An outdoor method of housing dairy calves in pairs using individual calf hutches




Wormsbecher, Lisa

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University of Guelph


The objective of this thesis was to determine whether pair housing dairy calves in hutches outdoors would result in similar weight gain and milk intake compared with individual housing in hutches, as well as determining use of the pen and interactions between pairs. Single calves (n=6/season) were housed in one hutch with an attached outdoor environment; paired calves (n=6 pairs/season) were given twice the resources. Calves were fed up to 16 L/d of milk replacer; daily milk intake and weekly weight gains were recorded. Behavioural observations were recorded live once per week for 5 (summer) or 4 (winter) non-consecutive periods. Paired and single calves had similar weight gain and milk intake, showing no difference in performance between treatments. Low occurrences of cross sucking and displacements at the teat were found. Housing calves in pairs using hutches can be a suitable alternative to housing calves individually in hutches outdoors.



calf, dairy, housing, social, pair housing, welfare