Provide separate areas for resting and feeding. Feeding in resting areas increases manure accumulation and more bedding is required to keep animals clean and dry.
Adequate resting space for management groups is a key factor in efficient growth. Required space for different housing alternatives including bedded resting areas, self-cleaning resting areas (solid, sloped floors) and freestalls are shown in Tables 3 and 4.
Feeding and watering space
Provide adequate feeding space, so young stock do not have to compete for feed. Optimum feeding space varies with type of feed, feeding schedule and animal size, Fig 1 and Tables 5 and 6.
Water is essential at all times. Provide at least one watering space per 20 animals. Dairy heifers need 1-1,5 gal of water daily per 100 lb body weight. Select waterers that are easy to clean; protect them from freezing. Locate waterers on elevated curbs and in a location that allows easy manure removal around them. Adjust waterer height to allow small animal access.
Handling and treatment facilities
Fig. 1 Post and rail feeding fence.
See the Table 5 for neck rail and throat heights.nimal treatment areas are a necessary part of the replacement housing system. Vaccinations, artificial insemination, pregnancy checking, deworming, dehorning and examinations are done easily and safely for animals and workers when animals can be separated and restrained easily. Equipment that eases labor and saves time in handling animals are:
Self-locking feed stanchions.
Squeeze chute/breeding chute.
Locate a work room near calf housing for feed storage, a refrigerator/freezer, hot water heater, cleaning sink, health records and supplies. This area can be used to prepare milk replacer and clean feeding equipment.
Feed and bedding storage
Store bedding and feed in the building or nearby. Reduce daily hauling and feeding time by storing a one to two weeks supply. Storage space depends on animal density, feeding frequency and feed availability.
Table 2. Calf and transition housing.
0—2 months (individual pens)
Calf hutch (plus 4'x6' outdoor run)
Tie stall (warm housing only)
3-5 months (groups up to 6 head)
Super calf hutch
Table 3. Replacement heifer resting area space requirements.
Self-cleaning resting area3,ft2
Bedded resting area4, ft2
Slotted floor, ft2
Paved outside lot, ft2
Do not use
Do not use
32 (4'x8' hutch)
Do not use
Do not use
Do not use
Do not use
Table 4. Heifer freestall dimensions.
Stall width measured o. c. of 2" pipe stall dividers.
Stall length measured from alley side of curb to front of stall.
Height above stall bed, in
Distance from back curb, in
Table 5. Suggested dimensions for post and rail feeding fences.
Throat height, in
Neck rail height, in
Table 6. Feed space requirements.
Hay or silage
Mixed ration or grain
Hay, silage, or ration
Cold housing is the recommended system for raising replacement animals. Cold housing building systems provide a dry and draft-free environment in winter, and wind ventilation and shade in summer. The building is usually uninsulated and has natural ventilation designed as an integral part of the building. Indoor temperature follows outside temperature very closely.
Advantages of a cold housing are:
Less expensive to build.
Less expensive to ventilate and heat.
Better disease control.
During cold weather, disadvantages of a cold housing are:
Freezing can make manure handling difficult.
Waterers must be protected from freezing.
Frostbite of calves ears may be a problem.
Increased feed required to maintain body heat.
A warm housing system is less desirable for raising replacements. Typically environmentally controlled systems are improperly managed resulting in health and growth problems. The buildings are typically insulated heavily and a controlled mechanical ventilation system delivers fresh outside air. Properly designed inlets allow fresh outside air to be evenly distributed throughout the entire structure.
Design mechanical ventilation systems in calf barns to provide minimum continuous exchange of air, Table 7. Because the number of calves and young heifers in a facility vary, design mechanical ventilation systems for a range of stocking rates.
Calf housing (up to weaning)
Calves and young heifers are very susceptible to respiratory illness and other diseases. Keep calves less than two months old in clean, dry, draft-free facilities with adequate space, bedding and fresh air. Separate calves to reduce disease transfer from nose-to-nose contact. Separate calf groups from older animals to minimize exposure to disease organisms. Keep calves in individual pens in an enclosed building or individual hutches until weaning. After weaning they can be moved to small group pens.
Hutches in Cold Housing
Fig. 2 Calf hutch
alf hutches have proven to be an excellent way to house calves. Only one calf occupies each hutch. Typical hutches are 4'x8'x 4'. Fig 2 illustrates plywood construction. Leave one end of the hutch open and provide a wire fence enclosure so the calf can move outside. Optional tethers can be used where predators are not a problem. Seal tightly all other sections of the hutch, except for the front and bottom, to reduce the wind blowing through the hutch in winter. During summer, the rear of the hutch can be blocked up 6" to allow for cross ventilation or design an opening in the rear of the hutch with a tight fitting door.
There are also a variety of prefabricated plastic/fiberglass hutches on the market. Hutches made of a translucent material require shade in summer. Summer shade reduces heat stress on all types of hutches. Provide enough shade to allow hutches to be moved.
Fig. 3 Protecting calf hutches