The calving season is the most important and busiest time of the year on any farm. Unfortunately this is also the most dangerous time of the year with a lot of fatalities occurring on the farm. Here at O’ Donovan Engineering we strive to make this time of year safer for the animal and handler and reduce work-load.


It is recommended that farms should have at least one calving box per 10 cows. This is why the cow and calf only remain in the box for one to two days. If there is a tight calving spread more calving pens will be needed. The boxes should be at least 3.6m by 4m in area. Having a calving gate greatly eases management and is almost a must if a C-section is needed. Having a hot water supply close to the calving pens is also very useful if needed in a hurry.

Hygiene is critical in calving boxes/area. Every effort is needed to prevent the build-up of infection and disease. Thoroughly clean out, power wash and disinfect all calving boxes/ calving area. Use a strong disinfectant; this prevents a build-up of harmful micro-organisms such as Cryptosporidium. If there is a history of scour/disease/infection in the calving area, consult your vet on what specialised disinfectant to use.

If there are calving cameras present in your unit, inspect cameras to ensure they are working. Clean lenses, inspect wiring, view screen and picture focus. Can the cameras be connected to your mobile phone? Use modern technology to make life easier at calving time.

When calving never turn your back on the cow when handling a new-born calf. As far as possible keep a gate or barrier between you and the cow when removing the calf. This is where our 3-in-1 calving gate is vital. It allows you to stall the cow while calving to allow the farmer to tend to the calf and reduce the chance of injury. Using a 3-in-1 calving gate like this can reduce stress on both animal and handler.


Once the calf is born it is vital to give them the best start for the first few weeks. Calf pens are a necessary part of any well-planned calf house. ODEL individual calf pens have a plastic stepper slat or a treated timber slat making the pens more hygienic, easier to clean and more comfortable for the calf. These individual calf pens have a press steel plate sides and front that is hot dip galvanised. The hinged front gate provide easy access to the calf. These calf pens are quick to assemble and dismantle and fold up neatly for easy storage. They provide superior comfort for the animal and makes it easy to control new born calves.

calf pens

Here at O’ Donovan Engineering we also provide group penning solutions for older calves. All calf penning gates are height adjustable with stock proof latching. There are diagonal or horizontal bar feed gates available to suit any setting. We have plastic slats available to provide extra comfort for your calves in lie back area, reducing labour and cost of bedding.

diagonal feed barrier

Feed troughs and drinkers are essential for any group calf penning facility. We have a wide range of feed troughs available suitable for milk or meal. There are both saddle and wall mounted hayracks available to suit any type of penning. We have a wide range of plastic and cast iron drinking bowls available with protection frames to prevent the drinker from any damage.


These types of group penning can improve calf performance and makes it easy to control and manage animals. Most importantly it is easy to clean. O Donovan Engineering specialises in both new calf houses and conversions of existing buildings.


Our in-house sales and engineering team will visit your farm to plan out your calving shed and design the most efficient and safe layout to suit your yard. Make sure you keep safe this Spring!