Heat stress affects dairy calf welfare and can result in morbidity, mortality, and lower weight gain. The purpose of this project was to evaluate the effects of elevating the back of plastic calf hutches on measures of ventilation and heat stress. A total of 15 calves housed in individual hutches were enrolled, with each calf hutch serving as its own control. Heat, humidity, carbon dioxide, and wind speed were measured inside each hutch and the observations were compared with external measurements over two 24-h periods; 1 period without and 1 with hutch elevation. Respiratory rates were measured in the morning and afternoon as an indicator of the degree of heat stress experienced by calves with and without elevation of the hutch. When the hutch was elevated, internal hutch temperatures were cooler than external temperatures, hutch carbon dioxide levels were lower and respiratory rates were lower, particularly comparing the afternoon observation periods.
Copyright © 2012 American Dairy Science Association. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.