf barn option, there is also a top screen which restricts the initial draft for the calf barn. Chris also has the abiity to crank up the curtain by hand if it is a windy or rainy day and conditions are temporarily undesirable.

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Lights are on from 5am - 10pm in the fall and winter only. With the automated feeding, Chris finds that the heifers eventually go through his robot milking system with some experience from the calf facilities.

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On the heifer side of the barn, the climate is automatically temperature controlled with chimneys and curtains. The heifers have a center slat for easy clean out and heifers remain in that area for 8-9 months until they are breeding age.

The Tegenbosch barn is a well managed, efficient use of building space and is user-friendly. Chris admits to us that "In my opinion, automated curtains are the only way to ventilate a barn!"

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