Research has established a link between calf and heifer housing and calf health. To determine current calf and heifer housing practices in Pennsylvania, 329 dairy farms were surveyed. The study was designed to increase awareness on the part of dairy farmers in housing and management and to develop education programs and materials in the area of calf and heifer management. All surveys were conducted on the farm by personal interviews. Results showed 24.9% of the farms had maternity pens in a building separate from the milking herd, although half of these farms used maternity pens in conjunction with facilities of lesser quality for the health and management of the animals. The same number of farms used calf hutches as those keeping calves in dairy barns with cows. A high percentage of the farms weaned calves (moved from milk diets to dry feed diets) to recommended types of facilities that included group pens, loose housing, and group or superhutches. However, 49.5% of the facilities used for weaned calves were in conjunction with other dairy animals. Animal restraint facilities have also been identified as an area that needs more emphasis on dairy farms. Many areas of dairy replacement housing on commercial dairy farms were determined to be unsatisfactory according to recommended Pennsylvania standards.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Animal Science and Zoology