20 March 1998

ENSURE PENS FIT FOR 2004

ALL calf housing should be appraised to ensure it will meet standards for new buildings set in 1994, and which will apply to all calf housing in 2004.

Harper Adams senior lecturer Jim Loynes told DRC members that some calf pens are inadequate according to new welfare regulations, despite being built to recommended sizes.

He said that pen sizes of 750mm (29.5in) wide for calves up to 60kg and 1m (39.4in) for calves from 60-80kg may not be sufficient. New regulations require pen widths to be greater than the height of the calf at its withers (shoulder). But a 60kg male calf can be 785mm (30.9in) at the withers, so a 750mm (29.5in) calf pen may be too narrow for calves by four-weeks of age. However, a 1m (39.4in) wide pen should suit calves to four months old.

Pens also need one perforated side wall so a calf can see its neighbour.

Wooden pen divisions may also become inappropriate, he warned. Regulations state that all materials and equipment that calves may come into contact with shall be capable of being thoroughly cleansed and disinfected. Wood can harbour bugs and it may become unsuitable, unless we can find a new way to disinfect it, he adds. &#42

Does your existing calf housing meet new welfare standards? It could

pay to find out whether it does.