Cattle (England): Code of Recommendations for the Welfare of Livestock (PB7949)

Section 2 - Calf rearing


The Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2000 (S.I. 2000 No. 1870) Schedule 4, states that:
  1. -(1) No calf shall be confined in an individual stall or pen after the age of eight weeks unless a veterinary surgeon certifies that its health or behaviour requires it to be isolated in order to receive treatment.

    (2) The width of any individual stall or pen for a calf shall be at least equal to the height of the calf at the withers, measured in the standing position, and the length shall be at least equal to the body length of the calf, measured from the tip of the nose to the caudal edge of the tuber ischii (pin bone), multiplied by 1.1.

    (3) Individual stalls or pens for calves (except for those isolating sick animals) shall have perforated walls which allow calves to have direct visual and tactile contact.

    (4) For calves kept in groups, the unobstructed space allowance available to each calf shall be - - at least 1.5 square metres for each calf with a live weight of less than 150 kg, - at least 2 square metres for each calf with a live weight of 150 kg or more but less than 200 kg, and - at least 3 square metres for each calf with a live weight of 200 kg or more.

    (5) Each calf shall be able to stand up, turn around, lie down, rest and groom itself without hindrance.

    (6) Subject to sub-paragraphs (7) and (8) below, each calf that is kept on a holding on which two or more calves are kept shall be able to see at least one other calf.

    (7) Sub-paragraph (6) above shall not apply to any calf that is kept in isolation on a holding on veterinary advice.

    (8) For the purpose of calculating the number of calves being kept on a holding in order to determine whether sub-paragraph (6) above applies, no account shall be taken of any calf that is being kept in isolation on that holding on veterinary advice.
Transitional provisions for accommodation
  1. -(1) Until 1st January 2004 sub-paragraphs (1), (3) and (4) of paragraph 1 shall not apply in relation to accommodation in use before 1st January 1998.

    (2) Until 1st January 2004, in the case of accommodation brought into use after 1st January 1994 but before 1st January 1998 - (a) where calves are housed in groups, each calf of 150 kg or more live weight shall have at least 1.5 square metres of unobstructed floor space; and (b) where a calf is housed in an individual stall or pen, the stall or pen shall have at least one perforated wall which enables the calf to see other animals in neighbouring stalls and pens unless isolated for veterinary reasons.
  1. -(1) Calves shall not be tethered, with the exception of group-housed calves which may be tethered for a period of not more than one hour when being fed milk or milk substitute.

    (2) Where tethers are used in accordance with the preceding sub-paragraph, they shall not causepain or injury to the calves and shall be inspected regularly and adjusted as necessary to ensure a comfortable fit.

    (3) Each tether shall be designed to avoid the risk of strangulation or pain or injury and allow the calf to lie down, rest, stand up and groom itself without hindrance.
  1. Where calves are kept in an artificially lit building then, subject to paragraphs 14 and 16 of Schedule 1, artificial lighting shall be provided for a period at least equivalent to the period of natural light normally available between 9.00 a.m. and 5.00 p.m.
Cleansing and Disinfection
  1. -(1) Housing, stalls, pens, equipment and utensils used for calves shall be properly cleaned and disinfected to prevent cross-infection and the build-up of disease-carrying organisms.

    (2) Faeces, urine and uneaten or spilt food shall be removed as often as necessary to minimise smell and to avoid attracting flies or rodents.
  1. Where calves are kept in a building, floors shall-

    - be smooth but not slippery so as to prevent injury to the calves;

    - be so designed as not to cause injury or suffering to calves standing or lying on them;

    - be suitable for the size and weight of the calves; and

    - form a rigid, even and stable surface.
Bedding and lying area
  1. -(1) All calves shall be provided with appropriate bedding.

    (2) All calves shall be kept on, or at all times have access to, a lying area which is clean, comfortable and well-drained and which does not adversely affect the calves.

    (3) All housed calves and calves kept in hutches or temporary structures shall be kept on, or at all times have access to, a lying area which is well-maintained with dry bedding.
111. Housed calves need an environment that is:
  • dry;
  • well drained;
  • well bedded;
  • well ventilated; and
  • draught free.

The calves must have enough space for each of them to lie down comfortably. Young calves are particularly susceptible to pneumonia so good ventilation is essential. Ventilation should not be restricted to try and raise the air temperature.

112. Until they are weaned, you should keep housed calves in small groups to:
  • make it easier for you to inspect them; and
  • limit the spread of disease.

When calves are fed by natural suckling, other penning arrangements may be satisfactory.

113. You should not put newborn and young calves on totally slatted floors. Suitable bedding should always be provided.
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