Fast Fact: How Can I Slope Hutches to Increase Drainage? – Dr. Noah Litherland, Vita Plus

Posted on April 20, 2017 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Noah Litherland, Vita Plus dairy youngstock technical specialist

Question:  How can I slope hutches to increase drainage?

Quick answer:  Creating a 2-percent slope by placing a small mound at the junction of the calf hutch and outside pen increases drainage away from the calf.

A bit more:  Maintaining dry bedding in calf hutches and exercise areas is important to promote calf comfort and growth.  When evaluating your calf hutch pad, consider how you can increase drainage.  Improperly positioning hutches on a slope can allow rain water to run into or pool around hutches.

Elevating the hutch pad above grade and placing a small mound in the middle of the junction between the calf hutch and outside pen increases drainage away from the calf hutch.  This slope is generally a 2-percent slope.  The mound can be made of a variety of aggregates, such as limestone screenings or sand.   Use sand as a base with straw on top of the sand to offer a dry, clean and soft surface for calves to rest.  If hutches are near barns, place them far enough away that roof runoff will not contribute excessive moisture to the calf pad.

Consult with your state and local guidance for controlling and managing water runoff.

Category: Equipment
Facility design
Starting Strong - Calf Care