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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: 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) 

  • Video tour

    Video tour

    Stuart Tweddle takes us on a tour of his calf housing shed.

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

  • Images

    Images

  • Shed specifications

    Shed specifications

    Shed structure:

    Construction materials: 
    Walls: polyethylene/plastic
    Roof: polyethylene/plastic
    Floor: sawdust on soil
    External yard: sawdust on soil

    Aspect: Hutches and igloos doors open to the north

    Dimensions:
    Shed structure:
    Hutches - 2200 x 1300 x 1500mm

    External yard/calf paddock:
    Hutches -€“ 2000 x 1400mm
    Igloos -€“ 4800 x ~3500mm (av)

    Roof Design:

    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

    Air space:

    Total air space (LxWxH): N/A
    Air space per calf at peak (6-8m3): N/A

    Ventilation:

    Type: Passive
    Cooling/airflow:
    Adjustable hatch to south side (opened fully in hot weather)
    Ventilation slots along top of roof
    Open door to the north

    Shed capacity: 

    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

  • Pen specifications

    Pen specifications

    Pen structure:

    Type: Individual to 3 weeks then grouped in batches of 10
    Wall height (mm): 1500 mm
    Wall materials: 
    Weld mesh wall for hutch pens
    4.2m gates for igloos

    Pen flooring:

    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): 
    Hutch: 5.2m2
    Igloo: 2.8m2

    Bedding:

    Type: Sawdust ($30/m3)
    Minimum depth: 75mm
    Maintenance: 
    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

    Feed and water:

    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 infrastructure

    Other infrastructure

    Cleaning & Disinfection:

    Type: batch
    Other: New site & sawdust for each calf/batchHutches & igloos scrubbed with Vircon at end of season.

    Biosecurity:

    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

    Feed preparation and storage:

    Facilities (if in calf shed): Fresh milk at dairy, heated in 250L milk taxi to 30oC and towed down to calf paddock. 

  • Layout

    Layout

    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

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