Friday, April 16, 2010

The Next Generation: At the Calf Nursery

A piece of the the farm vet's normal routine is to go to a calf nursery (calf ranch) to check up on the general health of the calves there. This includes discussing protocols with the owner and employees, looking at the feed, walking through the calf hutches to examine the calves, and addressing any issues that may be arising. We decided to take some photos and a video at one of these facilities. The calves are kept at the nursery for about the first two months of life. Here they are watched very closely as these first two months are critical for the animal to become strong and healthy.

The style of housing for the calves in this video is common for raising dairy calves, although there are other forms of housing used. These calf hutches provide shelter for wet weather and shade from the sun. The individual stalls make individual care much easier. The hutches are elevated off the ground so animal waste can easily be cleaned from the hutches and drained to a waste storage area. They are fed milk twice a day and given a grain mixture gradually as their stomachs develop. They have water available at all times. As you can see in the picture below, they have installed rubber nipples in each hutch where the calf can get water any time it pleases!

Here is a picture of the concrete waste drainage area. 

Don't forget to check out the video of our visit! Thanks for stopping by!


  1. I am thrilled to find you on facebook and to follow you on your blog! Thank you so much for letting me follow you around in your fantastic work as a rural vet!!!

  2. Thank you for visiting our blog and facebook page! The encouragement is wonderful as it's not always easy to put into words the amount of time and effort spent on taking care of animals. Thanks again!