University of Vermont

Healthy Farms - Healthy Agriculture

Housing of Different Animal Groups geese photo by Krista Cheney, link to home page

General Farm Biosecurity Practices—
Housing of Different Animal Groups

Young animals acquire infectious diseases primarily through exposure to older infected or carrier animals. To minimize disease transmission, housing and management systems should minimize contact between youngstock and older animals. Younger animals need time to develop immunity to diseases. Although the following recommendations are written for cattle, similar principles apply to all livestock:

calf hutches photo by Julie SmithPhoto: Julie Smith, DVM, Ph.D

  • Separate pre-weaned dairy calves from all other age groups.
  • House each dairy calf in an individual pen or hutch.
  • Place hutches away from dairy barn exhaust fans.
  • House 4- to 8-month-old dairy calves in small groups separate from older heifers.
  • House yearling and breeding age dairy heifers separately.
  • Separate replacement heifers from cows.
  • Separate dry dairy cows from milking cows.
  • If overwintered on pasture, move cows to a clean pasture for calving.
  • freestall photo by Julie SmithPhoto: Julie Smith, DVM, Ph.D

  • Milk mastitic, treated, or sick cows last, and disinfect the milking claw between such animals.
  • Provide adequate pen, stall, or bedded area per animal.
  • Provide adequate feed bunk length and water trough access per animal.
  • Organize chore routines to feed and milk isolated cattle after the main herd.
  • Make sure farm dogs and cats are vaccinated against rabies.
  • Prevent fence line contact between your stock and other animals.

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Last modified November 06 2010 11:21 PM

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