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


Farmer'€™s name: Paul Bennett

Location: Ashgrove Farm Elizabeth Town Tasmania

Structure type: Purpose built shed

Approx cost: $150k all up

Date built: 2010

Supplier: Designed by Paul Bennett to use the standard sizes of gates & railing that are commonly available, Shed from a standard kit.

Management system: Group housing

Total no. calves reared per year: 1300 in 2 batches

Calving pattern: Split - July calving & August calving but these calving start dates are moving further apart. This year may have to move older calves out a bit early to make room for first calves in next batch

  • Copy Link Video tour

    Video tour 

    Paul Bennett shows you around the new shed he designed to comfortably house 700 calves and make life easier for those looking after them.

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

  • Copy Link Images


    Click to view in larger format.

  • Copy Link Shed specifications

    Shed specifications

    Shed structure:

    Construction materials: 

    Walls: colourbond at N/S ends. No walls to W/E 
    Roof: colourbond with 1m wide skylight every 5m 
    Floor: concrete & dirt 
    External yard: Nil

    Aspect: Oriented north south - sun in morning & afternoon into calf pens. Prevailing winds from NW

    Structure (LxWxH):
    70m x 15m x 4.8m 
    External yard/calf paddock: Nil

    Roof Design:

    Pitch (1:4): Difference in height/width 1.1:7.5 = 15% = 1:6
    Roof openings (50-75mm/3m width): Nil
    Overhang eves (900mm): 1000mm
    Roof height: lowest point 3.4m, highest point 4.5m

    Air space:

    Total air space (LxWxH): Under roofline (no side walls make this measurement irrelevant) 70 X 15 x 4 = 4200m2
    Air space per calf at peak (6-8m3): 4200/400 = 6m2/calf


    Type: Passive, forced - passive
    Cooling/airflow: No walls along sides (W/E) of shed (sheep yard gates used) Solid gates to windward side (W) to 1200mm in height

    Shed capacity: 

    Maximum no calves housed at peak: Up to 26 calves per pen x 28 pens = 728. Mostly has 23-25 calves per pen
    Month of peak use: Sept
    Age of calves entering & leaving shed (wks): <24 hours="" to="" 10="" weeks="" of="" age="">
    Labour requirements (total man-hours/day at peak use): 2 persons x 1.5 hours per day. A single person can feed 700 calves in an hour once all the calves are self feeding.
    Labour hours: / 50 calves at peak (total man-hours/50 calves/day)
    Other: Calves brought in early afternoon and tubed

  • Copy Link Pen specifications

    Pen specifications

    Pen structure:

    Type: Group
    Wall height (mm): 1000mm

    Wall materials -  

    Front: rails 

    Sides: solid on concrete, swinging sheep gates (2.15m) x 2 on bedding 

    Back: 2 x sheep yard panels €“- solid to west 

    Removable: crush frame €˜'bows'€™ concreted in

    Pen flooring:

    Type: Concrete and deep litter over dirt
    Drainage: Concrete drains to centre walkway (~2% slope). Centre walkway drains to South end of shed ~5%
    Total floor space per pen (m2): 5m x 7m = 35m2
    Floor space per calf at peak capacity (m2): 35m2 for 26 calves = 1.35m2/calf. Usually 23 calves = 1.5m2/calf


    Type: Saw dust
    Minimum depth: 300mm
    Maintenance (top-up or replacement) frequency and/or timing: Scrap out at end of season. Completely replace between batches
    Other: Handling and storage system for replacement bedding: Composted & given to gardeners

    Feed and water:

    Milk feeding system type: Teat feeders - made to order
    Milk delivery method: (pump, bucket, tank) Pumped from tank on trailer 
    Hay (location/height): Wire €˜net€™ on fence
    Pellets (location/height): Adlib supply from hopper in each pen. Fed by standard herringbone set up from silo into cut away 25L drum 600mm off the floor
    Water (location/height): Nipples in each pen
    Other e.g. hot water system: 4.5L per calf (some over feed) Feeders have a mark in to ensure staff give the correct amount.

  • Copy Link Other infrastructure

    Other infrastructure

    Cleaning & Disinfection:

    Type: batch / continuous flow batch: batch
    Other: Aim to move batches further apart once CSD shifted.


    Boot / hand washing facilities: Hose at N end of shed
    Access restrictions: None
    Separate clothing/boots: No
    Housing of sale calves: All calves reared (males too) to protect farm'€™s reputation
    Sick calves quarantine pen: Moved to bottom pen - very few problems though
    Other: Colostrum tube fed twice in first 24 hours.Records kept on whiteboard in shed and in note book. No tags on calves at this age

    Feed preparation and storage:

    Facilities (if in calf shed): None will build portico at N end of shed for storage etc.

  • Copy Link Layout


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