Know How / Housing and handling

Advice and information on livestock housing and shed design to ensure your animals’ welfare and productivity. Compare different types of housing and bedding and read case studies on other farmers. Get tips on stock handling equipment, including cattle crushes and races, dairy parlour design and robotic milking.

Case studies

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New rotary parlour improves milking efficiency

Investing in a new rotary parlour has almost halved milking times and improved milk quality at a Staffordshire dairy. Third-generation farmer Dave Eardley, who milks 520 cows at Upper House…


How 4 once-a-day milking options affect profitability

Reducing milking frequency to once a day can cut the workload for dairy farmers. However, a new report commissioned in Wales by Farming Connect has shown that for some businesses,…


How colostrum and new shed helped cut lamb mortality

Meticulous colostrum feeding and a new lambing shed have helped cut mortality and eradicate cases of watery mouth in an organic March-lambing flock. Mortality has fallen from 26% to 17%…


What’s in Your Livestock Shed? visits a high-tech pig unit

A state-of-the-art indoor pig farrowing and dry sow unit, projected to produce more than 10,000 piglets a year, is showcasing some of the highest levels of indoor pig welfare and…


Purpose-built hut reduces lambing intervention on mixed farm

A purpose-built hut set on a raised platform in the centre of the lambing shed is proving the ideal solution for a father and son to keep a careful eye…


How a slurry digester is helping cut energy costs by 85%

A Gloucestershire dairy farm has slashed monthly energy bills by using a farm-scale anaerobic digester, alongside solar panels, to produce electricity. The technology employed at Court Farm, Kempley, also produces…

Practical advice

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Why it’s important to plan winter bedding now

For farmers reliant on purchased straw to bed loose-housed cattle, now is the time to consider other options and have a “Plan B” in place to reduce winter bedding costs.…


Ultra-high or low frequency EID tags: Which is best?

A debate is raging about what tag technology should be used in the UK’s national cattle traceability scheme when it eventually arrives. The stand-off is between the low frequency (LF)…


What can be done to prevent bluetongue virus?

Insecticides and repellents will not prevent cattle and sheep from being infected with bluetongue virus, scientists are warning. Bluetongue virus (BTV) is an infectious, non-contagious virus spread by Culicoides biting…


4 tips for effective cleaning between free-range flocks

A subdued supply of free-range eggs on the market is putting poultry producers under pressure to manage tighter turnarounds between flocks. At the same time, they are having to contend…


A guide to giving cows grazing-level comfort indoors

Grazing-based herds may be housed for as little as two or three months a year to maximise the potential of grass intakes. As a result, they often have to make…


Ways to cut emissions in housed livestock systems

All livestock farms, regardless of system, must comply with UK environmental legislation, but as the sector comes under greater pressure to go further with greener farming methods, it is businesses…


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Pig tech promises 5-day advantage detecting coughs

A listening device that monitors coughing in pigs can alert the producer to the onset of respiratory disease up to five days earlier than farm personnel. SoundTalks, launched across the…


8 new products to enhance layer and broiler performance

Margins are under pressure like never before in the poultry sector, which faces high input costs and static prices, and some businesses are operating at a loss. Could it be…


How rising costs threaten future of Icelandic sheep farming

Tough and resilient – the farmers in Iceland are much like the sheep they have bred to cope with the rugged terrain and sub-Arctic winter conditions. But many, like 44-year-old…


The poultry industry's response to total cage ban proposals

A strong industry response to a vocal home-grown animal welfare lobby has already propelled the UK to the forefront of the global move away from cage systems. Despite that, pressure…


Why the industry is fighting Defra's poultry transport plans

Parts of the broiler industry could be severely threatened unless the government adopts a more commonsense approach to Defra’s Improvements to Animal Welfare in Transport consultation, according to the NFU.…


Best dairy bedding for minimising mastitis-causing bacterium

A study carried out at the University of Nottingham has shown sawdust to be the best bedding for minimising the survival of the mastitis-causing pathogen streptococcus uberis (S. uberis.) S.…


A guide to improving poultry shed insulation

Good insulation will keep poultry housing at an even temperature throughout the seasons, reducing heating and ventilation costs. However, older types of insulation may be less efficient due to outdated…


Video: Inside a state-of-the-art transition cow shed

One USA dairy has converted a shed, originally built for calves, into a state-of-the-art facility for transition cows. The shed at George DeRuyter & Sons dairy in Sunnyside, Washington State,…


A poultrykeeper's guide to ground-source heat pumps

With farm carbon emissions under the spotlight and an increasing emphasis on sustainable agriculture, many producers are moving away from fossil fuels. Ground-source heat pumps offer a good solution for…


Better way of measuring reveals ideal dairy cow living space

A new on-farm measurement for dairy cow buildings, known as living space, has been developed to provide a better understanding of space allowances for adult dairy cows. Researchers believe living…


6 things I learned from visiting US 'mega-dairies'

Dairy farming in the US has become synonymous with the words “mega-dairy”. While the scale of US dairy farms bears little resemblance to UK operations, there are some striking similarities…


Research shows benefits of pair housing calves pre-weaning

Pair housing calves before weaning can help them adapt better to different situations as they mature, leading to improved concentrate intakes and higher growth compared with those housed alone. Professor…

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