This type of dairy farming in kenya is where cattle are confined in a shed where they are fed from. This type of farming inhibits movement of the cattle especially during grazing. Here, the cows are fed in a feeding trough which is located within the shed and milked in a dairy with the calves being rared in the calf pen.
There are several factors that determine the look/shape and size of the cow shed. The main factor being capital. There are several cow shed designs that can be used depending on the size of the cattle that you are rearing and the capital that you have to spend.
There are several characteristics that should be observed when building a cow shed:
- There should be Sufficient space to accommodate the number of cows that you have. You should also keep in mind that the cows will multiply and there should be extra space and a calf area to cater for this.
- There should be shelter to protect cows from adverse weather e.g. excessive cold and rain. These factors may lead to health issues for cows. For a cow to be productive and healthy, these factors should be looked into.
- The shed should be easy to clean for hygiene purposes. Poor hygiene can lead to infections and general poor health of the animals. To avoid this, regular cleaning is advised.
- Easy access to clean water. Cows need water to produce milk since water makes up for 80% of milk. Dirty water can bring about infections especially in low resistant cows.
- Allow for easy feeding. The troughs should be positioned in such a manner that cows can access it easily so as to feed.
A typical cow shed has three main parts namely resting/sleeping area, the manuring place and feeding place.
The dimensions of a cubical should be around 210cm length and 120cm width. The resting area should have a roof to protect the cows from rain.
The walking path should be constructed using concrete as it is used a lot of times by both cows and farmers. The floor should slope in the direction of the manure storage for easy collection.
Troughs should be constructed on the opposite side of the sleeping area. The dimensions are 3ft per cow and can be constructed from concrete of plastic drums.
Nutrition for dairy cattle
Nutrition for cows is different depending on the stage it is in. For example a milk producing cow should be fed differently from a heifer. The different stages of lactation also dictates how the cow is fed.
For example during early lactation, which is between 0 and 70 days after calving, milk production increases and therefore there is a need to increase feed intake by about ½ kg per day. Protein intake is important during this period and farmers are advised to increase it.
This system of dairy farming has several advantages. The main one being that cows save energy by not walking for long distances looking for food and the energy is instead used for milk production.
It also makes it easier for farmers with