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Calfcatcher, Wagglehill Croft, Aberdeenshire
Aiming to improve the safety of calf handling, Aberdeenshire-based croft farmer Gordon Stephen has developed an ATV-mounted calf-catcher.
As well as making catching the calf easier, Calf Catcher’s cage also provides a safe working environment to carry out any injections or tagging, for example, without fear of being attacked by the calf’s over protective mother.
Calf catcher comprises a 1.8m long, by 1.1m wide, by 1.4m tall cage which runs on two wheels alongside an ATV. As it runs on wheels, little of its 200kg weight is transferred onto the ATV.
It is fitted to the ATV via two ball hitches; the ATV’s original rear hitch, and one fitted to the front rack of the ATV. These mounting points allow the Calf Catcher to pivot up and down, following the terrain.
With the front ball hitch bracket fitted to the ATV, Calf Catcher can be taken on/off an ATV in less than a minute.
To catch the calf, you simply follow the calf until it is inside the cage. A single lever is then used to release a sprung-loaded gate. A rear gate is optional.
A platform at the rear of the cage allows work to be carried out on the calf, which can also be used to transport the calf. This can also be removed if larger calves are to be caught.
Between the ATV and the Calf Catcher is an opening, whereby the user can climb through into the cage with the calf, protected from its mother.
As well as ATVs, Calf Catcher can also be used with UTVs. It can also be used for catching sheep, but Mr Stephen wants to develop a specific one for this task.
Fully galvanised, Calf Catcher retails at £1,800. Mr Stephen builds each one himself, taking about a week. He has sold six so far.