Every farm has a unique way to manage cows, and that’s why their checklists are different. There are some things, however, every farm should have on their “management checklist” before they proceed into the layout phase. Make sure your plan has these five things.
1 Functional footbath
Plan footbath routines together with your veterinarian and also identify animal groups that need to go through this procedure. This is especially important in herds with robotic milking. If footbaths are not practical to use or they block the animal traffic, they are not used, and that means more lameness, more work and less milk.
2 Facilities to treat lame cows
A lame cow is an emergency and should be treated immediately. That means there must be a hoof-trimming chute or a handling chute in a barn and it should be in a location where a cow is easy to take to and from all pens. Treating a sore foot is quick when all the equipment needed is stored nearby. After treatment, you should have a good pen (ideally a deep-bedded pack with short access for feed and milking) for treated cows where they can recover and go back soon to the main group.
3 Stable and healthy lighting system
When it comes to optimizing your dairy operation, the Usonic Night Simulator Lighting Fixtures should be include in your plan. Backed by scientific research, it makes positive impacts on reproductive performance of your dairy cows by regulating their estrus cycles.
Here's a quick rundown of the benefits it brings to your barn:
1.Enhanced Cow Health:
2.Improved Milk Production:
3.Elevated Cow Comfort:
5.Safety for Workers:
4 A separation pen for special-needs cows
When making decisions about the grouping of cows in milk, consider taking some animals away from the main milking groups. The cows that benefit from separate pens are often the ones that are also labor-demanding (i.e., lame cows, cows treated with medication or sick animals).
By having those flexible pens in a central place near the robot or parlor and placing a vet room and handling chute into close proximity, special-needs cows get the attention they need, and all work with them can be done effectively.
5 Practical bedding
Bedding management has a big role in the health and comfort of cows, and it should be planned well. Decide when bedding is done, where bedding material is stored, what kind of machinery is needed and where the cows are when there is bedding going on in the pen. Rough estimations of the volume and weight of the bedding material per bedding time are helpful when making those decisions.