ConceptBarn with CalfExpert on the Bock family farm in Nübbel, Schleswig-Holstein

Calves were given a new home on the Bock farm in Nübbel in January 2022. The old barn with automatic feeders was no longer satisfactory and a new solution was needed. The ConceptBarn with the CalfExpert automatic feeder is the ideal solution for the farmer and his calves today.

ConceptBarn with CalfExpert instead of MilkTaxi

130 cows are currently milked on the Bock farm in Nübbel, but this number will soon be increased to 240 with the addition of a new cowshed. Many cows mean many calves. And many calves require good housing – for optimum health and performance. The old calf barn was no longer able to provide this. The calves have been housed in the new ConceptBarn since January 2022 and Broder Bock and his twin brother Jörn, who are mainly responsible for the farm with their father, are very satisfied.

The MilkTaxi was actually supposed to be the solution to many of the old barn's problems, but they happened to take part in the Holm & Laue Farm Tour: "We had basically already decided on a Milk Taxi and didn't want to join the tour at all - what else were we supposed to do, we had already reached our decision. In the end, we went along and visited a ConceptBarn. The system convinced us and so the MilkTaxi turned into today's ConceptBarn," explains Broder Bock.

The ConceptBarn on the Bock farm with open curtains.

The idea behind the ConceptBarn

But what actually is a ConceptBarn? It is a housing system that allows calves to be kept with plenty of fresh air and free space. Without draughts, with low levels of harmful gases and with a weatherproof roof and walls.

How does it work? Explained simply using the Bock example: there are four areas in the ConceptBarn for four groups of calves. The CalfExpert feeder is located in the centre of the ConceptBarn and connected to the HygieneStations. One station in each calf group feeds milk to the calves.

Ventilation is via the side walls with curtains that can be opened or closed depending on the weather. This is done manually on the Bock farm. "This gives us good control over the calf barn environment," says Broder. Fresh outside air flows into the barn when the curtains are opened even just a little. A wind net and the half-height wall prevent draughts.

In addition, a "calf nest" is integrated into every calf box on the Bock farm: i.e. a lower roof for the calves to stay under. This created an additional climate zone.

The pens can be mucked out via the gable ends of the barn. "The four gates in the boxes allow us to muck out each box individually and easily with the wheel loader, avoiding having to push the muck from one group to the next. We really like this as it really contributes to good hygiene."

Would you like to learn more about the ConceptBarn? Our colleague and expert Dirk Sötje explains more on our YouTube channel.

Fresh air and health in the calf pen

Calves on the farm in Nübbel join the group after about 15 days. There were on average 15 calves in a group when we visited the farm in May. Broder explains: "Actually, 25 calves fit into one box, but from about 19 calves onwards we have noticeably increased health problems with the little ones. So we try to keep the groups as small as possible to avoid virtually all problems with coughing or diarrhoea."

"It is very quiet in the barn and the calves are relaxed," Broder remarks. We also noticed this during our visit. We also loved the air in the barn: fresh outdoor air, but without the northern wind and no unpleasant smells. "Now - when the days are a bit cooler - we keep the curtains down even further, but in summer we can definitely open them all the way," says Broder.

Looking across the HygieneStation to the calves

The reason for Holm & Laue

The question remains as to why it was the ConceptBarn from Holm & Laue that so convinced the Bock family. Broder Bock replies: "We have known Holm & Laue for a long time. The calf feeder in the old barn also came from Westerrönfeld. The quality of the products speaks for itself and our advisor, Dirk Sötje, was always at our side during the planning and implementation stages. And let's be honest, who else? What's more, the ConceptBarn gave us a lot of freedom and we were able to build a lot ourselves, which saved us a great deal of money. Thanks to the CalfExpert, we have an even better overview of our calves and our animals are cared for in an individually adapted way. We're really happy and I think the calves are, too."

A big thank you to Broder Bock for his time and the pleasant conversation. All the best and every success in the ConceptBarn and with the CalfExpert.