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Why do ranches use calf hutch?


Latest company news about Why do ranches use calf hutch?

Why do ranches use calf islands?



Calf rearing facilities, also known as calf islands, are facilities designed to separate calves from their mothers after birth, providing a relatively independent environment for the calves using partitions, similar to cribs for newborns. These facilities effectively separate calves from cows, allowing for proper artificial feeding and meeting the hygiene requirements of calf rearing environments while providing protection from wind and cold. Additionally, by reducing calf-to-calf contact, the risk of disease transmission within the calf group is minimized.


The use of calf islands aims to improve calf health and ensure optimal growth before weaning, a practice that has been successfully implemented worldwide for many years. Prior to weaning, calves have an underdeveloped immune system and are more susceptible to infectious pathogens. Therefore, calves are particularly vulnerable to pathogenic microorganisms before weaning, with high rates of illness typically observed during this period. It is widely recognized that reducing the risk of pathogen transmission through individual calf rearing can improve calf health, reduce illness rates, and prevent deaths without affecting behavior or future productivity.


Numerous studies have shown that the reduced incidence of illness and mortality associated with calf islands is primarily due to the isolation of calves, which reduces the risk of pathogen transmission. Furthermore, well-designed calf islands provide adequate natural ventilation, which can reduce the incidence of respiratory diseases.

Calf islands provide a separate environment for calves, making them an important form of calf rearing before weaning.

The significant advantage of individual calf rearing is the reduction in the spread of pathogens causing diseases.

The majority of diseases affecting calves before weaning are gastrointestinal or respiratory in nature, with most pathogens being transmitted through inhalation or fecal-oral routes. By isolating calves from direct contact with other calves and providing appropriate ventilation, individual calf rearing significantly reduces the spread of pathogens.

Properly designed calf islands maintain a dry and comfortable environment, which is crucial for calf health and weight gain. Regardless of whether calves are raised in calf islands, pens, or group housing, good ventilation is an important indicator of successful calf rearing, as it reduces the pathogen load in the environment. Additionally, ammonia and other toxic substances can damage the calf's immune system, making them more susceptible to pathogens. Well-designed calf islands can provide good ventilation.

Calf islands can be used in extremely cold regions.

Calves require special feed to provide sufficient protein and energy to generate heat.

Compared to calves raised in pens, calves in calf islands grow well, consume more starter feed, and require less treatment. Environmental temperature can affect calf activity in calf islands. In extremely cold weather (-25°C), calves primarily stay in the front portion of the calf island during the day and in the rear portion at night.

In such weather conditions, calves only consume feed during daylight hours when sunlight is available; they spend 90% of daylight hours standing and 90% of nighttime hours lying down. At 14°C, calf activity increases during nighttime hours. In hot weather, calves spend most of their time lying down in the rear portion of the calf island.

Additionally, clinical, physiological, and pathological findings suggest that cold weather conditions studied did not cause serious harm to the calves.

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