When constructing a calving shed, careful planning is crucial to ensure the comfort and safety of your livestock and the efficiency of your operation. When ordering a calving shed, whether expanding an existing facility or starting from scratch, here are some key considerations.

The space, its size and design.

Determine the number of animals your calving shed will accommodate. This includes considering future expansion plans and accounting for the space needed for calving pens, feeding areas, and storage. 

A well-designed shed provides easy access, efficient workflow, and sufficient space for cattle and caregivers. You must follow legal obligations to create enough space for each calf to stand and lie comfortably and avoid overcrowding, which affects calf growth and elevates the risk of disease transmission. 

Make it comfortable and healthy for the animals.

Ensure optimal ventilation. Sufficient ventilation allows clean air to circulate, reducing the risk of ammonia and pneumonia. Striking a balance is essential, as excessive draught can lead to discomfort and cold stress in calves.

Ensure sufficient sunlight exposure. Calves undergo significant immune system development during their first 12 weeks of life, and exposure to sunlight can contribute to their overall health, as sunlight possesses natural disinfecting properties, particularly beneficial in environments with closely confined animals. Incorporating clear light panels in the shed's roof can maximise natural light, aiding in pen disinfection and providing warmth for the calves.

Control the condensation issues. Moisture can increase the risk of respiratory problems in your cattle, so ensuring adequate ventilation can help mitigate condensation. Utilising materials with anti-condensation properties can also help it further. Consider special materials featuring anti-condensation fleece layers, which can reduce moisture buildup and contribute to maintaining a healthy environment for your calves.

Carefully plan for utilities and infrastructure.

Plan for essential utilities such as water, electricity, and waste management. Adequate nighttime lighting is crucial for late-night calving checks, and easy access to water ensures proper hydration for both cows and calves.