Research Article
Volume 5 Issue 7 - 2020
Cement Hutches Over Metal Boxes for Dairy Heifer Calves: Weaning Performance and Health
A Pazoki1, D Akbari1, MH Khabbazan2 and A Nikkhah2,3*
1Ghiam Animal Husbandry and Agriculture Co., Isfahan, Iran
2Ferdows Pars Agriculture-Livestock Holding Co., Tehran, Iran
3Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran
*Corresponding Author: A Nikkhah, Chief Highly Distinguished Professor, Ferdows Pars Agriculture-Livestock Holding Co and Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.
Received: May 27, 2020; Published: June 10, 2020


Calf welfare plays a critical role in determining future health and performance of dairy cows as profitable milk producers. It was hypothesized that calves housed in cement hutches vs. metal/iron boxes would have superior growth performance. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of housing type (cement hutches vs. iron boxes) on average daily gain (ADG) until weaning and body weight (BW) at weaning of Holstein heifer calves in a commercial setting. Forty one Holstein heifer calves were randomly assigned to either cement hutches (n = 17) or iron boxes (n = 24) in a completely randomized design study from birth until weaning. Dimensions were 1.2 × 3m2 for cement hutches and 1 × 1.2m2 for metal/iron boxes. Bedding materials for cement hutches were sand and for iron boxes were plastic nets. Calf growth performance until weaning and the occurrence of diarrhea and pneumonia were determined. Data were analyzed using linear mixed models of SAS program. Results demonstrated that calves housed in cement hutches with soft sand bedding vs. iron boxes with plastic net bedding had superior (P < 0.01) weaning BW (83.6 vs. 75.8 kg) and ADG (656 vs. 581 g/d) and lower rate of pneumonia (1.2 vs. 17%), respectively. The cost of bedding for each calf was 22800 Toman in cement hutches and 58000 Toman in iron boxes. In conclusion, cement hutches with soft sand bedding proved to be much more economical and more favorable for calf growth and health over iron boxes with plastic net bedding.

Keywords: Calf; Cement Hutch; Iron Box; Economy; Housing; Weaning Growth


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Citation: A Pazoki., et al. “Cement Hutches Over Metal Boxes for Dairy Heifer Calves: Weaning Performance and Health”. EC Veterinary Science 5.7 (2020): 26-30.

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