The most efficient cattle operations never consider tidy housing a waste of time. Washing, tidying and maintaining a hygienic cattle shed has financial, health and time benefits down the line.

Here are the reasons it is particularly important for calves to have a tidy shed.

cow shed clean bire

Image Source

Calves have a poor immune system

If your shed is covered in harmful bacteria then your calves are at risk from the moment they hit the ground. Minimise this risk by powerwashing your byre before the calving season starts and by powerwashing calving pens once a cow and calf leaves.

Calves are particularly vulnerable at birth because they haven’t got a well developed immune system yet.

There is no vaccine to combat calf-prone viruses like cryptosporidium so keeping the calving box hygienic and disinfected is key to avoid it and other diseases from building up.

Calf running

Better ventilation means less chance of pneumonia.

This has more to do with planning (and altering) your shed design, but better ventilation is important at calving time too. In well-ventilated sheds, animals are shown by research to perform better, as they are less likely to develop respiratory infections or pneumonia.

Badly ventilated sheds retain too much moisture in the air which then promotes harmful bacteria growth.

Calves spend 80% of their time lying down

Because of this, and their poor immune system, it is vital that you refresh their straw bedding often before it gets too dirty. This has the added benefit of keeping them warm.

calf lying down newborn

You’ll know where everything is

In the case of a difficult calving, you need to have everything you need on hand and ready to go. The last thing that needs to happen during a time-intense breech birth is for you to have to climb around barrels and over boxes to get your stuff together.

Luckily enough for the Moocall calving sensor, you can strap it to the cow!

Luca Bergia cow red strap

 

Certain minerals are harmful to calves

Most farmers aren’t calving all year around, so calving pens will be empty for a time. This does not mean you can store things there when they are.

Calving boxes should be left clean and dry during the summer, and shouldn’t be used to store minerals that could be potentially harmful to calves.

If you enjoyed this blog post feel free to share it with your friends. If you have any thoughts on what was said here be sure to tell us in the comments.

man powerwashing cow shed

Image source