Individual calf hutches are the proven system to consistently produce healthier calves with higher weaning weights. Fresh air is a prerequisite to minimising respiratory disease and scour in young calves.
An expert group assembled by Animal Health Ireland reported in the Irish Veterinary Journal that
“Individual housing of dairy calves, either indoors or outside, is generally linked with improved calf health. There is long-term recognition of the benefit to dairy calf health of outdoor housing in hutches, especially for the prevention of diarrhoea and respiratory disease. Hutches have been associated with lower morbidity and mortality in dairy calves”
What to look out for when you are buying a calf hutch?
It is important to have easy access to the calf hutch to examine the calf but also to teach the young calf how to find the teat in the first few days. The gate on our hutch is made from the same high strength polyethylene as the hutch. The gate has stainless steel hinges and is easily opened by the operator but is impossible for the calf to open.
Size matters; The hutches need to be big enough to comfortably accommodate the calf for 8 weeks but not so large that they take up excessive space. The Invet hutch is 1.7m long and 1.2m wide, the outside pen is 1.475m X 1.2m
The Invet hutch has 2 adjustable roof vents to maximise air changes.
The door of our hutch is 945mm high and 470mm wide which is the appropriate size for a calf up to 8 weeks old. Hutches with very large door openings can become wet or cold when the prevailing wind changes direction.
All Invet hutches have as standard:
A 6 litre bucket for water.
A 7 litre bucket with teat for milk
A secure waterproof box for meal feeding