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  • #31
    It's all right Honk, I didn't post the pix of the chain or the hay hooks until I posted the answer. Like you say, the chain would have been a dead giveaway. Just threw the buggy whip and Model T in for funnies!

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    • #32
      Originally posted by Ontario Honker Hunter View Post

      I guess I only saw the pulling hook. Didn't see the buggy whip or haying hooks. Obviously I know what those are. I should have recognized the pulling hook. If the chain had been on there it would have been a giveaway. Back when I was a kid, everyone where I grew up would have known what that stuff is. A sign of the times that no seems to know these days. Sigh! Fun contest.
      I saw them pull a calf on the TV show 'Alaska the Last Frontier' and they just grabbed it with their hands. Got it out fine.

      Comment


      • #33
        Originally posted by crm3006 View Post
        OK. The answer is, this is a handle for an obstetrical chain, used for pulling calves when the mother, usually a heifer, is having difficulty birthing the calf. The first picture is my chain and handle from the '70s, '80s era, second are actual hay hooks, used mostly to un-wedge tightly packed bales of hay in the barn. Third is a buggy whip, fourth is a Model T truck. Thanks to everybody who participated!
        Obstetrical chain? Never heard them called anything but a calf puller. Most cowboys I knew would probably reply "Bless you!" to anyone who said the word obstetrical.

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        • #34
          All depnds on how stuck the calf is. Sometimes you ratchet them out. I've also had lambs that I barely got out.

          Honk, if there is some actual shortage of small squares I can only assume that is a thing farther north. They usually cost more when per ton if you buy them individually which I suppose gives creedence to the notion of scarcity but I can buy them at the same price in bulk a ton as rounds from hay operations so that kind of knocks that notion down.

          CRM, I apologize. I can see now you were only giving the description for those not acquainted with such hardware.

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          • #35
            Originally posted by jhjimbo View Post

            I saw them pull a calf on the TV show 'Alaska the Last Frontier' and they just grabbed it with their hands. Got it out fine.
            Sometimes the cow doesn't need much help ... and sometimes it takes a "Herculean" effort. That cow obviously wasn't having too much trouble ... or they just gave her a hand for theatrical effect. My observation of that show would seem to indicate the latter is most likely.

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            • #36
              jhjimbo
              I guess I would say that is the difference in TV and real life. Not saying you could not pull a calf bare-handed, but I will say, that if you do, the mother could probably have birthed him without assistance. The chain and handle are usually a case of last resort, when the momma cow, usually a heifer, can't get either the head or hips out naturally. Or, in the case of a breech birth, when the calf is turned, and is coming hind legs and hips first. I have pulled a few like that, and the hips or tail always seem to hang up when the calf is coming backwards. My Grandfather would always wait until the cow or heifer was laying down, and then try to help her. (Or, actually, have me to help her!)
              Once she is down, you can get the chain around the front feet, and sometimes have to reach up in her and straighten the head. Once that is accomplished, you have to wait until she strains, and pull as she tries to expel the calf, with your boot heel wedged against her down leg, for purchase. This never seems to happen unless it is either raining, spitting snow and sleet, or so cold the hair on your arm freezes when you pull your bare arm out of the cow!
              Another thing, the calf is wet all over from amniotic fluid, and you just can't reach and grab one of his slippery little feet and start pulling. That is where you need the chain and handle. If you don't use the handle, the chain will tear your hands up pretty bad, also.
              Last edited by crm3006; 02-10-2019, 07:53 PM.

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              • #37
                Originally posted by Harmonious Fulmination View Post
                All depnds on how stuck the calf is. Sometimes you ratchet them out. I've also had lambs that I barely got out.

                Honk, if there is some actual shortage of small squares I can only assume that is a thing farther north. They usually cost more when per ton if you buy them individually which I suppose gives creedence to the notion of scarcity but I can buy them at the same price in bulk a ton as rounds from hay operations so that kind of knocks that notion down.

                CRM, I apologize. I can see now you were only giving the description for those not acquainted with such hardware.
                Again, where do you live? Probably not in any big agricultural area. Maybe suburban California? If there's a lot of hobby farms and horse toy people around, I'm sure they would have the surplus money to sustain a market for small square bales. Not so for any kind of real operation though. No way. Fiddling with square bales is too labor intensive = -$-$-$. And I'm sorry, I really cannot believe you'd be paying the same price per ton for squares as big round bales ... not unless the hobby farms way outnumber any genuine large scale real farming operations. Round bales are a heck of a lot cheaper to make. Simpler baling machines that don't break down nearly as much, less twine, etc. Those square balers are a bloody maintenance nightmare!! Square bales require trimming to make the bales flat top and bottom = crop wasted. Round balers use the whole stalk. No cutting to fit. Loose hay is rolled in a continuous sheet inside a big round chamber then bound and pushed out onto the field. No trimming = no wastage. Round balers use continuous rubber belts to wrap the hay while square balers have a back and forth plunger that compresses and trims the bales. The difference in complexity is obvious. More complex = more breakdowns. Custom balers and hay farmers wouldn't mess with square bales unless there wasn't a strong local market for round ones (= no real agriculture going on). Small square bales are a SOB to ship in any quantity. A helluva lot more hassle! Round bales also keep better in the field so no big storage facility needed. That means the farmer can store them on site in the field till price picks up and still do well selling/feeding the stuff. If he opts to wrap the round bales, they keep their food value left on the field almost as well as square bales stored in a barn. Sure some old time ranches stored square bales stacked in the field but the wastage was pretty bad. Also, pulling bales out of those stacks, throwing them on trucks, stacking them again, driving them to the cattle, sticking them in the feeders or breaking the bales on the ground one at a time so the cattle could ruin it as fast as bales were broken ... it was terrible wasteful because it was all DONE BY HAND. That takes time and time is money, especially when you're farming. As I said below, now with round bales the rancher hardly has to get off the tractor/truck to get feeding done. One guy can move a ton of hay to cattle without laying a finger on it. That ain't going to happen with 100 lb square bales! One guy would be working nonstop most of the day trying to feed three or four hundred head square bales. Probably kept a lot of chiropractors busy in the old days. Round bale technology was probably the most beneficial for ranchers' wives. No longer necessary for them to give birth to a dozen kids to make an operation work profitably.

                In this day and age only an idiot would try running a real farm with square bale technology. And he wouldn't be running it very long.
                Last edited by Ontario Honker Hunter; 02-10-2019, 11:36 PM.

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                • #38
                  Local feed store over to the east carries square bales. Usually bermuda.
                  Lots of small towns around. If "Small Town" has a feed store, they will usually carry square bales.
                  My neighbor up north of me square bales his wheat straw.
                  Most is sold for fall "hay rides", Halloween decor and garden mulch.
                  Wheat straw is still round baled and fed. Not much nutrition, but its a real good filler.
                  Lot'sa folks around here still square bale.
                  Miniature horse breeders are most into squares.
                  Folks in this area won't feed alfalfa to horses due to blister beetles.
                  Won't faze cattle. Kills horses deader that cyanide!

                  Square bales are a specialized market, but there are still enough users around to make it profitable.

                  Bermuda will run $7.50/bale +/- out of a feed store.
                  Alfalfa squares, IF you can find them, will run upwards of $15/bale.
                  Good clean wheat straw still brings $5/bale.
                  Last edited by FirstBubba; 02-10-2019, 11:27 PM.

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                  • #39
                    +1 Honk on the labor intensive angle. Have almost gotten heat stroke hauling square bales in the summer and frozen my toes and ears off kicking it off the back of a pickup in winter. Also #1 Bubba for the update on cost per bale. I was going to buy four or five bales for an archery target some years back, and due to cost, opted for a block of styrofoam.

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Honk, you obviously did not read a word I said. Any question you asked me (where do I live) I already answered and you don't seem to even be aware of what our disagreement is. I didn't say anything about ease of feeding, labour intensity or disagree with you on those matter. Commercial livestock is red with large bales.

                      I've never "trimmed" a small square to be square so I don't get your crop waste comment. Maybe you are more familiar with older style processes that I'm not.

                      Anyway, you can apply as much hay production model theory to this situation as you want or try to argue about what I've paid here from a different country; none of that will change the obvious realities I've dealt with in my life. I'm doing nothing sharing knowledge of what I've personally baled, sold and bought. Sure, small squares are mainly used in small scale applications, again not disagreeing with you on that, that doesn't mean they don't have useful general applications.

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Originally posted by Harmonious Fulmination View Post
                        Honk, you obviously did not read a word I said. Any question you asked me (where do I live) I already answered and you don't seem to even be aware of what our disagreement is. I didn't say anything about ease of feeding, labour intensity or disagree with you on those matter. Commercial livestock is red with large bales.

                        I've never "trimmed" a small square to be square so I don't get your crop waste comment. Maybe you are more familiar with older style processes that I'm not.

                        Anyway, you can apply as much hay production model theory to this situation as you want or try to argue about what I've paid here from a different country; none of that will change the obvious realities I've dealt with in my life. I'm doing nothing sharing knowledge of what I've personally baled, sold and bought. Sure, small squares are mainly used in small scale applications, again not disagreeing with you on that, that doesn't mean they don't have useful general applications.
                        You seem to forget you said I didn't know what I was talking about, didn't have a clue. Seems exactly the opposite. Your hobby farm community hardly reflects agricultural reality. I live and play in REAL agricultural communities. The hobby farm crap has ruined a lot of good land. A real blight. Best case of that is Western Montana where I was raised. I'm sure one can go to the feed store there and buy square bales and pay through the nose for the stuff. But that's not farming. Couldn't profitably raise cattle doing that though. In the end the cow fed square bales from feed store and then custom butchered would probably cost twice as much as meat at Safeways. I had my own pack horses for many years and NEVER bought hay at a feed store! Crazy prices. I bought mine bales straight from the farmer or had it baled on the field on shares.

                        You don't trim the bales, the baling machinery does. I don't think you've actually ever seen a square bale or you'd know it's trimmed. How do you think it gets those nice flat sides top and bottom? Magic? The baler's chamber is shaped like the bale laying on its side but slightly wider. The hay is fed into the chamber where it's piled up and tamped hard by compressor, then bound, then pushed down through the cutters to trim top and bottom and dropped onto the field. Sounds complex? That's because it is. Certainly when compared to round baler. And that's why square balers break down and round balers don't.

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                        • #42
                          The part of Michigan that I live in, is mostly composed of small farms. BWT being said, I rarely see the small square bales in the field anymore. But I always thought that the bigger and heavier round bales would be much more difficult to ‘handle’ and expensive because of required equipment needed to do so. Not being involved in these activities, there is almost nothing that I knew involving what goes on with rolled bales. I only know I am glad there are still straw square bales made, I need them for the purpose of shooting my recurve, they make the best target butts. It would be hell paying for a few round bales to be placed around for targets !!

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                          • #43
                            "... I was going to buy four or five bales for an archery target some years back, and due to cost, opted for a block of styrofoam. - crm3006 ..."

                            Hay bales are hell on aluminum shafts. It scrubs the finish off just like sand paper. Hay isn't very friendly to fletching either.
                            Don't know about carbon arrows, I've never had any.

                            bhr, my neighbor would set one round bale in my yard in the fall and feed it in the winter.
                            He always had to unroll that bale!
                            Round bales have soft spots. Occasionally, I would have a shaft sink completely out of sight!
                            Digging through a foot or so of hay in search of a 32" shaft was not always productive.
                            The term "...needle in a haystack..." comes to mind.


                            Comment


                            • #44
                              The hay bales are more tightly packed and provide a better stop than straw bales which seem to be looser for some reason. Also hay bales are more expensive here and somewhat harder to find. Since I shoot wood arrows, I am not concerned with the finish aspect, just the cost per bale fact.

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                Sorry, thought that was another labor intensity comment. At this point I wasn't paying much attention to your hay rants. You're talking bout the plunger cutting some ends. Really not a big deal.

                                You claimed that only horse farms put up small squares. There is a huge market for it from small, personal and "hobby"user so hay producers, even very large commercial ones, produce large amounts of small squares. Again, if you deny this you have no idea what you're talking about.

                                Commercial livestock operations that put up their own hay generally don't as they don't have a use for them, no disagreement there. If you couldn't recognize that point this whole time I don't see what all those degrees did for you.

                                Comment

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