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Shed layout

Last post Fri, Dec 24 2010 15:49 by Bob the Builder. 11 replies.
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  • Mon, Sep 27 2010 11:59

    Shed layout

    Hi Guys. Was thinking of upgrading some of housing arrangements for the autumn calving sucklers cows- what to move away from straw (well as much as possible anyway). Using straw beds with open yard at the moment - silage in round feeders.

    What do you you use for sucklers - cubicles or straight on top of slats??? and what arrangement for calves i.e. creep area etc do you use

    Any advice would be great

    Thanks

  • Mon, Sep 27 2010 17:46 In reply to

    Re: Shed layout

     

    Hi, I would advise you to go for cubicles and a small bedded area as a calf creep. Keeping udders clean would be a problem on slats I suspect, though I have no experience of this. Our sucklers have always been on cubicles with no probs, but you will need a bedded bull pen as bulls don't take very well to cubicles. Although our bull will lie in a cubicle he will always sleep in his bull pen at night, otherwise he gets a bit stiff, due to cubicles being too small for him.
  • Tue, Sep 28 2010 10:01 In reply to

    • charliemoo
    • Top 150 Contributor
      Female
    • Joined on Sat, Feb 21 2009
    • Brecon Beacons, Wales

    Re: Shed layout

    We have just come back from a trip to Northumberland, to look at a variety of sheds are we are thinking the exact same thing!! It boils down to whats going to suit you, your farm and your budget!

    As far as we saw it, there are three types of sheds- straw bed based, cubicles and slats.

    Straw bed based sheds are multi- functional, with the ability to store fodder, kit and other stock, they have a variety of alternative uses, but the bedding does cost. alternatives to straw are woodchip and paper.

    a good design that we had not seen before, was a barrier-fed straw bedded shed (dont say that too fast!) . A strip of about 3-4 meters of concrete ran alongside the feed barrier (inside the shed), the rest of the floor chippings/ scalpings. this allowed the bed to drain a lot more freely, reducing bedding costs. the strip can be scraped either daily or weekly. the floor didnt get dug or churned up during cleaning out- obviously dont dig  the bucket of the tractor right into the floor!

     cubicle sheds save a lot on the cost of bedding, but scraping them out daily takes time (by the time you have shifted the cattle etc). the sheds cannot really be used for much else either.

    slats have minimal labour costs (cleaning-depending on how deep the pit underneath is- takes a couple of days a couple of times a year), and you are not having to spend any money on beding. however, you cannot put the bull in with the cows on a slatted shed as he cant get the grip to mount her, so he will either not try or hurt himself if he does. this is a good point if you are keeping bull beef though, as they do not bully each other.

    Alongside each of these systems an area for the calves can be penned off- ideally this will be straw bedded with a creep feed in.

     

    We also went to Cumbria University and saw their cattle roundhouse- i will start a new thread about that as it was hugely interesting and there are quite a few photos!! that is for store cattle though, not sucklers.

    Charlie
  • Wed, Sep 29 2010 7:53 In reply to

    • 2600326
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on Sun, Mar 15 2009

    Re: Shed layout

    I think the best system is to have a 4 metre slatted passage next to the feed fence and an area of staw behind this. This way the cows can be fed on the slatted area and can penned be penned there until around calving. Then allow access to the straw area when calved and for service if using a bull. Then when the calves are getting bigger either restrict access to the straw area for the cows to cut down on bedding or shut them out completely. And the calves can pop in and out using a creep gate. It all depends on cost really though.

  • Wed, Sep 29 2010 9:07 In reply to

    Re: Shed layout

    2600326:
    I think the best system is to have a 4 metre slatted passage next to the feed fence and an area of staw behind this. This way the cows can be fed on the slatted area and can penned be penned there until around calving. Then allow access to the straw area when calved and for service if using a bull. Then when the calves are getting bigger either restrict access to the straw area for the cows to cut down on bedding or shut them out completely. And the calves can pop in and out using a creep gate. It all depends on cost really though.

     

    This system would be fantastic for spring calvers, but presumably autumn calvers will have calved before housing so not sure how it would work then.

  • Tue, Oct 5 2010 16:18 In reply to

    • miss t
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on Thu, Oct 2 2008
    • Trusted Users

    Re: Shed layout

    I guess what housing arrangement you choose should also take in to account animal health - in terms of keeping issues like respiratory disease, mastitis and lameness to a minimum. It would be interesting to hear from others whether some of the systems mentioned are known to be better/worth for health.

  • Fri, Oct 22 2010 21:33 In reply to

    Re: Shed layout

    We built a new suckler cow shed with all cows on concrete slats covered with rubber slat mats. I didn't see the point in spending the money on cubicles which take up a lot of room and create work scraping and bedding.  This type of shed would be fairly typical in Ireland

     We have had 2 winters on it with no problems at all.

    We have one pen of 30 autumn calvers with calves and a limousin bull.  The calves creeping through on to a straw bed. and a pen that had 35 spring calvers which were removed one by one as they calved in March and got put out to grass.

    See www.easyfix.com for rubber slat mats they really work.  I'm not an agent but never refuse commission!!



  • Tue, Oct 26 2010 15:50 In reply to

    Re: Shed layout

    Hi Phil. When you say you had one pen of 30 cows & Calves - I assume that pen is a few spans long???? also what width slats/tank did you use. Do the calves mix through the cows ok??? also how did the bull perform on the slats. I know alot of bulls are nervious about mounting a cow on slats??? And problems with dirty udders ot damaged udders from other cows walking on them!!!!!
  • Tue, Oct 26 2010 15:50 In reply to

    Re: Shed layout

    Hi Phil. When you say you had one pen of 30 cows & Calves - I assume that pen is a few spans long???? also what width slats/tank did you use. Do the calves mix through the cows ok??? also how did the bull perform on the slats. I know alot of bulls are nervious about mounting a cow on slats??? And problems with dirty udders on damaged udders from other cows walking on them!!!!!
  • Tue, Oct 26 2010 21:18 In reply to

    Re: Shed layout

    Hi.

    It was actually 2 pens one with 10 cows and calves the other had 20 cows and calves and a few maiden heifers in it with the bull switching between pens if cows were bulling.  Pen 1 is 40 feet by 26feet all slatted. Pen 2 is 20feet by 26feet all slatted. Calves have a 14feet creep along the back  If i had plenty of money i would make the creep 30 feet wide but it still works ok(also narrow enough to sort cattle in and as calving pens) and the calves are happy to lie in with the cows as well. Dry cows have a 40x26ft pen.

    We have had no problems with the bull on slats though we try to have most cows served before they come in with the bull catching repeats. We've had no damaged teats or problems with dirty udders helped by having mainly 3/4 and 7/8 bred Lim cows which don't have big low udders.

    Hope this helps

     



  • Wed, Oct 27 2010 16:22 In reply to

    Re: Shed layout

    Sound Phil - Thanks!!!

    Just was abit concerned about damage to udders & dirty udders etc- have some older cows with big bags, though this will be there last winter - I now have mostly 7/8 & 3/4 cows like yourself - although not all limo's!!! I had thought of putting in cubicles, but the do take up alot of room and MONEY!!!!!!

    I was looking at making the creep wide alright - was thinking of backing the new double tanks (14Ft slat by 2 No.) for the cows up against an existing shed (32Ft wide)with concrete floor and knock doors in the walls for creep access for calves - dived the bedding area from the calf feed barrier in the existing shed with a foot high stump wall or timber sleepers!!!! Putting in a narrow passage infront of the the calf feed barrier so creep will probably be 22ft wide in total.

     

    Thats the plan. Builder coming to look it this week - anything you do differently- apart from a wider creep?????

     

  • Fri, Dec 24 2010 15:49 In reply to

    Re: Shed layout

    Hi, I specilise in constructing concrete slurry tanks, cubicle sheds, creep areas, slated sheds for beef production and silage pits. If you are still interested in the possibility of constructing a new cattle shed please e mail me back on rgeary5@gmail.com . I am in this line of work this 25 years.

                                                                     kind regards Ronnie

                                           

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