3 November 1995

A HUNCH ON HUTCHES

YORKSHIRE producer Eddie Nicholson bought 12 calf hutches last January. He believes his hutch-reared calves are brighter and healthier at weaning than those reared in the stone-built calf house. And virus pneumonia problems have fallen considerably, not only in the hutch-reared calves, but also in calves reared inside due to reduced pressure on the calf house.

The Nicholsons rear about 150 calves a year from their all-year-round calving herd at Briscoe Farm. And since calves are not weaned until eight weeks old, the 40-pen calf house is full virtually all year.

The building is divided into three which allows calves to be reared in batches of three in rotation. Three batchs continue to be reared in the calf house, but for the fourth batch of 12 calves, its into the calf hutches.

This enables calves in the house to be put in alternate pens or to vacate one section of the building for a while, says Mr Nicholson.

The hutches are sited on a free-draining hard-core base with trees on one side of the site and stacked bales around the other three. Ideally, they should be southerly facing and have some form of windbreak around them, Mr Nicholson suggests.

Calves are tethered from a sliding attachment enabling them access to the rear of the hutch and up to four feed outside it. For the first two days, calves are restricted to the hutch by a hurdle at the front.

"We had problems initially with calves which wouldnt lie in the hutch. This was in January and with the farm on the east coast of Yorkshire and the cold north-easterly winds blowing in, some calves were catching a chill," says Mr Nicholson.

During recent hot months, calves have tended to lie inside in the day and outside at night, he says.

Once calves are weaned at eight weeks and the hutches vacated, each hutch and the area beneath it is power washed, lime is sprinkled on the hardcore and everything is then left to dry for two days. &#42


Buyers guide for calf hutches

SupplierNo. of CalvesCalf hutCost ofSuppliersmodels/hutchdimension (in)hutchTel.

JFC1*165x50x50£17001635 255405

Manufacturing

*model comes in green, grey or white, price includes chain & collar, bucket/teat/holder & meal bin.

Hayleys Calf-Tel186x42x52£17901992 578927

HutchesSE-£163*

*not including accessories and depends on number ordered.

Calf-Tel1Same as£21801992 578927 De-LuxeCalf-Tel SE-£200*

includes two buckets & holders, ridge-top ventilators and eye-bolts for lifting.

*not including accessories and depends on number ordered.

SCA NutritionHexa-Hut 169×57£220 01845 578125

(six-sided hut)

including bottle/holder/teat, with discounts for quantity.

FarmWright Single 155x51x51£149* 01805 623255

Marketingcalf model

*including gate & bucket rings.

Multi-calf5-6120x72x60£564*01805 623255

model

*including pen & bucket rings.

Andrew 15106×88£550*01237 441524

Macwilliam

Farm Supplies

*not including accessories.

Calf hutches should be sited on a free-draining base and ideally be sheltered form the prevailing wind.