A practical example of the benefits of calf hutches is explained in an article written on the website of Farmers Weekly (Great Brittain). In this article, herd manager Graham Carter, explains that his herd had many health problems. Almost 70% of his calves suffered from pneumonia. The vet that was called out identified that poor ventilation and calves of different ages, housed in groups in the same barn were the main cause of the health problems. Other possible causes were exposure to pathogens (bugs) from older calves and heifers, stress from being in groups with calves of different ages.
When the staff recognized the size of the problems, they decided to look for alternatives that would solve theirs. After some research they came across calf hutches that were being used successfully. New youngstock manager, Tom Moore, suggested to buy some hutches for a test run.
The hutches have been installed 4 months since then and the health problems, especially with pneumonia and cryptosporidium (causing scours) were gone. Some things they had to consider were how they would have to place the hutches, since wind direction and a drained bedding are imortant factors for calf health.
Mr Moore identified several benefits from using hutches in stead of the old barn. He expects to have huge savings in vet and medical costs. Also, the calves will have much better growth results, infection rate is a lot less because of the individual housing. Overall control and identifying problems is much better.
This practical example shows that using calf hutches can have many benefits compared to traditinal group housing with calves of different ages in the same barn. This is especially true for calves with an age in the range from newborn calves untill calves of 6 – 7 weeks old. They are the most vulnerable to diseases, since theit immune system is not completely developed. On top of that, they are the lowest in rank, causing stress which will then challenge their immature immune system. Since calf health is central to producing well-grown, productive replacements, proper housing for the youngest calves is of the utmost importance. More information about the benefits of calf hutches you can find here.