Calf pen size requirements
Calf pens and calf hutches need to comply with legislation. According to European legislation (S.I. 14/2008) calves are allowed to be housed individually until the age of 8 weeks. The width of the calf hutch is required to be at least equal to the height of the calf at the withers and is required to have a length that should be at least 10% greater than the body length of the calf, measured from the tip of the calf’s nose to the caudal end of the pin bone.
The required calf hutch dimensions for group hutches are based on the weight of a calf. The following dimensions apply to calves kept in groups:
|Weight in kilogrammes||Square meters per calf|
Other calf housing requirements
Besides the restriction with respect to calf hutch dimensions, the dairy farmer should take into account the other factors that impact a calf’s well-being. Young calves are susceptible to pneumonia, which means that calves should have access to fresh air. Furthermore it is legally required that a calf can half tactile and visual contact with other calves. Walls should therefore be perforated or have an opening to enable the calf to have visual and tactile contact. It may not be legally required, but calves should lie on a dry, well drained bed and protected from draughts.