Key Flooring Considerations for Your Shed When Housing Cows
Dairy cows are an integral part of any farm or agricultural setting, so farmers all over the country build barns specifically to house the cows that produce milk. Well, it is an excellent idea to build a barn, but you should consider its design to make sure that it can accommodate your cows and provide a comfortable and healthy environment for them.
One of the most important factors that should be thought about but often taken for granted is the type of flooring. Take note that if you choose the wrong kind, your cows may be at risk for injury—in the long term.
Characteristics of a Good Floor
One of the most prevalent problems for dairy cow farmers and their animals is lameness in cows. Bad floors contribute largely to this because hard surfaces can damage cow hooves and cause long term damage to their legs resulting in varying degrees of lameness. Installing high-quality flooring is key to preventing this problem from happening.
The best kind of flooring for dairy cows has three main characteristics. Firstly, the floor should be relatively dry and be able to be maintained. Certain types of wood retain moisture, which may give in under the cows’ weight; secondly, the flooring should provide comfortable surface and footing that aren’t too hard on the cows’ hooves; and lastly, the flooring should be durable, being able to withstand the cows’ weight and remain intact for a long time.
Differences in Concrete
Even though you have various flooring options for your cow barn, concrete floors seem to be the most popular. This being said, there are individual differences in types of concrete floors that make a big difference to the cows. Hard concrete flooring is a bad idea because it is too hard on the hooves and will cause health problems for the animals.
There are other kinds of concrete floors that aren’t as hard, while still retaining the solidity of the base. These are generally some of the best kind to use in cow sheds because of these properties and including grooves into the finish of the flooring is one way to provide this. Having a flat or smooth surface between grooves also aids in making the best flooring possible.
Other Kinds of Flooring
Specially designed concrete is not the only kind of flooring available that is good for the cows’ health. Alternatives to this are popular as well, but must also meet the specifications of being dry, comfortable and durable. Any material that can meet these requirements, certain types of wood for example, would be considered usable.
Rubber is a material that meets these requirements as well and is often used in barns having been reclaimed from other industries. Rubber is softer than wood, concrete or metal and is also economically feasible. Rubber flooring also comes in a variety of kinds, including reclaimed rubber belts, rubber mats and specifically constructed rubber flooring.
In addition to the materials used in the flooring for a cow barn or shed, the shape of the floor is also important. Most cow sheds have sloped floors because it allows water runoff to drain easier or to more tactfully divide two parts of the same shed with uneven elevation.
It is a good idea to include some slight sloping on your flooring because it will also make the barn or shed easier to clean when hosing down. However, you do have to be careful not to include too much elevation or else the cows will have a harder time walking through. A general average for the flooring as a whole is 2% and you should try to avoid any incline higher than 4%.
The Perfect Cow Shed
For any farm in the Perth area or anywhere else, sheds are necessary to provide homes for the animals where they can thrive and grow. As the owner, it is your responsibility to provide them with a healthy and comfortable environment. One of the most important aspects of creating the perfect shed for your cows is to design it with the best kind of flooring. Remember to use flooring that is dry and easy to clean, comfortable and easy on the cows’ hooves and durable enough to withstand the weight of the animals for a long time.
Additional features such as grooves and sloping can also help create flooring that is specially designed to give the cows a good home. Keep all of these factors in mind and you will have the perfect flooring for them.
To learn about how we can help you with shed designing and building, call us at on 1300 778 628.