Housing of animal is the most important factor in dairy farming. A good housing leads to good management practices and ultimately optimum production. The housing of dairy animals depends upon:
- Number of animals
- Type of breed of animals
- Local environmental conditions
- Finances available
- Facilities to be provided
Some general considerations, which must be considered for housing, are:
- It should be less expensive
- It should be well ventilated
- It should protect from extreme environmental conditions
- It should have maximum sun exposure
- Its axis of length should be east to west
- It should remain dry
- Its environment should be hygienic
- There should be availability of feed and water for 24 hours
- It should have adequate provision to reduce the heat gain by the animals and promote the heat loss to avoid heat stress during summer season.
- It should be so planed that future expansion may be possible if required
Free stall is the recommended system of housing for successful dairy farming. Here cows are kept free except at the time of milking. Resting area is divided into stalls or cubicles. Cows are not restrained in the resting area (freestall / cubicle) and are free to enter, lie down, rise up, and leave the stall whenever they desire.
For free stall housing system area of shed is divided into two sides with a central space of 14-16 feet (depending upon the width of feeding trolley) as feeding driveway. On both sides of this central space, 2 feet area is provided for feeding area/table.
Behind the feeding table, 10-14 feet walking area is provided for cow to move freely which is 4-6 inches lower than the floor of feeding table. This area is separated from feeding table through a curb, which is 1-1.5 feet high from the floor of walking area and 1 feet high from the floor of feeding driveway. A rod is also fixed above this curb at the height of 3 feet from floor. The walking area should be grooved and non-slippery.