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

Overview

Farmer'€™s name: Nigel & Rachel Brock 

Location: 112 Brocks Rd., Montana, TAS 7304

Structure type: 8 x Purpose built shed for 30 calves

Approx cost: $15,000 for fencing, home built shed ($2000 each)

Date built: 2010

Supplier: Home built

Management system: Group housing€“ batches of 30 calves per shed

Total no. calves reared per year: 240

Calving pattern: Seasonal - CSD 8/8/12

  • Video tour

    Video tour

    Nigel Brock talks about the low cost solution he devised to house his calves in a series of free-standing sheds.

  • Images

    Images

    Images of the calf housing shed at Nigel & Rachel Brock's dairy.

    Click on images to view in larger format.

  • Shed specifications

    Shed specifications

    Shed structure:

    Construction materials: 

    Walls: corrugated iron on timber frame
    Roof: corrugated iron on timber frame
    Floor: sawdust over soil
    External yard: pasture

    Aspect: Facing east 

    Dimensions:

    Structure (6mx3mx2.5m): = 18m2  
    External yard/calf paddock: 22m x 200m for each shed = 4,400m2

    Roof Design:

    Pitch (1:4): Difference in height/width - 0.5m:3m = 1:6 (single slope to rear)
    Roof openings (50-75mm/3m width): Nil
    Overhang eves (900mm): Nil
    Roof height: lowest point 2.0m, highest point 2.5m

    Air space:

    Total air space (LxWxH): Inside only - 42m3 
    Air space per calf at peak (6-8m3): inside only - 1.4m3

    Ventilation:

    Type: Passive, forced - passive
    Cooling/airflow: Open on east wall

    Shed capacity: 

    Maximum no calves housed at peak: 30 per shed, 8 sheds = 240 calves  
    Month of peak use: Aug/Sept
    Age of calves entering & leaving shed (wks): Enter at 7-10 days.Leave at 12 weeks
    Labour requirements (total man-hours/day at peak use): 1 hour per day to feed 240 calves with 1x 450L calfateria. Will be putting an 1,000L tank at site - avoids towing calfateria back to main dairy 2x for each feeding 
    Other: 450L calfateria does 3 batches = 5L/calf per day

  • Pen specifications

    Pen specifications

    Pen structure:

    Type: Nil.
    Wall height (mm): N/A
    Wall materials: N/A Removable: N/A 

    Pen flooring:

    Type: 150mm sawdust
    Drainage: Nil
    Total floor space per pen (m2): 18m2
    Floor space per calf at peak capacity (m2): 0.5m2 internal
    Other: 4,400m2 per 30 calves

    Bedding:

    Type: Straw, shavings, chips, sand, other
    Minimum depth: sawdust
    Maintenance (top-up or replacement) frequency and/or timing: Just top up at start of season at this stage 
    Other: Handling and storage system for replacement bedding: Nil - not spread out - just rots down

    Feed and water:

    Milk feeding system type: Calfeterias - 450L calfateria does 3 batches = 5L/calf per day
    Milk delivery method: (pump, bucket, tank) Calfateria transport to paddock (1km) Putting in 1,000L tank on ute to transport milk from dairy to calf paddock this year 
    Hay (location/height): Wire '€˜net'€™ on fence
    Pellets (location/height): Using troughs this year (self feeders/round drums in the past
    Water (location/height): Trough in paddock
    Other e.g. hot water system: Nil

  • Other infrastructure

    Other infrastructure

    Cleaning & Disinfection:

    Type: batch / continuous flow batch: Single batch only on area then rested for 8 months until next season 
    Other: Sheep graze area when calves not using it -€“ no adult cattle.

    Biosecurity:

    Boot / hand washing facilities: none
    Access restrictions: Try not to drive vehicle into paddocks (except with calfateria)
    Separate clothing/boots: No
    Housing of sale calves: In shed at dairy
    Quarantine area for sick calves: Taken back to shed near dairy

    Feed preparation and storage:

    Facilities (if in calf shed): Nil.

  • Layout

    Layout

    Layout of calf housing shed and paddock combined:

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