Previously, it was considered expedient to keep cattle free-standing for large farms, where there are more than 400 heads in the herd. On smaller farms, a tethered system was used. Natural factors, economic conditions, climate peculiarities in a particular region, number of livestock, as well as your assigned tasks influence the choice of method of livestock maintenance. Today, the loose method is considered to be more progressive, capable of doubling productivity.
The advantages of farming without fixing cattle in stalls
A loose system of cattle care is gradually replacing the tether even in small farms, where the number of livestock is 15-20 individuals. In the traditional method of breeding, which involves the fixation of animals in the stall, has its advantages. For example, a more convenient conduct of veterinary, zootechnical control, rationing of feed for each individual from the herd. But in general, this process is complex and rather laborious. For the organization of milking you need to untie each individual, ward it off for milking and return it back.
In addition, the sedentary lifestyle of animals leads to various diseases. In the absence of fixation, it is possible to freely move around the territory of the walking area, contact livestock with each other, which creates conditions as close as possible to the natural. Animals are in good shape, their average lifespan is increasing and, as a result, milk yield and milk quality increase.
Initially, the presented method bred animals in meat farming, now this approach is increasingly being introduced in dairy farms. There are two types of loose housing for cattle:
- in special sections using deep bedding;
- using boxes.
To minimize the possibility of injury to adults, the ends of the horns are cut (approximately 4 cm), and the ten-day calves are degraded.
Using the deep bedding method
With this method, the livestock of cattle is placed in a spacious room at the rate of about 8 square meters. m for each individual. The loose housing of cows in deep litter implies the free movement of cattle through the territory of the cattle yards and access to feed. Among the advantages of this method is the ability to place on the same area by 30% more livestock compared to the tethered breeding method.
Watered animals using group auto-drinkers. The thickness of the litter should be about 65 cm. Straw, sawdust, and dried peat are excellent for this purpose. They absorb odors, excess moisture and provide a dry bed. It is necessary to fill the litter material daily, preventing it from getting wet (3 kg on average). In case of contamination, the litter of the cow begins to win over a clean bed. As a rule, animals of the highest rank occupy the cleanest territories, driving the rest of cows to unsuitable for recreation areas.
It is important to bear in mind that a herd of cattle is a natural system with an explicit hierarchical structure. Outbreaks of conflict among individual members of the herd are inevitable, with the result that, due to stress, a drop in productivity is possible. In addition, the unimpeded movement of animals leads to increased energy costs, respectively, increases the cost of feed (about 10%).
Advantages of cattle boxing
The use of boxes is beneficial from an economic point of view. In fact, this method combines both tethered and loose systems. There is no need for constant fixing of animals here, and an individual approach to the organization of feeding ensures an economical consumption of feed.
The box system simplifies veterinary activities, as well as cleanliness in the barn with loose housing. At the same time, the area provided on the farm is used with maximum efficiency. The advantages of segregation of livestock include the absence of conflicts between individuals and, consequently, a reduction in injuries.
The box method of keeping cows may differ in the method of manure removal, distribution of feed (tape or mobile feeder) mode. According to the planned schedule, the operator surpasses the cows in separate groups for milking, walking and feeding grounds with rough feeds, to the recreation area.
Stall equipment for free housing of cows is recommended to choose from a durable material, protected from corrosion, for a longer service life. The sizes of personal boxes are calculated based on the dimensions of each individual. So, the length of the box should be shorter by 10 cm of the animal itself (this is done with the aim of collecting litter in special gutters), and the width should be no more than 1 m so that it is not possible to turn around.
In this case, the cost of litter material is reduced or eliminated. Each individual is granted independence from other members of the herd, a calm atmosphere.
Boxed cows have disadvantages. Basically it depends not on the approach to breeding, but on the lack of qualified personnel. Common shortcomings:
- late manure removal;
- non-compliance with the proper level of humidity;
- excessive gas pollution of the barn territory.
The observance of hygienic norms is an important condition for cattle breeding - the health and productivity of the livestock directly depends on it.
Organization of the milking process
The loose breeding of dairy cows differs in the organization of milking. For these purposes, equipping the milking room (sometimes allocated a certain place with special equipment). The number of places for the organization of milking is calculated so that the process of collecting milk from the whole herd takes on average about two hours. 15 minutes are allocated to one cow, which means that about 10 milking points are needed for 150-200 heads.
In the process of milking, animals are given succulent feed, which affects the fixation of the reflex. The most common are such milking machines: "Herringbone", "Carousel", also use "Tandem", "Europarallel".
The mode of milking line up taking into account the lactation phase. Animals with different productivity are divided into separate groups. Three times milking is recommended for first-calves and in the period of cattle novotel. For individuals in the launch and low-producing cows, a double milking mode is quite acceptable.
Transition to the loose-haired way: the main features
Changing the livestock breeding system in farms to loose housing is justified for several reasons. First, this leads to a decrease in the use of manual labor in connection with the transition to mechanized labor. Secondly, the cost per unit volume of milk is reduced. And, thirdly, the costs associated with the organization of the transition from one system to another, quickly pay off.
For cattle, accustomed to the tethered method of content, the transition to loose form will be a stressful situation. Therefore, it is better to make changes in the summer. The best way to addiction occurs from birth - so the animals bypass the stress phase and do not lose the level of productivity. For loose housing maintenance of cattle stall equipment is better to install from special pipes - so the animals are more comfortable.
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