Calves are more sociable and less fearful when kept in pairs. Studies on heifer calves showed that not only do they eat more solid food, but living with a companion helps them learn to socialise and they will be less submissive and perform better when they join the milking herd. A new spacious H&L Twin hutch from Calf Igloo Ltd. is designed for a pair to live together until 12 weeks old.
For many years calves have been kept in single hutches to allow for individual attention and to prevent the spread of disease. However, studies at the University of Guelph have shown that calves raised singly are more fearful of new situations and may be at the bottom of the pecking order when they join the dairy herd. Housing in pairs increased feed intake and weight gain. Researcher Dr.Alex Bach ( IRTA, Spain) also found that calves which join a group before weaning had higher dry feed intakes at weaning and suffered less of a post weaning check.
Historically some poorly designed single hutches are cramped, have poor air flow, are awkward to bed down, and inspection is difficult. The new hutch from has been developed addressing these welfare considerations. The H&L Twin Hutch from Calf Igloo Ltd.can be used for calves up to 12 weeks. It offers 5.8 sq.m. of space, enough for 2 bigger calves, or 3 smaller breed calves. The back door of the hutch opens to improve air quality and aid inspection and bedding down. The hutch is designed to attach to the Flexyfence which provides the exercise area. The Flexyfence is a unique design with lateral wheels which allow it to be wheeled to the washing area. It has an easy access personnel door to the calf training area, and there is space for a third milk bucket. The feed buckets are a shallow design, proven to encourage shy feeders to eat cake. A shared hutch means cost per head is greatly reduced compared to a single hutch.
The Calf Igloo company based in Herefordshire sell Holm & Laue equipment from Germany. Calf Igloo Ltd specialise in housing and management solutions for calves from birth to 3 months. Joff & Emma Roberts use these products on their own farm rearing 1000 calves per annum.