July 14, 2024


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Conventional Dairy Cattle shed

8 min read

The conventional dairy barn is comparatively costly and is now becoming less popular day by day. However, by this system cattle are more protected from adverse climatic conditions.

The following barns are generally needed for proper housing of different classes of dairy stock on the farm.

Cow houses or sheds
Calving box
Isolation box
Sheds for young stocks
Bull or bullock sheds.
Cow sheds:

Cow sheds can be arranged in a single row if the numbers of cows are. Small say less than 10 or in a double row if the herd is a large one. Ordinarily, not more than 80 to 100 cows should be placed in one building. In double row housing, the stable should be so arranged that the cows face out (tail to tail system) or face in (head to head system) as preferred.

Advantages of Tail to tail system:

Under the average conditions, 125 to 150 man hours of labor are required per cow per year. Study of Time: Time motion studies in dairies showed that 15% of the expended time is spent in front of the cow, and 25% in other parts of the barn and the milk house, and 60% of the time is spent behind the cows. ‘Time spent at the back of the cows is 4 times more than, the time spent in front of them.
In cleaning and milking the cows, the wide middle alley is of great advantage.
Lesser danger of spread of diseases from animal to animal.
Cows can always get more fresh air from outside.
The head gowala can inspect a greater number of milkmen while milking. This is possible because milkmen will be milking on both sides of the head gowala.
Any sort of minor disease or any change in the hind quarters of the animals can be detected quickly and even automatically.

Advantages of face to face system:

Cows make a better showing for visitors when heads are together.
The cows feel easier to get into their stalls.
Sun rays shine in the gutter where they are needed most.
Feeding of cows is easier; both rows can be fed without back tracking.
It is better for narrow barns.
Floor: The inside floor of the barn should be of some impervious material which, can be easily kept clean and dry and is not slippery.  Paving with bricks can also serve ones purpose. Grooved cement concrete floor is still better. The surface of the cow shed should be laid with a gradient of 1″ to 1 1/2 from manger to excreta channel. An overall floor space of 65 to 70 sq.ft. Per adult cow should be satisfactory.

Walls: The inside of the walls should have a smooth hard finish of cement, which will not allow any lodgement of dust and moisture. Corners should be round. For plains, dwarf walls about 4 to 5 feet in height and roofs supported by measonry work or iron pillars will be best or more suitable. The open space in between supporting pillars will serve for light and air circulation.

Roof: Roof of the barn may be of asbestos sheet or tiles. Corrugated iron sheets have the disadvantage of making extreme fluctuations in the inside temperature: of the barn in different seasons. However, iron sheets with aluminum painted. tops to reflect sunray bottoms provided with wooden insulated ceilings can also achieve the objectives. A height of 8 feet at the sides and 15 feet at the ridge will be sufficient to give the necessary air space to the cows An adult cow  requires at least about 800 cubic feet of air space under topical conditions. To make ventilation more effective continuous ridge ventilation is considered most desirable.

Stall design: The two main types of dairy barn stalls are the stanchion stall and tie stall.

1. The stanchion stall:

It is one of the standard dairy cow stalls.   It is equipped with a stanchion for fastening a cow in place.’   Usually there is a stall partition in the form of a curved pipe between the stalls to keep the cows in place and to protect their udders and teats from being stepped on by other cows.

The stanchion should be so contracted and arranged as to allow the cows the greatest possible freedom. There should be several links of chain at the top and bottom of the stanchions and sufficient room on each side of it to permit (lie animal to move its head from side to side. It is important to provide for the comfort of the cows and to line them up so that most of the droppings and urine go to the gutter. Practically, it is not possible to fit every cow to her stall properly. To compensate this, many stanchions have adjustments so that they can be set forward if the cow is too large for the stall or backwards if the cow is too small. The cow can be fastened easily and quickly with the stanchions and is held more closely in place than other types of ties. However/ she is held more rigidly and therefore, the stanchion is less comfortable than other types of fasteners.

2. The Tie Stall:

The tie stall requires a few inches longer and wider than the stanchion stall. It is designed to provide greater comfort to the cow. In addition to larger size, the chain tie gives the cow more freedom. Instead of the stanchion, there are two arches, one on each side of the neck of the cow. The cow is fastened by means of rings fitted loosely on the arch pipe,; and connected to a chain which snaps to the neck strap on the cow. The correct space between arches is 10-12 inches. This prevents the cow from moving too far forward in the stall. It is important that in this type of stall, the arches and all other stall parts are kept lower than the height of the cows.

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The cow has more freedom in the tie stall then in the stanchion, large cows and those with large udders get along better in them because of freedom they enjoy. It is not desirable to have a tie chain in a small stall.


Cement concrete continuous manger with removable partitions is the best from the point of view of durability and cleanliness, A height of l’-4″ for a high front manger and 6″ to 9″ for a low front manger is considered sufficient low front mangers are more comfortable for cattle but high front mangers prevent feed wastage. The height at the back of the manger should be kept at 2′-6″ to 3′. An overall width of 2′ to 2 W is sufficient for a good manger.


The central walk should have a width of 5′-6′ exclusive of gutters when cows face out, and 4′-5′ when they face in. The feed alleys in case of a face out system should be 4′ wide, and the central walk should show a slope of 1″ from the centre towards the two gutters naming parallel to each other, thus forming a crown at the centre.

Manure gutter:

The manure gutter should be wide enough to hold all dung without getting blocked, and be easy to clean. Suitable dimensions are 2′ width with a cross-fall of 1″ away from standing. The gutter should have a gradient of 1″ for every 10′ length. This wills permit a free flow of liquid excreta.

Doors: The doors of a single range cowshed should be 5′ wide with a height of 7′, and for double row shed the width should not be less than 8’-9’. All doors of the barn should lie flat against the external wall when fully open.

Calving Boxes:

Allowing cows to calve in the milking cowshed is highly undesirable and objectionable. It leads to in sanitary milk production and spread of disease like contagious abortion in the herd. Special accommodation in the form of loose-boxes enclosed from all sides with a door should be furnished to all parturient cows. It should have an area of about 100 to 150 sq. Ft With ample soft bedding. It should be provided with sufficient ventilation through windows and ridge vent.

Isolation Boxes:

Animals suffering from infectious diseases must be segregated soon from the rest of the herd. Loose boxes of about 150 sq. Ft are very suitable for this purpose. They should be situated at some distance from the other barns. Every isolation box ”should be self contained and should have separate connection to the drainage disposal system.

Sheds for young stocks:

Calves should never be accommodated with adult in the cow shed. The calf house must have provision for daylight ventilation and proper drainage. Damp and ill-drained floors cause respiratory trouble in calves to which they are susceptible. For an efficient management and housing, the young stock should be divided into three groups, viz., young calves aged up to one year, bull calves, i.e., the male calves over one year and the heifers or the female calves above one year. Each group should be sheltered in a separate calf house or calf shed. As far as possible the shed for the young calves should be quite close to the cowshed. Each calf shed should have an open paddock or exercise yard. An area of 100 square feet per head for a stock of 10 calves and an increase of 50 square feet for every additional calf will make a good paddock.

It is useful to classify the calves below one year into three age groups, viz., calves below the age of 3 months, 3-6 months old calves and those over 6 months for a better allocation of the resting area. An overall covered space of:

20-25 square feet per calf below the age of 3 months,
25-30 square feet per calf from the age of 3-6 months,
30-4O square feet per calf from the age of 6-12 months and over, and
40-50 square feet for every calf above one year,
Should be made available for sheltering such calves an air space of 400 to 500 cubic feet per calf is a good provision under our climatic conditions. A suitable interior lay-out of a calf shed will be to arrange the standing space along each side of a 4-feet wide central passage having a shallow gutter along its length on both sides. Provision of water through inside each calf shed and exercise yard should never be neglected.

Bull or Bullock shed:

Safety and ease in handling a comfortable shed for protection from weather and a provision for exercise are the key points while planning accommodation for bulls or bullocks. A bull should never be kept in confinement particularly on hard floors. Such a confinement without adequate exercise leads to overgrowth of the hoofs creating difficulty in mounting and loss in the breeding power of the bull.

dairy farm
dairy farm

A loose box with rough cement concrete floor about 15′ by 10′ in dimensions having an adequate arrangement of light and ventilation and an entrance 4′ in width and 7′ in height who make a comfortable housing for a bull. The shed should have a manger and a water trough. If possible, the arrangement should be such that water and feed can be served without actually entering the bull house. The bull should have a free access to an exercise yard provided with a strong fence or a boundary wall of about 2′ in height, i.e., too high for the bull to jump over. From the bull yard, the bull should be able to view the other animals of the herd so that it does not feel isolated. The exercise yard should also communicate with a service crate via a swing gate which saves the use of an attendant to bring the bull to the service crate.

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