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Dairy Farming Manual

Volume 2

Husbandry Unit 3.1

page 77


Husbandry Unit 3.1: 

Technical Notes 

Note: Numbers in brackets refer to illustrations in the Extension Materials.

 page 79

Extension Materials
What should you know about housing for dairy cattle and buffalo?
What is important in designing housing for your dairy animals? (4-19)

1 You should think about:
- comfort
- safety
- economy
- convenience.

How can you construct simple housing to meet the basic needs of your dairy animals? (20-36)

2 By careful planning of the location and basic design of your cattle shed.


 How can you construct improved housing to better meet the needs of your dairy animals? (37-147)

3 By making sure you understand what each improvement is for and how much it will cost you.

page 81

Important points in housing design

Some important aspects that must be taken into account in designing housing for dairy animals are:

- Optimum comfort for the animal so that it will produce most. This involves protection from rain and extremes of heat and cold and strong winds; adequate ventilation. (4-8)

page 82

What is important in designing housing for your dairy animals?

4 Make your animals comfortable so that they produce more milk.

5 Protect your animals from rain and strong winds.


6 Protect your animals from heat

7 and from extreme cold.

page 83

- Costs of construction and subsequent maintenance.  (9-10
- Prevention of feed wastage.  (11)

page 84

8 Make sure there is good ventilation.
Low construction and maintenance costs
9 Use cheap materials available locally e.g.
- bamboo and coconut
- seasoned leaves
- coconut frond mats (cadjan)
10 but choose strong materials so that your repair and maintenance costs are low too.


Preventing feed wastage
11 Your animals should feed easily from racks and troughs and not trample on the feed.

page 85

- Prevention of injury to animals.  (12-15)

page 86

Preventing injury
12 Make sure the standing is not slippery
13 and there is the right amount of space for your animal to get up and lie down easily.

 14 Too little space makes it difficult for your animal to lie down and get up and may cause injury.
15 Too much space allows your animal to move across and drop dung and urine on the standing.

page 87

- Easy and profitable disposal of dung, urine and other wastes. (16-18)
- Convenience for operational activities e.g. feeding, milking and
  maintenance of hygienic environment. (19)

page 88

Making use of wastes
16 In well-designed housing you can easily remove dung, urine and other wastes
17 and use them to make compost manure (See H. 1.2 Compost Manure)
18 or pass them through a bio-gas digester.
This also reduces the breeding of flies.


Ease of feeding, milking, cleaning
19 Well designed housing makes these operations easier (See below).

page 89

Construction of simple housing to meet basic needs

The more productive dairy cattle have a high metabolic rate which results in the production of a considerable amount of heat.  Thus they would be more comfortable in a cold, dry climate than in a hot, humid climate because the former would be helpful in getting rid of the extra body heat.  However, there are vast areas with hot and humid tropical climates in the region.  The basic model presented, therefore, would be one suitable for these unfavourable conditions.  Providing adequate ventilation and protection from excessive sunlight and heavy rains is extremely important under these conditions.  This model can be easily modified to meet the needs of the climatic conditions, by providing half walls, curtains etc. where necessary.

The materials used for construction and the construction itself should not be too expensive.  Many small farmers cannot afford such luxury even for their own dwellings.  However, the material used should be durable, otherwise the costs of repairs and maintenance will be too high.  Fortunately in most rural areas less expensive material such as bamboo, coconut and other wood and cadjan (mats made of coconut frond), straw or other seasoned leaves are used traditionally and indigenous technology is available.

It is quite common for small scale producers with one to a few dairy cattle to house them in open sheds with an earth floor.  Sometimes cattle may be kept in a basement under the human dwelling or under a stack of straw.  Even though the animals may have shelter from sun and rain, and the construction costs are minimal, the other requirements are generally not met.  (20-23)

Convenience for operational activities, e.g. feeding, watering, milking and maintenance of a hygienic environment, has to be provided for in designing the arrangements within the shed and in the actual construction.  These are discussed under the layout, floor construction etc. as appropriate.

page 90

How can you construct simple housing to meet the basic needs of your dairy animals?

20 Many small scale farmers house their dairy animals in open sheds with earth floors.

21 Other farmers keep their animals in a basement under their house
22 or under a stack of straw.


23 Although this housing protects your animals from sun and rain and is cheap to build

page 91

Wastage of feed by trampling, inability to make full use of the urine as a source of fertilizer and inability to maintain a hygienic environment resulting from the formation of pools of mud and urine etc. are some of the problems.  (24-25)

Most of these problems can be overcome to a very great extent by:
- Constructing the shed in a well drained area and having a shallow drain around the shed.  (26)

- Having a systematic arrangement within the shed for tying the animals, preferably in a row, with appropriate space between animals and a separate area for the calves.  (27)

page 92

24 there are problems of:
- feed wastage by trampling
- difficulty of cleaning dung, urine and mud (unhygienic environment)
- not making good use of dung and urine.
Good design of housing can overcome these problems.
26 Construct your shed in a well drained area and make a shallow drain around your shed.


27 Make a good structure for tying your animals, best in a row with the right space and a separate area for calves.

page 93

- Having a partition between the animals and the feed area to prevent the trampling of roughage feed, and offering concentrates/minerals and water in suitable containers.  (28)

- Waste of feed, specially by trampling, is prevented by designing a suitable feed trough from which the animal can conveniently pick up its feed, whether it be cut and preferably chopped roughage or concentrate.  (29)
- Making the roof leak-proof i.e. maintaining the roof in a good state of repair, especially during rainy weather.  (30)
- Ramming the floor adequately with gravel to have an even floor and attending to the floor regularly to prevent uneven areas developing.  (31)

 Injury to the animal is prevented by constructing a non-slippery standing, allowing adequate space for the animal to lie down and get up without obstruction.  Space between animals has to be restricted, however, to prevent them moving across the standing, dropping dung and urine on the standing.

page 94

28 Make a partition between your animals and the feed area.
This prevents the trampling of roughage feed.
29 Make suitable containers for concentrates/minerals and for water.
30 Make sure your roof does not leak.
Check it and repair if necessary before the rainy season.
31 Make sure the shed floor is even.
Ram it with gravel and use a roller, if possible.

page 95

- Providing a sufficient slope to prevent urine and water flowing towards the animal or stagnating in pools.  (32)
- Providing suitable bedding such as saw dust, left over roughage, straw etc. into which some of the urine may be absorbed and which can subsequently be used for compost making. (33)
 It would be advantageous if dung, urine and other wastes could be disposed of in a manner that would facilitate the production of compost.  By arranging for the dung and urine to pass through a bio-gas digester, an additional benefit of a supply of bio-gas can be obtained, at the same time reducing the breeding of flies.
- Taking the animal outside the shed for bathing, washing, spraying etc.  (34)
- Providing curtains made of material available in the area e.g. bamboo strips, cadjan etc. to prevent rain beating in and cold draughts disturbing the animals (where applicable).  (35)

page 96

32 Make sure your floor has enough slope so that water and urine
- do not pool
- flow away from your animal.
33 Lay down suitable bedding e.g. saw-dust, straw, left-over roughage to soak up urine and to make compost manure.


34 Take your animals outside the shed for washing, bathing, spraying etc.

35 Use curtains made of local materials (bamboo strips, coconut fronds etc) where rain or cold draughts may disturb your animals.

page 97

- Growing a few trees at a suitable distance away from the shed to provide shade and also to serve as a wind barrier where appropriate.  Fruit trees, tree legumes etc. are suitable.  (36)

Construction of improved housing

The basic simple model can be improved upon in various ways.  Some examples are discussed below.  Before making recommendations to farmers, the extension officers should:

- Understand the benefits of these improvements.  (37)

- Work out their costs, as applicable to the particular situation.  (38)

- Discuss with the respective farmers the relevance of these
   improvements to their particular situations.  (39)

page 98

36 Grow trees (fruit, legume etc) at a suitable distance from your shed to provide shade and stop strong winds.
How can you construct improved housing to better meet the needs of your dairy animals?
37 In many ways but make sure:
- you understand how the improvements will help you
- you know how much the improvements cost


- you discuss with other farmers who have already made improvements.

page 99

Siting the cow shed

If the cattle/buffalo are to be kept in the basement under the human dwelling or if a shed is to be constructed making use of an existing wall of a house, there will be very little choice in siting the cattle shed.  (40)

If a choice is available, the following should be taken into account in siting.

- Well drained and at a higher elevation.  (41)

- Trees for shade and to serve as wind breaks or possibility of growing them if no trees exist. 

- Avoiding direct draught into shed and preventing severe winds blowing off the roof.  (42)

- Convenient access, for supply of feed and water etc. and removal of milk. (43)

page 100

Siting your cow shed
40 If you keep your animals:
- under your own house
- or in a shed attached to your house
the site is already selected.
41 If you can choose, your site should be:
- well drained
- on high ground
- near trees for shade and wind breaks or where you can grow trees
- where there are not strong draughts to make cattle ill or strong winds to blow the roof off


- easy to get to:
- to bring feed and water
- to take away milk.

page 101

The layout

The layout is usually constrained by the availability of space and funds in the small farmer situation.  Several alternatives can be considered.  Flexibility, cost saving and optimum utilization of space (e.g. ceiling to store hay or straw) are important criteria.  (44)

- If making use of an existing wall, an elongated shed can be constructed and an area can be separated for calves etc.  (45)

- If making use of the basement of a human dwelling, an appropriate arrangement has to be devised, keeping in line with floor area.  It may be that only Module 1 (see below) can be accommodated initially.  (46-47)

page 102

44 Small scale farmers should think carefully about
- good use of space
- low costs.
45 You can construct a shed against an existing wall and make a separate area for calves.

 46 If you use only the area under your house


47 you may use only Stage 1 of the cow shed plan (see below).

page 103

- If adequate space is available, several alternatives can be considered.  Two of them are presented here.

 Open cattle shed for 2 cows/1 heifer/2 calves.  The design was developed by MLDC/Sri Lanka.  (48-51)

page 104

48 If you have enough space, you could construct an open cattle shed for 2 cows, 1 heifer and 2 calves.

page 105


page 106


page 107


page 108

Modular approach proposed by FAO-RDDTTAP.  (52-53)

- Module 1 comprises the living area for the cows, heifers and calves.  This is constructed initially on a simple layout, according to the means of the smallholder.

- Module 2 comprises a movable calf box, storage for fresh fodder and exercise area with an attached manger added on subsequently as and when income from milk production permits.  This addition would bring addi-tional benefits from healthier calves, higher breeding efficiency and ease of work.

- Module 3 comprises separate areas for concentrate feeds, farm equipment, water storage, and milk and milk utensils.  This is added on to Modules 1 and 2 as and when income from milk production permits.  The additional benefits would be from improved cleanliness of milk, ease of work and improved work efficiency.

page 109

52 You could build your cattle shed in 3 stages (modular approach):

page 110


page 111

The standing

The standing is the area allowed for cows and heifers.  (54)

The main aspects to be considered are the floor area, type of floor and slope, partitioning and tethering arrangements.
 Floor area

The floor area on the standing allowed for each cow/heifer depends on the size of the animal.  The principle is to provide adequate space for the animal to lie down in comfort and to get up without obstruction.  At the same time the urine and dung should drop away from the animal, preferably into the gutter (dung channel).  (55)

The standing area usually allowed for a crossbred dairy cow is about 1.60 m x 1.10 m (See Module 1).  (56)

The area for the heifers can be reduced by changing the position of the gutter (See MLDC layout).   (57)

page 112

54 The standing is the area for your cows and heifers.
Floor area
55 Your animal should be able to lie down and get up easily.
56 A crossbred dairy cow needs about 1.60 m x 1.10 m. (See Module 1 in 52-53 above)


 57 Heifers need a smaller area and you can angle the gutter. (See 49 above)

page 113

Slightly larger areas are being recommended for buffaloes (2.25 m x 1.35 m).  (58)

Type of floor and slope

The floor can be made of:

Rammed earth and gravel  (59)

For a rammed earth and gravel floor, a slope of about 3 % or 1 in 30 (towards the gutter) will be required.  (60)

The main advantage of a rammed earth and gravel floor is its low initial cost.  However, it needs constant maintenance to prevent the appearance of uneven areas where pools of mud and urine will form.   (61)

page 114

58 Buffaloes need a larger area - about 2.25 m x 1.35 m.
Type of floor and slope
Rammed earth and gravel
59 You can make the floor of rammed earth and gravel.

 60 Make the slope 1 in 30 (3 %) towards the gutter.


61 This floor is low cost but:
- you must keep it flat (and sloping) to prevent pools of mud and urine

page 115

There are also difficulties in collecting all the urine for fertilizer or compost making because part of it will be absorbed into the floor.   (62)

This can be partially overcome by having sufficient bedding e.g. saw dust, straw or left over roughage around the hind quarters of the animals.  (63)

Large pieces of rubble with the flat surface facing up 

The rubble is laid on and bound together with a mixture of cement and sand, e.g. 1:3.  (64-67)

page 116

- it is difficult to collect urine for compost manure because it soaks into the floor.
63 You can help soak up urine by putting bedding (e.g. saw-dust, straw, left-over roughage) around the back of the animal.
Rubble and cement
64 You can make the floor of rubble and cement.


65 Make sure the site is sloping at least 1 in 60 (1.5 %) towards the gutter.

page 117

7.5 cm layer of concrete 

Cement, sand and gravel are mixed in a suitable ratio, e.g. 1:3:3.  (68-71)

The slope can be reduced to about 1.5 % or 1 in 60 when large rubble on cement or concrete is used.

page 118

66 Lay down the rubble with the flat side up. Follow the slope.
Mix 1 part of cement with 3 parts of sand and a little water.
67 Pour the sand/cement mixture between the rubble and make a flat surface.
Check the slope is still at least 1 in 60.
68 You can make your floor of concrete.
Make a wooden frame 7.5 cm deep with strong supports.
Remember: 1 in 60 slope


69 Mix 1 part of cement with 3 parts of sand, 3 parts of gravel and a little water.

page 119

Wooden floors

Wooden floors should be used only where the wood is of good quality and freely available.  The costs of maintenance and repair increase as good quality wood becomes scarce. (72-73)

page 120

70 Pour the concrete into the frame with a bucket.
Use a spade to push down the concrete and to make the surface flat.
71 Make a fence round the floor to protect it and sprinkle water for 2-3 days until the concrete sets.
 Wooden floor
72 You can make a wooden floor.
Use good quality wood.
73 Maintenance and repair costs are high for poor quality wood.

page 121


Partitioning within the shed keeps the calves separated from the adult cattle and also restricts the movement of the adult cattle across the standing.  If the animals are allowed free movement across the standing, dung and urine will be dropped all over (may affect hygiene and make cleaning more difficult) and injuries may be caused e.g. by one animal trampling another's udder.  (74-76)
The partitions can be made of wood available in the area or galvanized piping or a combination of the two.  Initial costs and costs of maintenance should be taken into account in deciding what to use.  (77)

page 122

74 You need partitioning to:
- separate your calves from your adult cattle
- stop your animals moving around and dropping dung and urine on the standing; cleaning is difficult.
- stop one animal trampling on another animal's udder; this may cause injury (and mastitis).


77 You can use wood or galvanized piping or both.
Plan carefully for construction and maintenance costs.

page 123

Barbed wire should never be used on partitions.  Nails, or pointed or sharp edges of the material used should not be allowed to protrude because these can injure the animals.  (78)

Partitions (dividers) between two adult animals are usually placed about 1.10 m apart and may extend only a distance of about 100.0 cm from the head of the standing to allow free access to the animal for milking etc.  They may consist of two rafters (e.g. coconut), placed about 30.0 cm apart with the top one at a height of about 75.0 cm., fitted to two wooden posts, one at the head of standing and the other about 100.0 cm from it; or a 40.0 mm. diameter galvanized pipe fitted to a wooden or galvanized post at the head end, and bent about 100.0 cm away so that the other end can be buried in the standing.  (79-80)

Tethering arrangements

The simplest tethering arrangement is to tie the animal by its neck to a wooden post erected on the floor, using a coir (coconut fibre) rope.  However, to prevent injuries to the animals and also to restrict its movements various improvements have been made. (81)

page 124

78 Never
- use barb wire
- leave nails sticking out or pointed edges.
These can injure your animal.
 79 For adult animals, place wooden partitions about 1.10 m apart with a length of 1.00 m - so you can easily get to your cow for milking
 80 You can also use 40 mm diameter galvanized piping.
Bend at 1.00 m and bury the bottom in the standing.


81 It is very easy to use a coconut fibre (coir) rope tied to a post.
But your animal can get injured by the rope.

page 125

The rope itself can be lined on the outside with a cotton cloth and a girdle placed round the animal's  neck.   Ordinary coir rope is then used to connect this girdle to a post or other stay.  The coir can be replaced by more durable and smooth material e.g. nylon or an iron chain.  (82-83)

The stay for tying each animal may be an iron ring fixed to the floor close to the manger halfway between two partitions.  Alternatively, two rings may be fixed for each animal, one close to each partition, so that the animal is more restricted to the centre of the standing.  (84-85)

page 126

82 Wrap the rope with cloth and make a girdle to go around your animal's neck
83 or use a strong smooth material like nylon or an iron chain.


 84 You can fix an iron ring (stay) to the floor near the manger between the partitions.

 85 By fixing two rings close to the partitions, you can keep your animal near the centre of the standing.

page 127

There are more elaborate tethering arrangements e.g. fixing an iron girdle round the neck which then gets attached by a chain to two points, one on the floor and the other above the animal.  Most of the elaborations have been introduced with convenience of operation and the requirements of various feeding arrangement etc. as the basis.  (86-87)

The gutter (also called drain or dung channel)

Even when the floor is of rammed earth and gravel, it is best to have the gutter made in rubble and cement or brick and cement.  (88)
If the sides of the gutter are not strong, they will continuously erode into the gutter and proper maintenance of the floor of the standing will be impossible.  By having the gutter finished smooth with cement and sand, cleaning will be convenient and the dung and urine can easily be led into a urine pit or a bio-gas digester outside the shed.  (89-91)

page 128

86 This tether has an iron girdle and a chain fixed to the floor and above the animal.
87 Choose a design which is:
- easy to use
- suitable for your feeding arrangements.
 Gutter (Drain or Dung Channel)
88 Always make your gutter of rubble (or brick) and cement, even if your floor is rammed earth and gravel.
89 This makes sure the sides of the gutter are strong for good maintenance of the floor.

page 129

The gutter may be about 15.0 cm deep at the start, 40.0 cm wide with a slope of about of 2.5 % or 1 in 40 lengthwise.  Gutters of 30.0 cm depth are also being used to prevent animals standing in the gutter and dropping dung and urine on the passage.

If cement rendering is used, the edges may be rounded to facilitate cleaning.  The gutter may lead to a urine pit about 60.0 cm x 60.0 cm and 40.0 cm deep or to a bio-gas digester.  (92-93)

page 130

90 Make walls and bottom of the gutter smooth with a sand/ cement mixture and round the edges
91 so the gutter is easy to clean and carries urine and dung easily to a urine pit or bio-gas digester.
92 The gutter can be about 15 cm deep, 40 cm wide with a slope of 1 in 40 (2.5 %).
It can lead to a urine pit (60 cm x 60 cm x 40 cm deep) or a bio-gas digester.


93 Some farmers use 30 cm deep gutters to prevent animals:
- standing in the gutter
- dropping dung and urine on the standing.

page 131

The feeder (also called the manger)

The floor of the feeder can be made with rammed earth, rubble on cement or cement concrete.  (94)

In its simplest form, the feeder is an area separated out from the standing with a wooden plank.  There is a slope away from the animal of about 2.5 % or 1 in 40.  (95).

The disadvantages of this arrangement are:  (96)

- the animal cannot pick up some of the feed which may thus get wasted; 

- a container has to be used for feeding concentrates. 
The feeder may be made of wooden planks, bamboo poles, bamboo strips or galvanized sheets.  A metal barrel cut into two may also be used as a feeder.  This will corrode rapidly if used for silage feeding.  (97-98)

page 132

Feeder (or manger)
94 You can make the floor of the feeder of:
- rammed earth
- rubble/cement or
- concrete.
95 The floor of the feeder should slope away from the animal 1 in 40 (2.5 %)
but this simple design has problems:
- your animal cannot pick up some of the feed and it is wasted
- you need a container for concentrates.


97 You can make the feeder of:
- wooden planks
- bamboo poles
- bamboo strips
- galvanized sheets

page 133

When constructing feeders with brick and cement, a rule to remember is that: "The higher the bottom of the trough, the further the animal is able to reach into it to feed."  (99)

A wooden shaft or galvanized piping may be fitted at a height of 90.0 cm from the ground and over the wooden partition (head rail) to prevent the animal attempting to get into the feeder area.  (100)
The waterer

The simplest method is to supply water in buckets several times daily (at least three times a day).  (101)

page 134

98 or metal barrels cut in 2
but these will corrode rapidly if used for silage feeding.
99 If you use brick and cement, remember:
- your animal can reach further to feed with a high bottom.
100 Fit a piece of wood or galvanized pipe 90 cm above the floor to prevent your animal getting into the feeding area.


101 It is easy to provide water in buckets several times a day (at least 3 times).

page 135

Water requirements are better met by making water available to the animals throughout the day by having a small compartment in a cement/concrete manger or having a small water tank (e.g. 60.0 cm x 50.0 cm and height 20.0 cm) constructed by the side of the manger. (See the MLDC arrangement providing one common tank to two animals 48-51).  (102)

The roof

When the animals are to be housed in a basement of a human dwelling or under a stack of straw, the material to be used for the roof, roof arrangement etc. is  already decided.  But when a separate shed is constructed, the most appropriate and least expensive alternatives should be selected.  Materials that can be used for the roof are many.  The decision has to be made considering various aspects.  (103)

Cadjans, straw, dried grasses and other seasoned leaves are being used in many areas.  The supporting structure can also be very simple in these cases, which makes it quite economical initially.  However, these materials need replacement at regular intervals of 1-3 years depending on the material used and how skillfully the job is done.  Therefore, maintenance is more costly than roofs made of clay tiles or galvanized sheets.  (104-107)

page 136

102 It is better to provide water all day by having a water tank

(e.g. cement/concrete 60 cm x 50 cm x 20 cm deep) beside the manger (1 tank for 2 animals).

103 When you choose roof materials, you should think about:
- purchase cost
- maintenance and repair costs.
104 Coconut frond mats, straw and dried grasses, seasoned leaves need a simple support and are cheap to buy.


105 If the materials are good and the labour skilful, they may last 3 years
so your maintenance and repair costs are high.

page 137

Roofs made of clay tiles or galvanized sheets are more expensive and, together with the strong supporting structure required especially for clay tiles, the initial expenditure can be extremely high.  (108-109)

page 138

106 This is a large straw (thatched) roof
107 and its supporting structure of wood or bamboo.
108 Clay tiles, galvanized sheets need a stronger support and are more expensive to buy


109 but they last longer so your maintenance and repair costs are lower.

page 139

In addition, in warm areas with bright sunlight and when there are no shade trees, the temperatures within the shed can be too high to be comfortable for dairy cattle.  This effect can be overcome by having an overlay of cadjan or straw or by having a warm air outlet on the roof.  The warm air outlet can be provided by having the roof at two levels.  (110-112)

When an existing wall is used as one side of the shed, the lean-to roof (with a single slope) is the most convenient arrangement.  When a separate shed is constructed away from other structures, a roof sloping in either direction from the centre would be best.  (113, 116)

page 140

110 In tropical areas with little shade it can get very hot in the shed with a tile or galvanized roof.
111 You can keep the shed cooler by laying mats, straw or leaves over the tiles or galvanized sheets

 112 or by having a warm air outlet e.g. with the roof on 2 levels.


113 If the shed is separate from other buildings, a roof sloping in 2 directions away from the centre is best.

page 141

The height of the roof at the eaves should be adequate to allow easy access and ventilation, but should not exceed 2.40 m.  Excess height can result in rain beating in and may make it easier for the roof to get blown off by severe blowing.  (114)

Having the roof extended about 60.0 cm beyond the floor area will also help in reducing the rain beating in.  At the same time, curtains can be attached to the roof where necessary.  (115)

Pillars and posts

Pillars and posts within the shed can be made of wood, galvanized piping (of appropriate gauge and diameter), bricks and cement or cement concrete.  When wood and or galvanized piping is used, durability can be improved by having the bottom of the pillar made of concrete up to a height of about 30.0 cm.  (117-118)

page 142

114 Make the height at the eaves enough for good ventilation but not more than 2.40 m - rain may blow in and the roof may blow off.
115 Make the eaves of the roof 60 cm beyond the floor area to prevent rain blowing in.
Fit curtains if necessary.
116 If you use the wall of another building, a single slope roof is best.


Pillars and posts
117 Pillars and posts within the shed can be made of:
- wood
- galvanized piping (of correct gauge and diameter) or
- bricks/cement or concrete.

page 143

Side walls, curtains etc.

For most places in the region, the best arrangement would be to have the sides open.  When the shed is constructed making use of an existing wall,  it automatically gets bounded by a complete wall on one side.  Consideration should be given to the possibility of selecting a wall which would also serve as a wind barrier where strong winds are present.  It is usual to have the feeder towards the wall end of the standing as more space is required at the hind end of the animal for milking, A.I. etc.  (119-121)

page 144

118 You can make wood and galvanized piping last longer by putting concrete around the base of the pillar to a height of 30 cm.
 Side walls and curtains
119 Choose the wall of another building which helps protect from wind and rain.


 120 Place the feeder near wall so you have more space at the back of your animal for milking, A.I. etc.

121 In most areas, it is better to have the sides open.

page 145

In areas with extremely cold winters and/or strong cold winds, it may be necessary to construct half walls or even full walls on one or more sides of the shed.  These should be considered only when a temporary curtain is not sufficient.  (122, 124))

The material to be used for curtains can vary from dried grass or straw to cadjan or bamboo strips.  (123)

The material to be used for the half walls/walls may be bamboo or any other wood, wooden planks, wattle and daub (wood/bamboo structure covered with mud) plastered with lime and sand mixture or brick and cement.  (125)

page 146

122 In areas with cold winters and/or strong cold winds, try to use temporary curtains.
123 You can make the curtains of:
- bamboo strips
- straw or dried grass
- coconut frond mats.
124 If curtains do not give enough protection, make:
- half walls or
- full walls
on one or more sides of the shed.


125 You can make walls of:
- bamboo or wood
- wattle and daub
- bricks and cement.

page 147

Storage of milk utensils

The ideal arrangement would be  to have a separate room with good light and ventilation for storing milk utensils.  (126)

However, a sufficient degree of cleanliness and hygiene can be achieved by having a rack attached to an existing wall or provid-ing an arrangement to hold the milk cans against a post but not close to standings or gutters.  It is necessary that the wash waters get drained off making the utensils dry and that the dust is not disturbed or any dung/urine etc. does not get splashed into the utensils while they are being stored.  (127-130)

page 148

Storing milk utensils
126 if possible, have a separate room for storing milk utensils.
Make sure there is good light and ventilation.
127 But you can keep things clean by:
- making a rack on a wall or
- hanging cans against a post.
128 Do not store milk utensils close to standings or gutters.


129 Make sure the water can drain off the utensils easily.

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Collection and storage of rain water

Rain is a very cheap source of clean water suitable for all purposes in the shed.  (131)

The usual method of collection is to attach a gutter made of galvanized sheeting or, plastic (or even wood) to the edge of the roof and to lead the water through a down pipe made of galvanized sheeting, plastic, earth or cement to a storage tank/container of appropriate shape and capacity.  (132-133)

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Collecting and storing rain water
130 Do not
- make dust
- splash dirty water
on to utensils which are drying.
131 Storing rain is a cheap way of getting clean water for your farm.



 132 You can collect it from your roof with a gutter made of plastic or galvanized sheet or even wood

133 through a pipe of galvanized, plastic, earth or cement to a storage tank or container.

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The storage container may be made of earth, fibre glass, metal that does not rust easily or brick and cement.  Some savings can be made by erecting a brick and cement tank in a corner between two existing walls, provided they are strong enough and leak proof.  (134-135)

The sizes and numbers of the containers to be kept on any farm will be determined by the availability of other clean water (and costs of bringing same to the site), the rainfall patterns of the area, the costs of construction/purchase and the investment capability of the farmer. 

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134 The storage tank may be made of earth, fibre glass, metal (if it does not rust easily) or brick and cement.
135 You can save money by building a brick and cement tank between 2 walls if they are strong and do not leak.
When planning the type, size and number of water containers, think about:
- the cost of buying or making them.


The rainfall
other clean water supply
the cost of bringing clean water to your farm.

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Housing of dairy calves

The housing of dairy calves needs more attention because they are more susceptible than adult animals to adverse environmental conditions including diseases.  (138)

In its simplest form, a calf house can be just a separated out area in a cattle shed.  This arrangement is suitable in a dry area, where adequate ventilation can be provided without the risk of the calf getting exposed to severe cold winds etc.  Even under these conditions, it is best to provide individual pens for the calves and prevent calves of different ages being kept together.  (139-140)

In areas which require closed housing, e.g. extremely cold climates, strong cold winds etc., and in damp conditions, where it is difficult to keep the floor dry, calf pens are usually fitted with a raised platform.  The platform (slatted floor) may be made of strips of wood, placed about 15.0 mm apart, to prevent the calf's foot getting entangled in the space between strips.  (141)

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Dairy calves
Housing of dairy calves
138 Plan housing for your dairy calves carefully - it is easy for them to get disease or suffer from the weather.
139 In dry areas where you have adequate ventilation without cold winds, you can separate part of your shed for your calves.
140 But make separate pens for each calf (or keep only 2-4 calves of same age in one pen with adequate space).
Do not keep calves of different ages together.


 141 In areas which are cold or wet, raise the floor of the calf pen to keep it dry.
Use strips of wood 15 mm apart so that your calf's foot cannot go through.

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Adequate space should be provided in a calf pen, as the calf is expected to be housed in it till it is about 3 months old.  An individual pen may be 1.80 m x 1.0 m in size.  (142)
Movable calf pens

The space within the cow shed can be put to optimum use and the calf pens can be maintained in a very high state of hygiene by using movable calf pens.  By moving the pens outside the shed to a suitable pasture area, the calf can be offered good quality roughage as well.  (143-144)
Feeding and watering

A feeding rack can be fixed within the calf pen while a concentrate trough and a bucket for water/milk placed on a holder outside the pen, but within easy reach of the calf.  (145)

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142 Your calf stays in the pen until about 3 months old so make sure it is big enough - about 1.80 m x 1.0 m.
Moveable calf pens
143 You can:
- make good use of space
- keep everything clean
by using moveable calf pens.
144 By moving the pen to a suitable pasture area, you can offer good quality roughage as well.
Feeding and watering


145 You can place the:
- feeding rack inside the pen
- concentrate trough and bucket for milk/water outside the pen within easy reach.

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Exercise yard

When the calf's movements are limited within a calf pen, it would be useful for its healthy growth to provide an exercise yard.  (146)

Materials such as barbed wire that can injure the animals should not be used in these areas. (147)

A simple arrangement of a perimeter fence for an exercise yard is to fix horizontal shafts (made of wood or coconut) to wooden posts placed about 1.80 m apart and to tie the droppers by rope (made of coir or similar material) through holes drilled in the horizontal shafts.  Whole bamboo and/or bamboo strips may also be used for the perimeter fence.

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Exercise yard
146 Calves in pens need an exercise yard for healthy growth.
147 Do not use nails or barbed wire in the area.
Tie droppers (wood or bamboo) with ropes made from coconut fibre.

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What do you know about housing for dairy cattle and buffalo?
Important things in designing housing
1 Comfort 
2 Protection from the weather 
3 Good ventilation 
4 Low construction and maintenance costs 
5 Preventing feed wastage 
6 Preventing injury 
7 Making use of wastes 
8 Ease of feeding, milking, cleaning etc 
Construction of simple housing
1 Types of simple housing 
2 Advantages 
3 Disadvantages 
4 Key factors
- Drainage 
- Tyings and spacing 
- Partitions 
- Containers 
- Roof 
- Floor 
- Bedding 
- Outside washing 
- Curtains and wind breaks 
Construction of improved housing
1 Points to consider 
2 Siting 
3 Layout 
4 Standing 
- Floor area 
- Type of floor and slope 
- Partitioning 
- Tethering 
5 Gutter 
6 Feeder 
7 Watering
8 Roof 
9 Pillars and posts 
10 Side walls and curtains 
11 Storing milk utensils 
12 Collecting and storing rain water 
13 Dairy calves
- Housing 
- Moveable calf pens 
- Feeding and watering 
- Exercise yard 

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