The information below has been supplied by dairy marketers and other industry organizations. It has not been edited, verified or endorsed by Hoard’s Dairyman.
Do you know how much labor time you use in your calf barn?

4dBarn has made a field survey timing and following morning tasks in more than 50 robot barns globally. What we have observed is a huge difference in how much time is spent on calf chores. On average, total time per calf per working shift was 3.4 minutes. This varied from 0.4 minute to 11.5 minutes per calf. Most time consuming task with calves was feeding milk or milk replacer.

When designing a new calf barn, in order to get optimal labor efficiency, it is important to go through the whole calf feeding process from collecting the milk from the robot or milking parlor until it reaches the calf’s mouth. Evalu¬ate all phases in this process, eliminating non¬productive work and complicated interphases. Consistency in routines also helps to keep the calves healthy.

Avoid overcrowding and strive for smaller groups with four, six, or eight calves. After a two-week period in an individual pen, calves can be moved to a group pen.

There is not one optimal system but many alternatives for calf housing to choose from, depending of the farm’s goals and restrictions. Decisions being made in the design phase are much cheaper than changes later on and have a huge impact on production and profitability.

Finnish 4dBarn is a leading independent consulting company, offering unique robot barn functional design and troubleshooting for dairy farms. Our mission is to coach the farmer and help him to design the barn which suites his goals and management. Each of the layouts is designed around the unique management style of the producer.

We emphasize animal health and welfare, good management and labor efficiency. Our consultation services focus on optimizing labor efficiency through barn and calf barn design, cow traffic systems, and gate placement.

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