Calf housing system with perspective
More and more dairy farmers make the decision to confine their calves in the fresh outside air. By housing calves indoor, the temperature might be easier to regulate. Though, outdoor calf rearing offers a range of benefits, mainly in the field of fresh air and resistance. In the open air you are dealing with ‘Mother Nature’ , meaning that it is even more important to pay attention to the perceived temperature of your calves. Therefore, Topcalf has introduced a brand new concept for outdoor calf housing. In this concept the calf, environment and work convenience are key.
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calf housing design
At the center of our concept is the fact calves can be confined in one place for a longer period of time. This way they experience less stress moment because there is no need of transporting them so often. The design is as follows, single housing is used in combination with group housing. The first week your calves stay in a Trio calf hutch, which can be transformed into a small group hutch by simply removing the plastic partitioning wall. When your calves are strong enough they move to the other side of the ‘town’. In these group housing systems they learn to socialize and improve their feed intake.
When calves are born they stay the first day with their mum. This is important for the intake of sufficient colostrum milk. After the first day a calf will be held in a Trio, Quattro or Quinto calf hutch. Topcalf offers two distinctive sizes: 120 x 180 cm (l x w) and 100 x 165 cm (l x w). After a week you can remove the partitioning wall, which makes it possible to confine your calves in the same surrounding for up to 8 weeks. The moment your calves are strong enough, they can be moved to a larger group housing system. Thanks to our new group hutch with free range, your young cattle still have the option to move outside of the hutch. Underneath the hutch, a drain channel has been installed. Therefore, calves will lay high and dry above the ground, and less ammonia pollution will be stuck underneath the hutch.
Our calf hutches are equipped with caster wheels. Whereas, our large hutches are designed with shafts, which makes them easy to transport by loader. We recommend to choose a position where there is less chance of draft. If you place your hutches between two barns a, so-called, ‘chimney effect’ can take place. This happens when to much air lift off next to the calf hutches. By keeping your calves in a central sport, you barely have to move them and prevent stress moments.
Hygiene and work comfort
Partially, the probability of diseases depends on the type of housing system. However, more important is the management of the hygiene. By making sure that hutches are cleaned on a regular basis you will minimize the chance of infections. By following a all-in-all-out approach, your calves will be moved simultaneously, which will give you the chance to deep-clean the hutches. Next to that, the drainage underneath the hutch ensures that urine does not stay in the hutch.
Since your calves are kept in one central spot, it is also easier for the dairy former to regulate and monitor. Furthermore, calf houses have the right space requirements, which is beneficial for the animals as well as for the dairy farmers since you don’t have to bend over to fit in the calf house.
Positioning your calf housing systems is an important aspect in creating an optimal living environment for your cattle. By having your hutches in the open air, calves constantly receive fresh air. However, make sure that you fully benefit from this advantage. Badly ventilated calf hutches can cause heat stress, higher ammonia emission and more flies. In the design above the calf hutches are equipped with isolated roof, which causes a cooling of 10 degrees Celsius in summer. Moreover, air slides ensure a good flow of fresh air.
Our assortment is developed based on retrieved practical data. In order to be able to offer your calves a high quality living environment we constantly monitor data regarding air quality, temperature, growth and ammonia emission. Curious after the results of these tests? Keep an eye on our website for more information!