This case study outlines information, specifications, and videos about calf housing sheds built with calf comfort in mind.
Farmer's name: Stuart Tweddle
Location: Darum 3822
Structure type: 40 hutches & 2 Igloos
Approx cost: $500 per hutch (Calf-Tel Pro II), $5,000 per igloo (no longer available from supplier in Australia)
Date built: Purchased in 2010
Supplier: Daviesway, Warragul
Management system: Individual hutches from 1 day - 3 weeks of age, groups of 10 calves per igloo from 3 to 9 weeks of age
Total no. calves reared per year: 300 calves per year; calves continuously over 7 months (April - Nov each year)
Calving pattern: Calves continuously over 7 months (April - Nov)
Stuart Tweddle takes us on a tour of his calf housing shed.
Video takes approx 15 secs to start after clicking the 'play' icon.
Floor: sawdust on soil
External yard: sawdust on soil
Aspect: Hutches and igloos doors open to the north
Hutches - 2200 x 1300 x 1500mm
External yard/calf paddock:
Hutches - 2000 x 1400mm
Igloos - 4800 x ~3500mm (av)
Pitch (1:4): Difference in height/width: N/A
Roof openings (50-75mm/3m width): Ventilation to rear and on peak
Overhang eves (900mm): Size: N/A
Roof height: Lowest point: 1400mm / Highest point: 1500mm
Total air space (LxWxH): N/A
Air space per calf at peak (6-8m3): N/A
Adjustable hatch to south side (opened fully in hot weather)
Ventilation slots along top of roof
Open door to the north
Maximum no calves housed at peak:
1/hutch (40 hutches)
10/igloo (2 igloos)
Month of peak use: April - September
Age of calves entering & leaving shed (wks): N/A
Labour requirements (total man-hours/day at peak use): 40 mins to feed calves twice daily
Labour hours / 50 calves at peak (total man-hours/50 calves/day): 80 mins/50 calves (including feed preparation) Other: Brought up to dairy 1-2x daily. Given colostrum & Ig supplement (Kick Start), tagged & taken to hutch
Type: Individual to 3 weeks then grouped in batches of 10
Wall height (mm): 1500 mm
Weld mesh wall for hutch pens
4.2m gates for igloos
Type: Sawdust over pasture
Drainage: Slight slope in paddock. Hutches pout at bottom of slope first, some drainage lines cut in paddock, New site for each calf
Total floor space per pen (m20):
Hutch: (2200+1800) x (1300+1250) = 5.2m2
Igloo: (4.2x3.5)+(4m circular igloo) = ~28m2
Floor space per calf at peak capacity (m2):
Type: Sawdust ($30/m3)
Minimum depth: 75mm
Hutch: Sawdust put in place then hutch put on top of this. No top up required unless really wet (hutch moved to new site for next calf).
Igloo: Sawdust put in place. Igloo added. New site per batch.
Other: Left to compost on site. Limed and smudged at end of season
Milk feeding system type: Milk taxi to individual calf feeder. Calves given 2.5L warm fresh milk twice daily
Milk delivery method: Heated milk taxi (250L) pumped into feeders.
Hay: hay basket hung off gates
Pellets: pellet trough inside igloo
Other: 2.5L twice daily for all calvesAdlib pellets & hay for calves over 3 weeks.
Other: New site & sawdust for each calf/batchHutches & igloos scrubbed with Vircon at end of season.
Boot / hand washing facilities: none
Access restrictions: Traffic kept to designated track along side/bottom of slope and away from calves
Separate clothing/boots: none
Housing of sale calves: Yes - in separate shed at front to farm
Quarantine area for sick calves: Treated in igloo, (mortality to weaning less than 2%)
Other: Given colostrum from fresh cow when first collected (with 24 hours of birth), also immunoglobulin supplement ASAP. Use 'Queen of Calves' probiotic/energy supplement in milk fed twice daily
Facilities (if in calf shed): Fresh milk at dairy, heated in 250L milk taxi to 30oC and towed down to calf paddock.
Dimensions (external) of shed and external yards
Arrangement and dimensions of internal pens
Layout of main areas (feed prep, quarantine, pens, paths etc) within the shed