| Raising calves is arguably one of the most challenging and labor intensive jobs on the farm. However, recent studies indicate that group housing may be an option to reduce labor associated with raising calves. Research is also showing that there are additional benefits to the calf such as increased milk consumption, socialization and exercise.
Marina von Keyserlingk and Dan Weary animal welfare experts with the University of British Columbia shared key points that you should discuss when considering group housing. The following points were presented at the Cornell Nutrition Conference this fall:*
Effective group housing requires excellent management; do not attempt housing calves in groups if you are currently struggling with high rates of calf mortality and morbidity or if your farm struggles with ongoing problems with colostrum feeding.
*Reprinted with permission from Marina von Keyserlingk and Dan Weary.