Production environment, morbidity and mortality of calves in Finnish insulated free stalls

Mari Niemi and Kristiina Hakkarainen


We studied the production environment of calves kept in 100 Finnish insulated free stalls in 2004–2006. The production environment generally fi lled the demands of the animal welfare legislation. Practices that exceed the welfare requirements set by national legislation included feeding the calves mainly with suckling bucket and, in over half of the farms, allowing calves to be nursed by the dam. In almost all of the farms, diseases were found among the calves. Diarrhoea and respiratory problems were the most common diseases. Calves had an increased risk of becoming sick if they were kept in a building separated from the cows.