Calves can also suffer from heat (part 2)

Despite their large body surface area in relation to their weight, calves also suffer from heat stress.

This affects calves particularly badly when there is insufficient cooling at night.

For example, when the ambient temperature at animal level does not fall below 23° Celsius at night.

Usually in summer, with problematic ventilation in calf igloo and/or calf shelters.




1. Provide shade:

Place hutches and shelters under shady trees or a roof. If this is not possible, use a " sun screen ". 

This is placed about one metre above the hutches and shelters and already reduces the temperature in the calf's immediate environment by 3 to 4° Celsius.


2. Atomising water cools:

I am absolutely NOT in favour of nebulising.

If you want to use nebulising, make sure that the hutches and shelters inside remain dry (preferably also outside) and that the calves have enough space to move freely inside and outside.

Spraying near the pens and shelters works best.


3. During warm periods, place the opening of the hudges and shelters facing east:

From the east, air velocity is highest and direct sunlight in the hudges and shelters is lowest during the day.


4. Provide sufficient distance between hudges and shelters:

To ensure sufficient air circulation, the distance between them should be at least 1.50 metres.

If the hudges and shelters are placed in several rows facing each other, the distance between rows should be at least 3.5 metres.


5. Place the calf igloo and calf pens slightly higher from the ground at the back:

When using calf igloos without a solid floor, you can place them on bricks or concrete blocks at the back.

This increases the air circulation at floor level. 

Some people use car tyres, but these block much more of the opening than bricks or concrete blocks.


My experience is that calves housed for long periods in igloos on straw push the straw backwards so that the opening at the bottom is blocked, (especially when using car tyres).


Source text and  photo: Ronald Rongen