Features of loose housing cows

The development of farms implies the improvement of applied technologies in order to increase livestock productivity and farm profitability. The article discusses the features of the loose housing of cows and veterinary-zoological processes for this type of content.

The essence of loose housing

The loose housing of cows is considered a more convenient method than the tethered.

This allows the animal to:

  • move freely around the walking area;
  • move a lot, which means less pain;
  • communicate with other animals;
  • choose a more comfortable place to relax;
  • take a comfortable posture while relaxing;
  • produce more milk by increasing comfort.

The method is especially convenient for large livestock complexes and was originally practiced for keeping meat breeds. But now it is used in farms of different types for cattle, both meat and dairy.

Cows can be kept on a deep litter with sitting areas or in separate boxes. Boxes can be combined with feeders or divided. In the second case, a special room is organized for feeding. Often the feed zone is combined with a walking platform.

Distribution of feed is carried out by a mobile feeder. Milking takes place in a separate room on the installation of "Christmas Tree" or "Tandem." For the proper operation of milking equipment, it is recommended to keep a herd that is a multiple of the milking units by the number of heads: 8, 16, 27, 32, etc.

Resting animals on a deep litter. Microorganisms located in its layer create heat in the process of life, so the barn does not need heating - it is provided by the animals themselves. The litter stock is 1 ton of material per 1 animal.

Did you know? Physiologically, cows are more comfortable lying down: at this moment, blood rushes better to the udder, which increases milk production. Therefore, the place where the animal will rest should be comfortable.

The litter can not be changed very often, since manure is effectively removed by a tractor with scraper equipment.


The benefits of a loose housing system are primarily related to animals.

In this regard, it is noted that:

  • animals lead a more mobile lifestyle, which is good for health;
  • immunity is strengthened;
  • cattle productivity improves.

For service personnel, the system has both a number of advantages and has some disadvantages.

Personnel benefits:

  • labor costs for milkmaids and feed distributors are reduced;
  • milking process is simplified;
  • All work related to cattle maintenance is accelerated;
  • the manufacturability of the complex increases.


The group content of cows increases feed consumption by 10%.

Among the shortcomings for animals, they most often indicate:

  • lack of an individual approach to feeding - the animal may overeat, which is not very good;
  • the lack of specialists who are well acquainted with the methodology can cause deterioration of the conditions of detention, increased humidity, untimely cleaning or updating of the litter, as a result of which an increase in the incidence rate;
  • complicated care for an individual animal in the event of an epidemic situation.

Important! Aggressive cows must not be left on loose housing. This increases stress and reduces livestock productivity.

For milkmaids and feeders, the system has no shortcomings, but they are for livestock specialists:

  • veterinary procedures are complicated;
  • there are difficulties with the maintenance of a sick animal.

Reasons for transferring to loose housing

The reasons for the transfer to loose housing are the following points:

  • increase automation and mechanization of cattle in order to increase productivity;
  • optimization of production and reduction of costs for the maintenance of animals;
  • the need to reduce the volume of work performed by staff;
  • improvement of selection - it becomes possible to group animals according to the stages of lactation and other signs;
  • improvement of the processes of accounting and analysis of cow productivity.

Preparing for the transition

As practice shows, a lack of information and a misunderstanding of what is happening are the main cause of difficulties in translating and reducing herd productivity during the transition to new technologies.

To avoid this, you must follow a clear sequence of actions:

  1. Train staff who will care for animals and manage in the new technology. Companies that supply milking or other equipment usually organize training courses for staff. You can also take advantage of the internship - employees will be able to personally see the technology in action and ask their questions.
  2. At the same time, analyze the available areas and re-equip the farm for loose housing. In the terms of reference for the organization that will carry out the re-equipment of the premises, it is necessary to indicate that the area standards must be precisely observed.
  3. To simplify the translation of the entire livestock, it is recommended to start with the young, and then move on to the rest of the herd. Form (in the project) technological groups: dead wood of 1 and 2 periods, solid cows, cows, reproductive and productive animals.
  4. If the premises are already fully equipped, and the staff is trained, then you need to dehydrate the young and transfer it to the intended sector. Pour enough feed, place litter.
  5. Check animals for disease and prevent.
  6. Start a break-in of technological equipment. If deficiencies are identified, correct them as they arise.
  7. Gradually transfer the formed groups to their habitats.

The experience of successful farms indicates that with careful planning and competent training of specialists, livestock productivity does not decrease, but after a while begins to increase.

Litterless cows in deep litter

The essence of the technology boils down to the fact that the herd is divided into productive groups: dead wood, pregnancy, milkweed, productive and unproductive individuals. Each group will live in its own separate sector.

Each group has its own service schedule: distribution of feed, milking, veterinary control and other tasks. With loose housing, it is necessary to control all parameters that relate to the comfort of animals: the frequency of feeding and milking, ventilation, lighting, removal of manure.

Did you know? The certificate "Environmentally friendly products" in the countries of the European Union is issued only to those farms that use loose housing content.

Sanitary and veterinary requirements

The basic sanitary and veterinary standards relate to the area of ​​the place of detention (described in more detail below).

The floor can be trellised or covered with dense bedding. It is completely replaced no more than 1 time per year, but you need to pour it daily and make sure that there is no dampness. The daily rate of litter is 3-4 kg per 1 individual.

Feed is freely available on the walking platform. Calculation of the amount of feed is carried out taking into account the number of goals, the rate per 1 individual and an additional 10-15% of the feed. The most productive is the preparation of feed mixtures from dry, wet feed, concentrates.

Important! It is necessary to wash the feed distribution points daily, since moisture promotes the growth of bacteria, which can lead to disease.

All components are mixed in a feeder and dispensed to animals. Separate dispensing of concentrates in loose form is not only not rational, but also reduces productivity and increases incidence.

The size of the den

The calculation of the den area per 1 animal is very important for ensuring the comfort of animals. Overpopulation causes stress and reduced productivity.

Therefore, hygiene standards are strictly observed here:

  • calves up to 10 months need 2 square meters. m area of ​​his den (individual boxing);
  • if the calf is older than 10 months, then the area increases to 3 square meters. m;
  • adult animals, cows and bulls will need 5 square meters. m area;
  • for a fattening individual, 3-4 square meters will be required. m

If animals stay indoors almost all the time (in northern countries), the area per individual is increased to 7 m. The same norm will be maintained for a cow with a suckling calf.

Arrangement of a walking yard

If the cows are not only in the barn, then you need to carefully consider the area of ​​the walking yard. Calculation of its area - not less than 16 square meters. m per individual. For calves - at least 10 square meters. m. The site must have a hard surface. For care and sanitation of the walking yard, sewer ditches are mounted. Cleaning the courtyard - mechanized.

Drinkers organize automatic. Hay is stored in silos. The useful length of the aft compartment is at least 0.3 m per 1 individual.

Features of veterinary and zootechnical processes

To control the main veterinary and zootechnical measures and the reaction of animals to them, it is necessary to organize an automated accounting system in which all planned measures, their features and results will be noted.

The list of the main planned zootechnical measures includes:

  • rest after calving;
  • hunting;
  • launch.

Vaccines, illnesses, dynamics of changes in productivity, control milking and other features of the content may also be noted in the system. To facilitate the work of zootechnics, devices for fixing the animal are mounted at the exit from the milking parlor.

Some indicators are automatically recorded by the milking machine software. First of all, this is what affects productivity - milk yield, fat content and factors affecting cow health.

A change in the electrical conductivity of milk may indicate pregnancy, estrus, mastitis, and other conditions. Having noticed the changes recorded by the control system, the veterinarian will only have to take the necessary measures to correct the situation.

The software for dairy rooms is at a high level and can provide enough information. The livestock specialist must be able to not only receive it, but also generate reports.

As for the grouping of cows, it must be remembered that in loose housing they are grouped according to the stages of lactation. At each stage, there are standards for feeding and milking. Thus, any activities can be carried out immediately for a group of cows without fear of confusing anything.

Important! The methane gas produced by the cow is one of the main causes of changes in the ozone layer: in a year, all cows in the world produce about 100 million tons of methane. Therefore, living conditions in a densely populated barn will be very harmful to animals and maintenance staff.

After calving

In artiodactyls in the wild, milk production after calving begins to decrease gradually. By the end of the lactation period, it will be 25% of the milk yield. Hiding is the process of raising the level of milk yield. For this, methods of enhanced feeding and massage of the udder are used.

Intensively begin to feed the cow 10-15 days after calving, when the state of the body and udder will return to normal. For this, the animal is transferred to the milking shop for a special regime of feeding, drinking and milking. Feed rate should be designed for higher productivity.

So, if a cow produces 15 liters of milk per day, then it should receive a third more feed. The daily number of milkings should be at least 4 at the beginning of the milking. If, with all the measures taken, the milk yield has not increased, then milk beetroot and turnip are introduced into the diet.

Offensive hunting

A special calendar is kept to identify sexual hunting. To facilitate the task, it is possible to print out from the automated control system a list of animals that were not inseminated and after calving from 40 to 63 days have passed. After a month, the list is updated.

Did you know? Some cows may produce more milk if classical music is played indoors. Studies show that animals prefer Chopin's waltzes and Beethoven's works.

The onset of hunting is expressed in the restless behavior of the animal, enlargement of the labia, mucus secretion, mooing, seeking contact with other animals. The hunt lasts from 16 to 24 hours. Regardless of whether the cow was inseminated, after ovulation of the egg, the external signs of hunting disappear.


Before calving, the cow should not be milked so that its body prepares for the birth of the calf and accumulates a supply of nutrients. The gradual cessation of milk production is called launch. This period begins on average 65 days before calving.

After it there is a deadwood period in which the cow will receive a limited amount of fluid. To stop the production of milk, its production must be gradually reduced, reducing the number of milks and changing the amount of fluid consumed.

The process can take about 1 week.

Milking is performed according to the scheme:

  • 1 day - 2 milking (morning and evening);
  • 2-3 day - only morning milking;
  • 4–5 - only evening milking;
  • 6 - morning;
  • 7 - evening.

The volume of fluid consumed should not exceed the volume of one bucket. Succulent feed replaces poor hay. For dairy cows, whose productivity exceeds 12 liters per day, the start-up process can be delayed, but if milk production has not stopped, the animal is helped medically.

This reduces startup time and saves cow power. As soon as production stops, the cow returns to its previous diet. Milk, which will be obtained after administration of the drug, can not be eaten for 2 days.

Features of the on-line shop system for milk production

The schedule for milking cows at different stages of lactation is their own, which is taken into account when drawing up the general schedule of the farm. Milking should always take place in a calm environment. In normal mode, the cow is milked twice a day.

The milking machine must be set up and maintained by qualified personnel. If the animal behaves uneasily during milking, then it is likely that there are errors in the settings of the device.

From a technical point of view, only 20% of milk is easily dispensed, and to get the rest, the participation of the cow in this process is necessary. So, if touching the udder does not bring negative feelings, then signals from nerve endings enter the brain.

Thanks to brain signals, the production of the hormone oxytocin begins, which stimulates the secretion of milk.

Dry period

After stopping lactation (start), a dry period begins. At this time, the cow is not milked (45–70 days before calving). The cow eats hay and special additives. The diet should be low-fat and not contain feeds that activate lactation (beets, turnips).

Small succulent, poor grasses are grasses mown in the second half of summer, after flowering and fruiting.

Insemination workshop

The first insemination of a cow is possible in 15-17 months. The heifer should weigh at least 400 kg. In this case, at the time of calving, it will weigh about 600 kg. Seeding a cow with a lower weight is impractical.

After revealing the first signs of sexual hunting, insemination is carried out, it is better - after 13-20 hours. The diet and milking at this time remains normal. Only the heifers ’diet is special: since she will need to form a roomy scar to bear the calf, the nutritional value of the feed is impaired, increasing its volume.

The insemination workshop is usually combined with the milking workshop. This is rational, since insemination in large farms is most often carried out artificially, and the combination of functions will prevent idle time.

Did you know? Domestic cows are descendants of wild bulls. They were first domesticated in Turkey about 10, 000 years ago.

Milking and milk production

Healthy, well-fed and calm cows will come to the milking machine on their own. Preparation of the udder and putting on the device are carried out according to the instructions for it. Milking is prepared only immediately before the cows enter the machine. You should not cook more individuals, otherwise you will have to do it twice.

Since the cow can defecate, a drive is set up in front of the milking parlor, from which the animals will move directly into the hall. If a small corridor is created in front of the drive, then it will be possible to keep not only the milking parlor, but also the drive clean.

The udder is filled differently, so cows that are at the beginning of lactation are processed 1–2, then milking machines are fixed. For those who are at the end of the lactation period, milk lowers more slowly, so they are treated 3-4 times.

Perhaps the conveyor method of processing is suitable for your farm: one milkmaid processes the udder, and the other puts on the device - this will speed up the process and prevent the cows from stagnating.

Rig-free boxing content (combined content)

The loose-boxing cows are conditions combining elements of a loose and tethered form. Each cow has a separate box for living, which looks like a tethered form. The size of the box does not allow you to move or rotate freely in it: according to the standards, one place should be at least 1.2 x 2 m.

In the back of the box, manure flow is organized. For efficient manure removal, the length of the room should not exceed the length of the cow by more than 10 cm.

The number of boxes corresponds to the number of animals. Кормушки размещаются с другой стороны боксов. Ширина кормо-навозного прохода между боксами составляет 3 м. Пол асфальтируется или покрывается досками. Подстилка может быть традиционной: торф, опилки, солома. Содержание коров происходит в боксе, а дойку проводят в доильном зале.

Преимущества беспривязно-боксового содержания:

  • возможно точное соблюдение нормы корма на 1 животное без перерасхода;
  • к кормлению животных можно подходить индивидуально;
  • уборка коровника и раздача корма полностью автоматизированы.

Способы содержания коров различны, и у каждого есть как свои достоинства, так и недостатки. Главное — подобрать для себя наиболее оптимальный вариант. Помните, что внедрению любой системы должны предшествовать расчёты, обучение персонала новым технологиям, модернизация иди переоснащение помещений.

В противном случае продуктивность будет низкой, а результат — неудовлетворительным.

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