The first fourteen days in the life of a calf are crucial for the animal’s health, and its future development. The accommodation has a huge influence. The calf deserves a clean, dry and warm environment. In a clean cubicle, with a thick layer of straw.
The risk of diarrhoea is a problem during the first few weeks. “Make sure you have enough cubicles,” recommends Lieke Janssen, young cattle specialist at Agrifirm in The Netherlands. “Cleaning, disinfecting and leaving cubicles unoccupied for a few days guarantees the lowest possible infection load in the cubicle.”
As a rule of thumb, plan to have enough cubicles for 15% of the number of dairy cows. In other words, 15 cubicles for a herd of 100 dairy cows. “If you have too few cubicles, the infection load is high, because a new calf soon has to be placed in the cubicle, after the first calf has moved on. Sooner or later you will end up with problems, expenditure and annoyance. And that will cost you more than buying a few additional cubicles.”
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