15 December 1995

Straw for milkers

MILKING heifers must be housed in straw yards, advised consultant John Hughes. "You are asking so much of a heifer, expecting her to eat concentrates, milk, get back in calf and suffer bullying from older cows," he said.

"This is why eight weeks after they come into the herd their feet are haemorrhaged. The best place for them is a straw yard."

Mr Hughes said providing heifers with enough straw yarding was worth the investment. But the design was critical. He advised that bedded areas should be less than 7.2m (24ft) in width, give wide access to the bed, prevent access to feed and water from the straw bed and be cleaned out every six weeks.

This will help reduce the churning around that can occur in poorly designed buildings and will reduce straw use, he claimed.

Another reason for housing heifers in straw yards is that it is impossible to provide cubicles that are the correct size for cows and heifers. &#42