The young calf requires close attention and comfort. For this reason, Provitello is the first North American farm to dedicate a unique facility focused on calf welfare. The calves are started in a free-flowing, natural ventilation setting with straw bedding – another first in veal raising. They remain in this barn until 4 weeks of age. At this point they are moved to the on-site finisher barn (link). Both the starter and finisher barn are group (loose) housing. Through our close collaboration with the German manufacturer, Forster, we have successfully implemented automatic calf feeders. This method of feeding calves allows for 24 hour access to feed, that is controlled, ad-lib. Each calf has a radio frequency ear tag that is linked to the machine (put label identifier on photo featuring machine). As herd animals, young calves require contact and protection. Our starter barn allows calves to move around freely and exhibit their natural behaviours, yet affords these calves protection from the elements and minimizes their stress due to external factors.
The evolution of Veal Raising practices from the early 1980's to the present. In the very beginning milk fed veal was raising primarily by the dairy farmer as a method of gaining some economic advantage from the many bull calves born each year that where not required for breeding. It was not long until the farmer found that you could not satisfactorily raise this young animal in the midst of the senior cattle members of his herd.He found that a separate microclimate was the only means of raising a calf through the perils of early growth. The growing stall was thus born. In the beginning these separated growing areas where almost totally enclosed. This was thought to curtail the spread of disease and provide a clean and comfortable environment in which the calf could flourish. As time and management philosophy and modern medication developed the stall was changed. It became larger and more open. The stall provides an opportunity for individual handling of the calf. This, over the years has provided the single most important contribution to our ability to learn and understand the veal calf and its requirements. However, many animal welfare activists oppose the use of these stalls. Veal stalls were banned in the UK (under the 1987 "Welfare of Calves Regulations" act which came into effect in 1990) and throughout the European Union in 2007.The key to raising veal calves in a group settings is management. The Grober/Delft Blue Program is one of the very few, if not the only successful program in existence today. Europe is raising milk fed veal only in pens of 4-6 animals.