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This case study outlines information, specifications, and videos about calf housing sheds built with calf comfort in mind.

  • Video tour

    Video tour

    Chris & Charmaine Bagot takes you through his purpose-built shed that houses 400 calves and features computer controlled feeders for both milk and grain.

    Video takes approx 15 secs to start after clicking the 'play' icon.

  • Images

    Images

    Images of the calf housing shed at Bagot.

    Click to view in larger format.

  • Shed specifications

    Shed specifications

    Shed structure:

    Construction materials: 

    Walls - tin & laser light (recycled)
    Roof - tin and plastic domed greenhouse roof (plastic over 3/4 inch pipe) 
    Floor €- concrete under feeders / deep wood chips elsewhere 
    External yard - pasture with shelter trees

    Aspect: East - west (wind from SW)

    Dimensions:

    Structure (LxWxH): 24 x 5.45 x 3.2m (domed section), 24 x 4.15 x 2.15m (roofed section) 
    External yard/calf paddock: 75m x 30m

    Roof Design:

    Pitch (1:4): Difference in height/width: domed roof (5.45 wide & 1.05m high) extension roof (4.15m wide & 0.2m fall) - 5% slope 
    Roof openings (50-75mm/3m width): Nil
    Overhang eves (900mm): Nil
    Roof height: lowest point 1.95m (south wall of extension), highest point 3.2m (domed roof)

    Air space:

    Total air space (LxWxH): Under green house - 392m3 Under extension - 202m3 Total 594m3
    Air space per calf at peak (6-8m3): Not applicable - open sides & allowed outside 

    Ventilation:

    Type: Passive - assisted by 2 fans under greenhouse roof if required 
    Cooling/airflow: Tunnel design - pick up breeze, south wall - 800mm x 2m gaps in wall at 760mm height, north wall - 400mm gap in wall entire length 

    Shed capacity: 

    Maximum no calves housed at peak: 120 (last year) up to 150 this year
    Month of peak use: March
    Age of calves entering & leaving shed (hrs): 0-12 hrs 
    Labour requirements (total man-hours/day at peak use): 1.5 hrs/day once all calves started 
    Labour hours / 50 calves at peak (total man-hours/50 calves/day): 30 minutes/50 calves/day 
    Other: Collection at least twice daily, collection at least twice daily, iodine dip navel, probiotic paste, tagged, colostrum tubed if needed, put in small pen to get started on auto feeder

  • Pen specifications

    Pen specifications

    Pen structure:

    Type: Smaller pens for start up (up to 15 calves) then in to communal pen with access to paddock
    Wall height (mm): 760mm (width of sheet of tin)
    Wall materials: (solid/mesh)
    Front: mesh to feeders: tin to paddock (removable - n) 
    Sides: mesh/gates (removable - y) 
    Back: bottom 800mm tin, laserlite to roof (removable - n)

    Removable:
    Side walls swing back to wall and can be removed for cleaning
    Other: Solid concrete gutter for scraping against south wall

    Pen flooring:

    Type: Concrete for feeding area, deep wood chips over dirt for the rest 
    Drainage: Sloped concrete to central drain (to effluent pond)
    Total floor space per pen (m2): 231m2 in shed 
    Floor space per calf at peak capacity (m2): 1.5m2 in shed but also access to 2,250m2 in paddock 
    Other: Feeding, water etc kept on concrete area

    Bedding:

    Type: Wood chips (sawdust too expensive & gets compacted)
    Minimum depth: 300mm
    Maintenance: Replaced every 3-4 weeks through season 
    Other: Composted then spread on paddocks

    Feed and water:

    Milk feeding system type: DeLaval automatic feeding 
    Milk delivery method: (pump, bucket, tank) 4th line in dairy to refrigerated vat. Pumped underground to calf shed. Non-refrigerated vat in calf shed filled up every 2-3 days. Auto milk feeders draw from this. 
    Hay: Wire baskets hung from wall 500mm
    Pellets: DeLaval auto feeders filled up by bucket
    Water: Small drinking dishes on walls Piped water to clean-up/preparation area
    Other: Follow DeLaval plan

  • Other infrastructure

    Other infrastructure

    Cleaning & Disinfection:

    Type: batch / continuous flow Continuous, run as a mob 
    Other: Very low mortalities (3 last year)

    Biosecurity:

    Boot / hand washing facilities: none
    Access restrictions: none
    Separate clothing/boots: none
    Housing of sale calves: Keeps all bull calves 
    Qaurantine area for sick calves: In small pen next to calf shed (rarely used) 
    Other: Book kept in shed next to feeders. DeLaval reports & exception list checked daily (middle of the day) 

    Feed preparation and storage:

    Facilities (if in calf shed): Wheel barrow to transport pellet buckets. 

  • Layout

    Layout

    Layout of calf housing shed at Bagot.

     

Overview

Farmer'€™s name: Chris & Charmaine Bagot

Location: 84 PetschackRd., Jindivick, 3818

Structure type: Purpose built greenhouse

Approx cost: $5,000 in materials (excluding second hand delaval auto calf)

Date built: 2007, replaced plastic roof in early 2013

Supplier: Home built mainly from recycled materials

Management system: Group

Total no. calves reared per year: 150-180 as one group, with older ones removed in batches to separate farm once weaned

Calving pattern: Seasonal in autumn (CSD 15/2)

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