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HOUSING FOR DAIRY CATTLE
An efficient management of cattle will be incomplete without a well planned and adequate housing. of cattle. Improper planning in the arrangement of animal housing may result in additional labour charges and that curtail the profit of the owner. During erection of a house for dairy cattle, care should be taken to provide comfortable' accommodation for an individual cattle. No less important is the (1) proper sanitation, (1) durability, (3) arrangements for the production of clean milk under convenient and economic conditions, etc.
Location of Dairy Buildings
The points which should be considered before the erection of dairy buildings are as follows.
1. Topography and drainage
A dairy building should be at a higher elevation than the surrounding ground to offer a good slope for rainfall and drainage for the wastes of the dairy to avoid stagnation within. A leveled area requires less site preparation and thus lesser cost of building. Low lands and depressions and proximity to places of bad odour should be avoided.
2. Soil type
Fertile soil should be spared for cultivation. Foundation soils as far as possible should not be too dehydrated or desiccated. Such a soil is susceptible to considerable swelling during rainy season and exhibit numerous cracks and fissures.
3. Exposure to the sun and protection from wind
A dairy building should be located to a maximum exposure to the sun in the north and minimum exposure to the sun in the south and protection from prevailing strong wind currents whether hot or cold. Buildings should be placed so that direct sunlight can reach the platforms, gutters and mangers in the cattle shed. As far as possible, the long axis of the dairy barns should be set in the north-south direction to have the maximum benefit of the sun.
Easy accessibility to the buildings is always desirable. Situation of a cattle shed by the side of the main road preferably at a distance of about 100 meters should be aimed at.
5. Durability and attractiveness
It is always attractive when the buildings open up to a scenic view and add to the grandeur of the scenery. Along with this, durability of the structure is obviously an important criterion in building a dairy.
Abundant supply of fresh, clean and soft water should .be available at a cheap rate.
Areas infested with wild animals and dacoits should be avoided. Narrow gates, high manger curbs, loose hinges, protruding nails, smooth finished floor in the areas where the cows move and other such hazards should be eliminated.
Honest, economic and regular supply of labour is available.
Dairy buildings should only be in those areas from where the owner can sell his products profitably and regularly. He should be in a position to satisfy the needs of the farm within no time and at reasonable price.
Electricity is the most important sanitary method of lighting a dairy. Since a modem dairy always handles electric equipments which are also economical, it is desirable to have an adequate supply of electricity.
11. Facilities, labour, food
Cattle yards should be so constructed and situated in relation to feed storages, hay stacks, silo and manure pits as to effect the most efficient utilization of labour. Sufficient space per cow and well arranged feeding mangers and resting are contribute not only to greater milk yield of cows and make the work of the operator easier also minimizes feed expenses. The relative position of the feed stores should be quite adjacent to the cattle barn.
(Source: Dr.C. Paul Princely Rajkumar , AC&RI, Madurai.)
Types of Housing
The most widely prevalent practice in this country is to tie the cows with rope on a Katchafloor except some organized dairy farms belonging to government, co-operatives or military where proper housing facilities exist. It is quit easy to understand that unless cattle are provide with good housing facilities, the animals will move too far in or out of the standing space, defecating all round and even causing trampling and wasting of feed by stepping into the mangers. The animals will be exposed to extreme weather conditions all leading to bad health and lower production.
Loose housing system
Loose housing may be defined as a system where animals are kept loose except milking and at the time of treatment. The system is most economical. Some features of loose housing system are as follows.
Conventional Dairy Barn
The conventional dairy barns are comparatively costly and are now becoming less popular day by day. However, by this system cattle are more protected from adverse climatic condition.
The following barns are generally needed for proper housing of different classes
Dairy stock in the farm
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 (tails to tail system) or face in (head to head system) as preferred.
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 cowshed should be laid with a gradient of 1" to 1 14" from manger to excreta channel. An overall floor space of 65 to 70 sq.ft. Per adult cow should be satisfactory.
The inside of the walls should have a smooth hard· finish of cement, which will not allow any lodgment of dust and moisture. Comers should be round. For plains, dwarf walls about 4 to 5 feet in height and roofs supported by masonry 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 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 sunrays and bottoms provided with wooden insulated ceilings can also achieve the objective. 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 tropical conditions. To make ventilation more effective a continuous ridge ventilation is considered most desirable.
Cement concrete continuous manger with removable partitions is the best from the point of view of durability and cleanliness. A height of 1 '-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 1/2' 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 alley, in case of a face out system should be 4' wide, and the central walk should show a slope of 1" from the center towards the two gutters running parallel to each other, thus forming a crown at the center.
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 !" away from standing. The gutter should have a gradient of 1" for every 10' length. This will permit a free flow of liquid excreta.
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" to 9'. All doors of the barn should lie flat against the external wall when fully open.
Allowing cows to calve in the milking cowshed is highly undesirable and objectionable. It leads to in sanitary in 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.
Animals suffering from infectious disease must be segregated soon from the rest of the herd. Loose boxes of about 150 sq.ft are very suitable for this purpose. They sh9uld 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 adults 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 tip to one year bull calves, female calves. 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 cow shed.
Bull or Bullock Shed
Safety and ease in handling a comfortable shed 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. 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 will 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.
(Source: Dr.C. Paul Princely Rajkumar, AC&RI, Madurai)
CLEANING OF ANIMAL SHEDS
The easy and quick method of cleaning animal house is with liberal use of tap water, proper lifting and disposes all of dung and used straw bedding, providing drainage, to the animal house for complete removal of liquid waste and urine. The daily removal of feed and fodder left over in the manger, reduces the fly nuisance. Periodical cleaning of water through eliminates the growth of algae, bacterial and viral contamination and thus keeps the animal healthy.
Sanitation in dairy farm
Sanitation is necessary in the dairy farm houses for eliminations of all micro organisms that are capable of causing disease in the animals. The presence of organisms in the animal shed contaminates the milk produced thus reducing its self life, milk produced in an unclean environment is likely to transmit diseases which affect human health: Dry floorings keeps the houses dry and protects from foot injury. Similarly the presence of flies and other insects in the dairy farm area are not only , disturbs the animals but also spreads deadly diseases to the animals egg. Babesiosis, Theileriosis.
Sunlight is the most potent and powerful sanitizer which destroy most of the disease producing organism. Disinfection of animal sheds means making these free from disease producing bacteria and is mainly-carried out by sprinkling chemical agents such as bleaching powder, Iodine and lodophor, sodium carbonate, Washing soda, Slaked Lime (Calcium hydroxide), Quick Lime (Calcium oxide) and phenol.
This is also called calcium hypo chloride. It contains upto 39 % available chlorine which has high disinfecting activity.
Iodine and lodophor
This is commercially available as lodophores and contains between 1 and 2 % available Iodine which is an effective germicide.
A hot 4 % solution of washing soda is a powerful disinfectant against many viruses and certain bacteria.
Slaked lime and quick lime
White washing with these agents makes the walls of the sheds and the water troughs free from bacteria.
Phenol or carbolic acid is very disinfectants which destroy bacteria as well as fungus.
Insecticides are the substances or preparations used for killing insects. In dairy farms, ticks usually hide in cracks and crevices of the walls and mangers. Smaller quantities of insecticide solutions are required for spraying. Liquid insecticides can be applied with a powerful sprayer, hand sprayer, a sponge or brush; commonly used insecticides are DDT, Gramaxane wettable powders, malathion, Sevin 50 % emulsifying concentration solutions. These are highly poisonous and need to be handled carefully and should not come in contact with food material, drinking, water, milk etc.
Precautions while using disinfection In Insecticide.
The animal sheds should have proper facilities for milking barns, calf pens, calving pens and arrangement for store rooms etc. In each shed, there should be arrangement for feeding manger, drinking area and loafing area. The shed may be cemented or brick paved, but in any case it should be easy to clean. The floor should be rough, so that animals will not slip. The drains in the shed should be shallow and preferably covered with removable tiles. The drain should have a gradient of 1" for every 10" length. The roof may be of corrugated cement sheet, asbestos or brick and rafters. Cement concrete roofing is too expensive. Inside the open unpaved area it is always desirable to plant some good shady trees for excellent protection against direct cold winds in winter and to keep cool in summer.
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