Calf shed design

Discussion in 'Buildings & Infrastructure' started by Sparkymark, Apr 20, 2017.

  1. Sparkymark

    Sparkymark Member

    Im planning on putting a new shed for dairy youngstock 0-6 months. The site is a max 60'x120'.
    Currently we start calves off in single pens for a couple of weeks then move into groups of 5 on teat feeders.
    I had in mind a central access passage with straw pens down each side. Perhaps separated by concrete panels and gates on the fronts. The back of the new shed would back onto the side of the milking parlour which would be handy for a calving/sick cow pen.
    Anybody have any tips/advice on this?
    Any pictures of successful buildings would be handy.
    How high to the eaves should i go?
    How should i clad the sides, Yorkshire boarding or curtains?
    teemore.eng and coomoo like this.
  2. zyklon

    zyklon Member

    I need to do a new outfit myself so I am also interested in other people's input.

    I plan to have a separate shed for new born calves up to 2/3 weeks. Single pens divided using concrete panels or block built with gates on the front of each pen. I have also looked into dividing the pens using clear Perspex so calves can see each other but need a way to seal each pen using this method so I can hot wash and disinfect each pen without interfering with the pens next to it.

    There will be no raised floor in the pens like the pens you see with wooden floors. The most stupid design in calf pen design in my opinion.

    I will then do another shed for calves that come out of those pens and have them in batches. These batch pens will need to be designed so I can use an automatic milk feeder so run off from milk cleaning will need to be considered. Drainage is a massive factor. New sheds I see now have a drain at the back of the pen along the wall with a slight slope in the floor to it instead of the waste running to the front of the pens.

    What I have learnt is calving, new born, batched all need to be seperated to reduce the spread of disease etc so 3 sheds it will be. I have even considered have two new born sheds so one is always empty, washed and disinfected waiting to swap over at stages to allow the other to be washed and disinfected and left empty for a period of time.

    Sparkymark asked a good question regarding shed height and sheeting material. I was told to use different materials on different sides based on wind direction. Spaced timber on one side, sheets with the holes in it on another and sealed maybe on another. Depends on your location of your shed as you don't want drafts but plenty of air ventilation.
    teemore.eng likes this.
  3. I've only done two proper calf buildings. One was purely for calves with there health too priority and the other more as a show building on an open farm.

    The one done for health was 80x45 I think. 10' to the eaves with a 22 degree roof and vented ridge. 5' panels around the sides and tins above them. But the tins stopped 1' off the roof providing a gap for air to get through. Idea is air is moving all the time but where the calves are isn't breezy. The panels then had stock board glued to them so the calves didn't lie against the panels and get cold
    Forever Fendt and Sparkymark like this.
  4. Sparkymark

    Sparkymark Member

    For the individual pens, i have the black plastic solway recycling ones. I was thinking of just dismantling these and take away for washing when it came to grouping calves. That way theres no moving calves around and they stay in the original big pen for the duration they are in the shed.
    Then setup the individual pens up in the next clean pen ready for another batch. Anyone doing this?
    coomoo, Stu and zyklon like this.
  5. pine_guy

    pine_guy Member

    North Cumbria
    Sounds sensible
  6. zyklon

    zyklon Member

    I have never seen the black solway pens and that's actually quite a good idea. Never thought of doing it that way.
  7. Dr. Alkathene

    Dr. Alkathene Member

    North West
    Wouldn't bother with a vented ridge for calves. Top and bottom opening doors to the outside of the pens, so you can open the top to let air in maybe an projection out over them to keep worst of wind driven rain out. I would have another set of hinges with a frame covered in mesh to keep bloody birds out while doors are open in good weather.
  8. Zippy768

    Zippy768 Member

    Just make sure you can clean empty pens out with a machine!!!
    We have a central passage way with 4 20x22 feet pens either side, with concrete walls dividing those pens.
    Then each pens has 10 individual calf pens, 5 each side. Calves are then weaned and moved in groups of 10. The calf pens dismantled, washed and disinfected, and the machine cleans out the whole pen.
    Easiest and quickest way
  9. pine_guy

    pine_guy Member

    North Cumbria
    Would disagree with that. Vent ridges on all buildings that will house livestock. Side openings do not provide ventilation alone.
  10. zyklon

    zyklon Member

    Cleaning out with a telehandler is always in my mind. I also thought of putting a roller door in each bay and just drive straight into the pen for cleaning out. Unless you have a major wide passage in front of the pens, getting the machine twisted in isn't easy so open the roller door and in you go.
  11. Sparkymark

    Sparkymark Member

    What width central passage? If i go with a 60 foot wide shed should i make it 3 bays wide giving me a 20 foot passage? Should give pivot steer plenty of access space. I have a skid steer anyways.
    Thomas-milmain likes this.
  12. Zippy768

    Zippy768 Member

    We have a 15 foot central passage. Just enough room for pivot steer jcb loading shovel but a bit too tight for tele handler.
  13. Forever Fendt

    Forever Fendt Member

    Same design here but with 18" overhang on both sides and sheeting stoping short of top by a little over 1',ventilation and health wise works great the issues seam to arise when calves moved from calf house to the next building 16' to eaves with 8' concrete wall and boarding above on one side and 3 sides open, there needs to be some half way house between the 2 buildings
  14. pine_guy

    pine_guy Member

    North Cumbria
    Do you group and move buildings at the same time? Added stress? Just a thought. I like the idea earlier of individual pens that you take down to group animals in same area. I find older cattle that have lived in pens next to each other with gaps big enough to get there head through settle well when mixed, even mature bulls on occasions ( not mixed deliberately, they got gate open, but were happy). The down side with the Solway pens is they are solid, but I realise from a hygiene point if view, that is a good thing.
  15. Forever Fendt

    Forever Fendt Member

    Not my building i am talking of ones built for a customer 8/10 years ago the calf house has individual pens to one side and group pens on the opposite side of a central passage way, pens 15ft x12ish all with gates that fold back and posts on sockets that can be removed and the whole shed cleaned out and power washed , 11 bays long with a bay in the middle for mixing and storing powder ect so in effect 2 separate sheds but joined together, in my opinion i would have more slope on the floor for drainage i agree with what you say regarding stress and moving them and changing things around i just think they have two much of a change from calf house to fatting pen as maybe 20 calves start of in a pen the same size and designs as one for 20 finished animals.The key i think to good calf house designs is the 22 deg roof pitch 6ft walls with cladding and a free vent about a foot along the top of cladding and a vented ridge as stated by @RWG Contracts, i do like the idea of the mini overhang on the roof as this does stop the howling wind and any driving rain
  16. Turboman

    Turboman Member

    Any thoughts on one of those sausage type fans for fresh air into a calf house?
  17. Co down man

    Co down man Member

    I've just put one up in my calf house after a pneumonia epidemic.
    Seems to get working well so far!
    Turboman likes this.
  18. zyklon

    zyklon Member

    Has anyone a pic of this mini overhang?
  19. Just be a little overhang, same as you put for a feed passage
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  20. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Member

    First thing to do is work out how many calves you need to "process". 0-6 months is too big an age range IMO for one building.

    We built a bespoke shed for 0-8 week olds (weaning age) of 80'x30'x12' in 4 bays using bay one for new borns in slatted individual pens before grouping them to a max of 10 in each of the other bays until weaned where they are moved to another shed.
    Roof is clad in Profile 6 with small ridge vents. Prevailing wind gable is castle board with one side yorkshire boarded and the far gable in vented sheet.
    Only trouble is that we have expanded quicker than we thought and have had to add a lean-to of similar size & use Galebreaker roller doors on the bays
    Next thing is to buy some lorry curtains for the more sheltered side that occasionally gets a cold wind .

    As previously noted by others, access for a machine to muck out (hence eave height) is crucial.

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