Keep your calf comfortable with proper housing

Our homes are a very important part of our everyday lives. What it looks like, what it feels like, where it is and who lives there are all factors that impact how we go about our days. Just like our homes are an essential aspect of our lives, your calf’s housing is an essential aspect of theirs. Make sure you know how to make your calf most comfortable using these tips.

Outdoor protection
Cattle are social animals, but it is best to house your newborn calves individually until they are weaned. If you are planning to house your calves outdoors, hutches made of sturdy plastic or fiberglass are a popular choice. To best protect your calf from the various weather conditions, place your hutch on a well-drained surface, such as sand or gravel, and face it southward. In order to ensure the hutch stays in place during windy conditions, secure it with stakes.

Indoor protection
If you plan on housing your calves inside a barn or shed, they will need about 35 square feet of space with adequate ventilation without direct drafts, reducing moisture, animal odors and gasses that could cause respiratory illnesses. To confirm your barn has adequate ventilation, look for condensation on the walls or ceiling and check for ammonia odors. Place windows, fans or inlets around the ceiling perimeter to allow fresh air from the outside to mix with the warm air inside before coming into contact with your newborn calf.

Preparing for the freeze
Prepare for cold winters by providing your newborns with fresh, thick layers of clean and dry bedding. You can use straw or shavings to insulate them from the cold ground. If you have multiple calves at once, keep them far enough apart that they are unable to have nose-to-nose contact. This, and sanitizing hutches thoroughly between calves, will prevent the spread of any possible disease.

With these tips, you can build your calf a home that will help keep them healthy and comfortable, allowing them to thrive from the start.

Learn more about calf care and nutrition and follow My Farm Journey on Facebook and Instagram to stay updated with more tips.

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