How long do I need to house calves for?
By housing your calves in a quality shelter with sufficient space, you’ll ensure that they grow as healthy as possible as quickly as possible.
Calves should be housed for a minimum of 2-3 weeks for dairy heifer replacements, and 4-5 weeks for beef rearers, although it is more common to house them for eight weeks or more. Ideally a calf will be housed for much of the weaning process, which generally lasts seven or eight months. This early stage of life is when the calf is at its most vulnerable, so by offering it comfortable conditions and easy access to food you’ll also be ensuring its health and future productivity.
How many square metres per calf?
While it’s important that you don’t overcrowd your calves in housing, there’s also no need to make pens too big. 1.5m² per calf is more than enough. You should hold a maximum of 10 calves per calf shelter.
What is the best calf shelter layout?
There is no single calf rearing shed layout that’s better than the rest. The best shed design will be one that suits the needs of you and your animal; one that facilitates easy management, and gives you the best chance of raising healthy and happy calves.
SmartShelters’ calf-rearing shelters are available in a range of layouts both standard and custom, which feature a variety of different spans, pen plans and capacities. At SmartShelters our expert team can design and construct a calf rearing shelter with a pen layout that works for you.
How do you control disease in calf barns?
While outbreaks are somewhat inevitable, disease in your calf rearing shelter is a relatively easy thing to mitigate and manage if you have firm processes in place. The following strategies will help to minimise the likelihood of disease, and manage an outbreak if one should ever occur.
- Ensure all feeding equipment, including feeders, teats, buckets and mixing utensils, is scrubbed with detergent/sanitiser and hot water
- Spray pens on a regular basis with a broad spectrum disinfectant, while being careful not to apply it to feed and water troughs or the animals themselves
- Utilise a separate pen to quarantine any sick calves, and keep them away from the healthy animals
- Disinfect any areas used for treating sick calves
- Wear appropriate clothing when in contact with calves, and clean it after every use
Contact a member of our experienced team today to discuss a truly smart shelter solution for your property.