Loose cow housing is most often used on a farm with a large livestock (400 or more). The method provides for keeping animals on a farm without fixation in stalls and a given milking area (milking parlor). Thus, the animals are provided with free movement both indoors and on walking areas. Thus, a condition is created for animals that is optimally suitable for their natural life and for industrial milk production.
Depending on the climatic zone, loose content has its own characteristics. So, for example: in warm areas, it is preferable to use transforming-type premises (with opening walls) with the organization of feeding on walking areas. In the northern regions, animals are kept in capital buildings, with regular walking, depending on weather conditions.
Benefits of loose cow housing
- High labor productivity. At the best dairy farms in the country using this method, the cost of producing 1 liter of milk is 1.1-2.9 people / hour, and the workload per worker is 30-45 heads. The main reason for such indicators is the mechanization and automation of all labor-intensive processes.
- The cows do not need additional grazing (internal movements are sufficient). Costs for shepherds and other workers to organize walks are excluded.
Disadvantages of loose content
- Lack of qualified personnel able to work on modern, computerized programs and equipment.
- A clear and organized zootechnical and veterinary service is needed due to the constant contact of animals with each other.
- Increase in feed consumption by 5-7% compared to tethered content (associated with the activity of the animal and with technological losses).
Steps to be taken for effective loose housing:
- Provide physiological comfort to the animal.
- Complete, balanced feeding using computer programs.
- Minimization of stressful situations in the herd (everyone must be dehydrated).
- Division of the herd into physiological groups and compliance with all recommendations for each group.
- Using feed tables instead of standard feeders, which will reduce the time for distributing feed (1-2 times), and reduce the cost of feeding in general.
- To increase the volume of feeding by 7-8% in comparison with the tethered method. If the basic rules are observed, the productivity of animals is increased by 30%.
Milking cows in loose housing
The number of milking machines, their brand and productivity are selected based on the number of dairy cows, the number of each physiological group. It should be borne in mind that a single milking of the entire herd should not exceed 3-3.5 hours. Milking parlors should be designed so that milked cows do not collide with cows entering for milking. It is required to ensure the free exit of the animal after milking to the section of the group or to the walking area.
As a result of improving the technology of keeping, strengthening the fodder base, with the purchase of high-performance machines in the near future, it is predicted that farms with loose housing of dairy cows will increase by about 15% of the total dairy herd in the country.
The choice of how to maintain the livestock of dairy cows always remains with the farmer, taking into account economic, organizational and many other aspects, because optimal technological solutions for organizing the milk production process have both ways.