DAIRY STALL DESIGN: KEY CONSIDERATIONS
When redesigning a dairy barn, every farmer should ask themselves some vital questions. Are your dairy cows having problems? Are they injured, suffering from lameness or mastitis? Could your stall design be causing them problems?
Is the stall surface cushion comfortable? How can you tell if a stall cushion is comfortable? Try kneeling on the stall cushion. According to Nordlund & Cook (2011), the surface should shape to your knees and keep your knees clean and dry. Rise slightly from the kneeling position then drop to your knees. If it is still comfortable then the surface cushion is soft enough. If the surface cushion is not solid enough, switch out your surface cushion.
Does the stall have ample body resting space? Having plenty of resting space is having enough space for the cow to rest. Typical resting places for cows are 48 inches wide and 66 inches long. Using a brisket board can help to define a space in a front stall. It can help place the cow correctly and not taint the stall with urine and faecal matter. It will also reduce the chance the cow will get trapped in the stall, therefore dramatically reducing injuries.
Does your stall design have room for the cow’s head to move freely and not feel restricted? Cows rise with their rear legs first. But first, the cow will get on her knees and thrust her muzzle forward. She changes her weight to her front legs, and then the cow will get up using her rear legs. If the stall is slick or lacking space for her to swing forward, then the cow could get injured.
Is there sufficient height below and behind the neck rail? Why should there be enough space below and behind the neck rail? The neck rail acts as a structural foundation for the dividers and helps place the cow from causing pollution such as urine and faeces to the stall. Place the neck rail as far forward as possible. Do not put it too far back from the stall because it will interfere with access. If you are using a brisket board, ensure it is directly overhead or somewhat frontward. If not, the cows will be continually hitting their heads. (Nordlund & Cook, 2011)
A PICTURE SPEAKS A THOUSAND WORDS…
EASYFIX FREE STALLS ARE THE OBVIOUS CHOICE FOR COWS
The revolutionary EASYFIX Free Stall delivers the freedom of the outdoors-indoors and is proven to maximize cow comfort, improve safety and performance.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
The flexible stall arms, rubber loop and rubber neck rail brackets provide freedom of movement into and out of the cubicle which in turn leads to fewer injuries.
Injury reduction is a major factor that contributes to lower healthcare and veterinary costs, as well as lowering replacement rates.
The fixed and flexible rubber couplings are designed to attach the neck rail to the stall. The moulded natural rubber composition is cow friendly and maintenance free.
The patented flexible rubber coupling is designed to accommodate larger cows and improves their comfort and welfare.
By taking the above into careful consideration it can greatly assist you in the planning process of dairy stall design. EASYFIX has an extensive range of Dairy Housing Solutions to choose from and our expert team would be delighted to assist you with this planning process. Please do not hesitate to contact us.