Many calf raisers are in spring-cleaning mode as they look toward summer, but keeping calf hutches clean should be a year-round priority, says Brian Wesemann, director of sales for Calf-Tel.
In the April 2013 Vita Plus Starting Strong Calf Care E-newsletter, Wesemann says calf raisers should think of the calf hutch like a dish.
"Calves naturally chew and lick on the hutches all the time," he says. "Just like you sanitize dishes between uses, hutches should be sanitized between calves to limit disease spread throughout your herd."
Wesemann offers these suggestions:
- Select a good sanitizer. Many products are available. Choose a sanitizer that works best for your system.
- Scrub the hutch. A pressure washer certainly helps, but it's also good to hand-scrub the hutch, especially the inside corners, to make sure you clean every surface. Focus on the inside of the hutch versus just spraying off the outside.
- Allow a drying period after washing. This helps break the disease cycle. A calf hutch should sit in the sun for 24 to 48 hours before a new calf is placed in it.
- Make sure calf hutches are in good condition. Cracks and crevices can hold residues and be difficult to clean. As you wash hutches, take a good look at the hutch and decide if it should be replaced soon.
- Think efficiency. Gather all of your materials – pressure washer, disinfectants, brushes, etc. – and move them to the cleaning area before you start moving hutches. Also, if you're considering any other building or expansion projects on the farm, Wesemann says this might be a good time to add a designated cleaning area. Several farms he works with have built wash bays that allow for easy cleaning as well as supply storage.
Source: Vita Plus Starting Strong Calf Care E-news - April 2013