13th October 2023
Optimising calf housing with the support of Defra funding
Animal Health and Welfare Infrastructure grants
Defra has recently highlighted the importance of livestock welfare with the opening of the Calf Housing for Health and Welfare grant.
This initiative aims to enhance calf housing standards, focusing specifically on ventilation, temperature regulation, and overall air quality.
Why the grant can benefit your farm
Defra’s grant is designed to promote improved living conditions for calves. A significant emphasis is on ventilation, essential for preventing respiratory diseases, such as bovine respiratory disease (BRD), and ensuring optimal calf welfare and productivity. BRD is the most common cause of death in calves up to 6 months old, so using the grant to install systems to correct poor ventilation within calf housing represents real investment in the future health of the herd. By reducing BRD outbreaks, lifetime treatments associated with poor health during calfhood decrease, allowing vets to focus their time on the improvement of the herd as a whole, rather than just treating problem animals.
The perfect solution
Although fans and off-the-shelf positive pressure tube ventilation (PPTV) systems can go some way to improve air quality within housing, only made-to-measure units are eligible to be funded. Galebreaker is the only company in the UK who can create bespoke systems which are expertly tailored to suit the needs of calves and the requirements of the building, in conjunction with veterinary advice.
VentTube Fresh, a PPTV system, can provide controlled ventilation by bringing fresh air in and forcing it along a tube with holes that angle air directly where calves need it most.
Every VentTube Fresh is designed to provide a calculated supply of fresh, equally dispersed air at animal level to remove moisture, gases, airborne pathogens and excess heat from livestock environments.
In addition to using the grant funding to improve calf health and welfare through ventilation, there is the opportunity to upgrade the cladding and protection of calf sheds.
These forms of weather protection support with maximising ventilation and can include mesh cladding in place of traditional boarding. Both our series of Rollerscreens and Bayscreens work in harmony with VentTube Fresh. Both these solutions for weather protection are suitable for a wider range of shed and barn sizes and can be fitted by an individual on the farm with no need for external labour costs.
Find out the advantages and disadvantages of different weatherproofing solutions for your sheds here.
This is a prime opportunity to enhance the health and welfare of your calves and solutions such as VentTube Fresh, Rollerscreens and Bayscreens are all top-tier solutions for those aiming to fully leverage this grant.