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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: Chris Dornauf (Dornauf Dairies)

Location: Elizabeth Town, TAS

Structure type: Purpose built shed

Date built: 2009

Supplier: Kit supplied by local shed builder

Management system: Group

Total no. calves reared per year: 550-600

Calving pattern: 4 farms in 2 batches: Autumn (April/May) = 150-180, Spring (Aug/Sept) = 400

  • Copy Link Video tour

    Video tour

    Chris Dornauf 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.

  • Copy Link Images


    Images of the calf housing shed at Dornauf Dairies.

    Click to view in larger format.

  • Copy Link Shed specifications

    Shed specifications

    Shed structure:

    Construction materials: 

    Walls: zinc alum 
    Roof: zinc alum & skylights 
    Floor: concrete / gravel 
    External yard: pasture

    Aspect: Facing west to east - (wind from NW)


    Structure (LxWxH): 42m x 20m x 5m (4.2m at eaves) 
    External yard/calf paddock: 12 x 0.3Ha

    Roof Design:

    Pitch (1:4): Difference in height/width = central ridge 0.8m over 10m = 8% (1:12.5)
    Roof openings (50-75mm/3m width): Nil
    Overhang eves (900mm): Nil
    Roof height: lowest point 4.2m, highest point 5m

    Air space:

    Total air space (LxWxH): 3780m3
    Air space per calf at peak (6-8m3): 9.45m3


    Type: passive, forced - passive through open doors
    Cooling/airflow: 3 large roller doors to west. 1 large roller door (3m) to east, 6 small roller doors (2m) to sides 

    Shed capacity:

    Maximum no calves housed at peak: 400
    Month of peak use: Sept
    Age of calves entering & leaving shed (wks): <24 hours="" through="" to="" 60="">
    Labour requirements (total man-hours/day at peak use): 1 person takes 6 hours at peak (not including fetching milk & new calves)
    Labour hours / 50 calves at peak (total man-hours/50 calves/day): 0.75hours
    Other: Lighting 3 x metal halide globes -€“ used 24 hours per day at peak to encourage feed intake.

  • Copy Link Pen specifications

    Pen specifications

    Pen structure:

    Type: Group of 30 to 35 max.
    Wall height (mm): 1000mm
    Wall materials: (solid/mesh)
    Front: welded mesh on steel frame 
    Sides: welded mesh on steel frame 
    Back: zinc alum walls with 2m x 3m roller door

    Removable: Side walls swing back to wall and can be removed for cleaning
    Other: Gates on either side of calf feeding units; can drive ute to pens through central race for unloading

    Pen flooring:

    Type: Concrete, and gravel covered with deep wood shavings
    Drainage: Drainage of concrete at nib wall, 2-3% slope on concrete to nib wall
    Total floor space per pen (m2): 52m2
    Floor space per calf at peak capacity (m2): 52/30 = 1.7m2
    Other: Feeding, water etc kept on concrete area


    Type: Pine post peelings (wood)
    Minimum depth:150mm
    Maintenance: completely replaced for each batch
    Other: Handling and storage system for replacement bedding: composted and used as mulch on neighbouring berry farm

    Feed and water:

    Milk feeding system type: DeLaval automatic feeding units - 12 units servicing 12 pens. Controller - 1 for each 4 units (not networked). Calves fed up to 6L/day (2L every 8 hours)
    Milk delivery method: (pump, bucket, tank) Transported by 1,000L container to 2x refrigerated 3,000L vats in calf shed (milk lasts up to 30 days). Fed milk only - colostrum, antibiotic milk and sale milk if run out.
    Hay: hay racks in paddocks
    Pellets: auto feeders feed up to 2kg per calf, manually top up feeders
    Water: pig nipples in each pen, some paddocks have troughs
    Other: hot water service, wash drum & chemicals, underfloor pipes to supply refrigerated milk to feeder units.

  • Copy Link Other infrastructure

    Other infrastructure

    Cleaning & Disinfection:

    Type: batch / continuous flow batch
    Other: sometimes batches follow each other (pens cleaned in between). Lime over gravel, formalin wash over concrete parts.


    Boot / hand washing facilities: none
    Access restrictions: Shed door locked, gate locked to stop entry to area from public road
    Separate clothing/boots: none
    Housing of sale calves: Housed in another separate shed on another property
    Quarantine area for sick calves: Separate pen made at end of shed
    Other: closed herd but mixing calves from 4 different farms

    Feed preparation and storage:

    Facilities (if in calf shed): Sink, fridge, storage cupboard, records / filing cabinet. 

  • Copy Link Layout


    Layout of calf housing shed at Dornouf Dairies.

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