As a seasoned Dairy Housing and Analytics Specialist, Dr. Jeffrey Bewley knows dairy cows. He specializes in freestall barn construction, management, and modernization, among other areas, and he’s passionate about cow comfort housing.
Avoiding Critical Mistakes
Freestall barns provide clean, dry, comfortable places for dairy cows to rest, improving their health and daily performance. In a freestall barn, cows are not tethered, and they’re able to come and go for food, water, and rest as they please.
According to Dr. Jeffrey Bewley, avoiding mistakes like these can save money while keeping your cows happier:
Deciding Stall Dimensions Without Knowing Cow Size
A milking herd can have cows ranging from 1,200 to 2,000 pounds, and stall size needs to be adjusted accordingly. Select freestall dimensions based on your largest cows, otherwise your stalls might only be big enough for half of your herd.
Improper Neck Rail Positioning
Neck rails encourage a cow to position itself properly in the stall. They encourage the cow to step back as she rises, limiting the amount of urine and feces that falls in the stall. Placing them too far back can make the stall uncomfortable for the cow, decreasing stall usage.
Mounting Freestall Loops n Horizontal Pipe
It’s tempting to mount your freestall dividers on horizontal pipes to cut costs, but this can block the cows' forward lunge range. You must install each divider on vertical posts. You can, however, save money by mounting freestall dividers on both sides of a post in head-to-head setups.