Calf rearing challenges

There is no handy “one size fits all” when it comes to rearing calves.

Every farm is different – from its challenges to its advantages, and everything in between. However, there is one thing that remains a constant in this conversation.

And that is, that the “magic silver bullets” we’d all like to find … don’t exist.

Every successful calf-rearing operation is made up of many small and equally significant decisions.

Those decisions made together, and implemented with sound judgement and science, are the gold ticket to giving producers the ability to dodge most of those bullets being fired out there.


Of course, there are some non-negotiables when we talk calf comfort and health.

We know that calves are born with no immunity, and that it doesn’t start to develop until they are two to three weeks of age. That makes hygiene and colostrum massive subjects. Having the right equipment to test, store, thaw and feed colostrum hygienically is a must – and is the single best investment you’ll make in the your herd’s future.

Calf housing should include a minimum of 1.5 metres squared of space per calf, and should always be covered with a minimum depth of 150 millimetres of bedding – not just at the start of the season. So, it needs to be replenished regularly.

Draft is the enemy, and yet ventilation is vital, so it’s important that any air disturbance happens above the calves, not directly on them.

With adequate bedding and protection, calves can maintain their body temperature and use the energy from their feed to grow instead of having to sacrifice it to get warm.


To help you achieve your calf-rearing goals, our team doesn’t just want to supply you with calf-rearing equipment.

That’s because we believe equipment is just one aspect of a much greater system. A system that includes design, layout and standard operating procedures (SOP), which are specific to your unique circumstances.

Regardless of the type of system – be it an Automatic Calf feeder, Milk Taxi, individual calf hutches or milk mixer/delivery units – we like to work closely with you so we can understand your business and tailor-make a solution.

And, the good news is that we can find the solutions to fit your needs, rather than you having to fit your system to the products.


To that end, Daviesway either produces or sources what we believe to be the best calf-rearing products from around the globe.

From the Antahi tube feeder (the safest tube-feeder on the market) to the only dried colostrum available in Australia (Kwik Start), through to next generation probiotics, and calf jackets from the USA and New Zealand … your newborns are covered.

We have an extensive range of pens, individual and group hutches from Calf-Tel, in the USA. These include thermform moulding with multi layers so they don’t sweat like plastic moulded hutches do. They also use thermal shedding properties and cross-ventilation techniques. This state-of-the-art design keeps calves warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

They are also light-weight, so easily moved and cleaned, making it easier to dodge disease. The modular design also allows for different configurations.


We have a myriad of ways to feed your calves. From the humble hand-held calf feeder to the biggest range (26-80-teat units) of strongly built trailer feeders in the southern hemisphere (Stallion Plastics, New Zealand) to automatic calf feeders (Holm & Laue, Germany). The scope is infinite.


Holm & Laue (H&L) also manufacture the sophisticated Calf Expert Auto Calf Feeder and the ground-breaking, mobile stainless steel Milk Taxi.

We truly believe that H&L are the best in the world at what they do, because they are dedicated to calf rearing. They are not a manufacturer of dairy equipment, who deal in calf rearing as an “add on”. H&L’s team live and breathe calf rearing, and it shows in their innovation, technology and products.


There is so much difference between operations, calf numbers and calving intensity, that any design decisions can sometimes be challenging and/or confusing.

Importantly, you don’t have to do this alone. We specialise in shed design and layout, and can support you in establishing protocols.

Equally, if you know exactly what you want, we’re confident you’ll find it at Daviesway.

And, because we’re an Australian-owned family business, it means all our service and repairs are easily handled by our technical team, right here.

For more information, please feel free to contact me at any stage...

Calf Rearing Specialist – Daviesway/DASCO
Mobile: 0419 950 044

BRENDAN JOHNSON Calf Rearing Specialist