The essence of the cow free keeping method, advantages and disadvantages

The essence of the cow free keeping method, advantages and disadvantages

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The way animals are kept affects their productivity. More and more farmers have started to transfer cattle to the loose-fitting method of keeping cows. He performed well in Western Europe and the USA. However, before moving on to loose content, they carefully study the methodology, determine the positive and negative aspects. The farmer should first prepare the room in which the animals will be kept.

The essence of the method

The loose keeping of cattle implies free movement around the barn and the area for walking. The cow is constantly on the move, which has a positive effect on her health. If you analyze the method from the point of view of benefits, then it will give good results. Cows will feel safe, and active pastime will increase comfort. This will have a positive effect on the production of dairy products and the quality of meat.

Boxing has the opposite effect on the animal. He will no longer need to move, since the feeder is located 2 meters away. The combobox content differs in that the room is delimited into sections, but at the same time there is a saving of space in the room.

Advantages and disadvantages

The loose-fitting method of keeping animals is ideal for farms with more than 400 herds. It is not possible to pay attention to each animal, therefore this technique will allow the animal to feel as comfortable as possible. These cows are not suitable and not adapted to live in confinement separately from the rest of the livestock.

Increase in the coefficient of productivity of workers. Each barn worker will have 40 animals.

Reducing the cost of obtaining milk. By equipping a milking parlor with group milking units, productivity can be achieved through cost-effectiveness and mechanization of key processes.

No need for domestic grazing. If the room is large, then it will be enough for the normal movement of animals. This will reduce personnel costs and the arrangement of a separate walking area.

Increased feed intake. Due to the increased activity, the cow will eat more food, on average, by 7-10%.

Difficulty recruiting qualified personnel. Loose content is characterized by the mechanization of basic processes. Not all employees will be able to cope with modern equipment and computer programs.

The need for a clear and timely organization of veterinary measures.

When cows are transferred to this method

The transfer of cattle to loose content is carried out to achieve the following tasks:

  • increased comfort for the animal;
  • the formation of a diet and development regimen;
  • the use of special tables instead of standard feeders, which will speed up feeding;
  • dividing cows into physiological groups, which will allow you to look after them and adhere to the veterinarian's recommendations more efficiently.

The free-range method is recommended for use in large herds (more than 400 animals). This will create ideal conditions for keeping, reduce the likelihood of stressful situations for animals.

How to navigate free content

This is recommended if there is sufficient feed and good bedding. Animals with this method move more, therefore they need a nutritious feed with a high content of proteins and mineral salts.

Before transferring cows to new methods of keeping, complete veterinary control is carried out. Cleaning of hooves, preventive examination for the presence of infectious diseases is carried out. It is also important to remove the horns to avoid possible injury to the cows. This can be done by chemical, physical or thermal methods.

The loose housing is suitable for medium-sized animals. If the cow is thin or too large, it is recommended to keep it separately in the stall. Such individuals are not suitable for free content. There are 2 subspecies of loose housing: the option with box habitat and on deep bedding.

Milking Features

Milking cows in a separate room. It is designed so that the cows enter the section through a separate entrance, without mingling with animals that the farmers have not yet milked. Experts recommend milking a herd of no more than 3.5 hours. To keep within this period of time, individual machines or group stationary installations are used. It all depends on the size of the room and the number of heads in the herd.

It has been scientifically proven that a cow's milk yield directly depends on the animal's comfort. It is recommended to divide the herd into several groups, which will enter the milking parlor, so that productivity does not decrease. It is impossible to move animals between groups, it is necessary that they get used to the presence of each other.

Division of the herd

Experts recommend moving animals that are accustomed to this method to loose housing. Therefore, you should divide the herd into several separate groups. This will optimize production processes.

The herd is divided into pregnant dry cows, individuals with high productivity, cows with low productivity. Dry and deep bed groups are recommended to be tied, as they are not suitable for loose containment. For the rest of the groups, a separate section with a feeding area and a drinker is organized.

Expert opinion

Zarechny Maxim Valerievich

Agronomist with 12 years of experience. Our best summer cottage expert.

Division into groups occurs at the request of the farmer. He must independently determine by what criteria the separation will take place.

Area norms

When arranging stalls, they are guided by the rule in which the optimal space is allocated to the animal. To do this, measure the cow, add 15-20 cm to the result obtained.With free content, experts recommend setting the area norm at the level of 4-5 square meters. If the cow is in position, she will need more space.


Animals need a particularly nutritious food. The specific ration is compiled depending on the division of the herd into separate groups. Taking into account the physiological characteristics of livestock and the recommendations of the veterinarian, the farmer draws up the optimal menu, which must be balanced. This will allow the animal to receive a maximum of nutrients and make it more productive.

To create comfortable conditions for cattle, it is recommended to provide free access to clean drinking water.

Milking and insemination workshops

To assess the productivity of cows, to develop an effective culling and ranking methodology, the farm must equip a separate insemination and milk production facility. In this room, each animal will spend several months.

In the dairy shop, animals are grouped according to their productivity. As practice shows, usually it is enough to create 3-4 groups for this.

Insemination is carried out both artificially and naturally. The latter option is used if the herd size is small, or the farmer has specially trained personnel to monitor the process. Most often, an artificial technique is used, since this guarantees an almost 100% result.

Manure removal

Cleanliness is a guarantee of animal health, a prerequisite for the comfort of keeping. The litter should be cleaned daily to keep the flock in optimal conditions. To optimize the process, it is recommended to remove the manure while feeding the animals. To make cleaning easier, indoor floors should have a slight slope. This will significantly speed up the removal of manure without creating discomfort for the animals.

Watch the video: Housing System Of Dairy Cattle


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