Calves can be raised successfully in a variety of housing types. Selecting the right housing system for calves should take calf health, welfare, and productivity into account, and should also be designed with calf staff in mind.
Managing pre-weaned calves in group housing is different than managing young calves in individual pens or hutches. Assessing things like the amount of milk, water or solid feed consumed, or manure passed is much simpler when calves are housed individually. Despite this, producers can successfully raise healthy and well-grown calves efficiently in groups from a young age.
Cleaning calf housing is one of the best things we can do to keep calves healthy. Considering the fragile nature of a newborn calf’s immune system and that many calf sicknesses are a result of contagious diseases, it is hard to justify skimping on cleaning and disinfection.
Good air quality leads to healthy animals and a productive animal facility. The goal of ventilation is to provide adequate fresh air that is free from dust and drafts. The air should be reasonably free from pollutants such as ammonia, carbon dioxide and airborne pathogens.
Don’t forget that calves can also experience stress when the temperatures start to rise. When it is over 25 degrees Celsius, calves may need special attention to keep cool, healthy, and productive.
Cold weather is stressful for calves. Calves that are exposed to the cold are predisposed to respiratory tract infections (pneumonia). A little extra attention can keep calves warm in the winter.