Guidelines for dairy housing design
- WIDTH OF EASYFIX CUBICLES
The optimum width for EASYFIX cubicles is between 3ft 9″/1.15 meters-3ft 11″/l.2 metres. This width will allow cows the optimum amount of room to lie down and lie comfortably in the cubicle bed. Conventional steel cubicles are set at 48″/ 1.2 metres. With the narrower placements in the EASYFIX cubicles you can achieve an extra cow space for every 15 cows or 6 cows in 100. This is an important factor in costing new builds.
- LENGTH OF SINGLE CUBICLE BEDS
The recommended length for single cubicle beds is 8ft/2.4 metres. This length will even allow very large Holstein cows enough room to rise and lunge forward in the bed when lying down and getting up. When old dairy cubicle houses are being retrofitted this is not always achievable, but certainly in new builds this measurement should be the target.
- LENGTH OF HEAD-TO-HEAD CUBICLE BEDS
15ft/4.57 metres is the recommended length for head-to-head cubicles; this will allow cows sufficient lunging room. It also facilitates the use of one post for two head-to-head cubicles in the EASYFIX system.
- CUBICLE STEP UP
We recommend that the set up from the floor to the top of the mat is 7/8 inches in height. This height will help to maintain cleaner cubicle beds as it allows the effluent in the channel to be spread over a larger surface area. 5/6 inches is definitely too low.
- CUBICLE PASSAGES
The width of the cubicle passage is recommended at a minimum of lOft/3 metres. If the cubicle passage is any narrower it will impede and restrict the movement of cows as they leave adjacent cubicle beds. Depending on the cleaning mechanism in the shed it can also lead to the channel between the cubicles filling up very quickly and the cows dragging the effluent up on the cubicle bed and in extreme cases leads to dirty hooves which in turn lead to laminitis.
- HEAD SPACE AT THE FEEDING FACE
Cows require approx 2ft/0.6 metre head space to feed sufficiently. This is particularly necessary for freshly calved cows where body reserves need to be maintained through maximizing intakes.
- CUBICLE TO FEED FACE
The cubicle to feed space is critical and should be at least 15 feet or 4.57 metres. This space will facilitate cleaner passages and easier movement of cows from their cubicles to the feed face.
- CUBICLE CROSS OVERS
Cubicle cross overs should be located after every 22 spaces. This allows for better cow flow and access to water which should be located at each 22 cow section.
- WATER AT ALL CROSS OVERS
The availability of fresh clean water at all cross overs is highly recommended. As a rule of thumb a 750kg dairy cow will consume 16 gallons / 73 litres of water per day in cold weather and double that amount in hot weather. It is important that drinking troughs are
placed at each cross over point in a shed, so that cows don’t have to travel too far to access the trough. The choice of water trough is also important with sufficient capacity in the trough, good water pressure and also that the troughs are easily cleaned.