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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Housing Youngstock for Success

The ultimate goals of all calf and heifer raising programs are to optimize growth and to minimize health problems. Threats to calf & heifer health and growth include poor air quality/airborne pathogens, drafts, extreme heat and cold, and filthy living conditions.

In order to combat these threats, basic calf and heifer housing needs must be met:
  • Dry, comfortable resting area
  • Excellent air quality and ventilation (draft-free)
  • Convenient access to feed and water
  • Confident footing
The basic housing needs above apply to animals at all stages of growth. However, housing needs based on dietary requirements, social issues, management needs, and environmental needs will vary by stage of growth. It is because of this that the Penn State Extension Dairy Team recommends creating many separate groups for youngstock. As a guideline, Penn State provides the following as suggested Holstein calf and heifer housing space requirements:

Source: "Dairy Systems Planning and Building Series: Youngstock Housing Needs" Penn State Technology Tuesday Webinar hosted by Dr. Jud Heinrichs, John T. Tyson, and Dan F. McFarland on January 8, 2013.

*Photo of calf by Peggy Greb, USDA online image gallery.

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