Optimal housing for healthy and less stressed dairy cattle
Housing conditions influence the health of dairy cows and significantly reduce unexpected expenses. Sometimes minimal changes without too much expense can have a significant effect on the health, welfare and productivity of a dairy herd.
Photoperiod, remote surveillance, regular hygiene, cow comfort, heat stress prevention, and providing enrichment activities are practical actions that a farmer can take into account in providing optimal housing conditions for dairy cows. Also, there should be provided natural ventilation, sloping and non-slip floors, and a drinking front accessible to the entire population. Free stables offer the highest degree of satisfaction with welfare standards compared to tied stables.
Regardless of the accommodation system, the animals must have a comfortable and dry resting area. It is recommended to set up a dedicated accommodation space for different age groups and different operating facilities for veterinary care.
An important role is also played by the quality of the milking system chosen by the farmer. It is already known that automated milking facilities ensure the hygienic quality of milk, but not all small farms are able to invest in modern automated systems.
Last but not least, it must be kept in mind that regular shelter hygiene is essential for maintaining animal health and prevents unforeseen additional costs.