Efficacy of reflective insulation in reducing heat stress on dairy calves housed in polyethylene calf hutches | Academic Article individual record

The objective of this study was to determine the ability of radiant insulation hutch covers to moderate the effect of ambient temperature and radiant energy on calves housed in polyethylene hutches. The insulation had a double layer of polyethylene bubble film laminated between a layer of aluminum foil and white polyethylene (reflectance = 95%, R value (ft(2) · °F ·h/Btu) = 2.7). In each of two experiments (exp.), hutches were either uninsulated (control) or covered with reflective insulation across the top and sides of the hutch leaving the front, back, and pen exposed. Each hutch had a 1.2 × 1.8-m attached outdoor wire pen. In both exp., rate of increase of interior hutch temperature relative to ambient temperature was lower in insulated hutches (P < 0.001) indicating they were warmer at low THI and cooler at high THI. In exp. 1, increase in respiration rate and ear canal temperature of the calves, relative to THI, were moderated in insulated hutches (P < 0.001). In Exp. 2, respiration rate was not affected by treatment (P = 0.50), but increased with increasing THI (P < 0.001). Mean ADG did not differ among treatments in either exp. (P > 0.21). Insulating calf hutches with reflective insulation moderated hutch microclimate, and improved calf comfort, but did not translate to improvements in economically relevant variables such as ADG.

author list (cited authors)
Carter, B. H., Friend, T. H., Garey, S. M., Sawyer, J. A., Alexander, M. B., & Tomazewski, M. A.
publication date
  • CalfDairyInsulationHutch