Home Page
   Articles
       links
About Us    
Traders        
Recipes            
Latest Articles
Options question on housing for cattle?
Page 1, 2, 3  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Downsizer Forum Index -> Livestock and Pets
Author 
 Message
dolmen



Joined: 07 Oct 2011
Posts: 108

PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 12 5:07 pm    Post subject: Options question on housing for cattle? Reply with quote    

If on the off chance I was ever able to get my hands on a few acres I dream about keeping perhaps 4 suckler cows and rearing their calves to beef ... on a less intensive system ...
how many acres (minimum) would be comfortable, grass fed beef?
what cow would be best for such a system?
what design of house, yard?
I hope this gets a few juices flowing, TIA
Feel free to ask other questions.

earthmamma



Joined: 01 Jan 2012
Posts: 411
Location: West Wiltshire
PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 12 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I would love to do this and I would like to keep dexters (small, friendly and tasty).

DawnMK



Joined: 01 Dec 2008
Posts: 895
Location: Buckinghamshire
PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 12 9:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I would love a beutifull tan coloured Jersey with big eylashes called Daisy

we are not helping much are we

Rob R



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 28983
Location: York
PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 12 9:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

What are you hoping to achieve by keeping cattle? That will very much influence my answer.

As to housing, this is the best and a variation of the theme will achieve similar results. It depends how extensive you want to go, you won't actually need any housing for their benefit, but you may want some for yours.

dolmen



Joined: 07 Oct 2011
Posts: 108

PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 12 10:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Thanks folks, thats an interesting looking house, I think something less expensive would meet my needs.
I remember a small farm from my childhood, the cows were kept in a byre, perhaps 6 big cows it was a very nice place to be, the sweet smell from the animals will always stay with me and the milk that was carried to the house tasted fantastic. My first experience of real milk, until then I hated the milk we were given at school, but on that visit to the farm I drank half a gallon and could have taken more.
I guess keeping cows under such conditions has become a thing of the past, but I remember the cows being let out into a yard to exercise while the byre was cleaned and they would have knocked you down in their rush back to their stall when the door was opened. They were fed hay and some course meal it seemed to be a great system and their welfare was well catered for.
Anyone got pics of how their system works?

Rob R



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 28983
Location: York
PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 12 11:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

A byre is pretty much the polar opposite to the link I posted, which is the pinacle of cattle house design. Ventilation, as with all animals, is the most important thingfor animal health and most byres don't have any. It might be expensive but you can construct something along the same principles (ie lots of ventilation) much smaller & cheaper.

Mutton



Joined: 09 May 2009
Posts: 1260

PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 12 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

In terms of breeds of cow, I've long fancied Shetland cows. (But decided not to as all our Soay sheep need all our land.) I had a very interesting phone call with a Shetland cattle breeder who advertises in RBST magazine.

Basically Shetland cows are light, with broad hooves (so wouldn't damage our fragile peat, moorland soil as much as modern cattle) and depending on the quality of individual you buy, can be extremely friendly and very productive in milk for their size. They are also browsers, not grazers and are happy eating all sorts - they don't demand high quality pasture (so your land purchase would be cheaper ).

Nick



Joined: 02 Nov 2004
Posts: 29421
Location: Hereford
PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 12 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Rob R wrote:
What are you hoping to achieve by keeping cattle? That will very much influence my answer.

As to housing, this is the best and a variation of the theme will achieve similar results. It depends how extensive you want to go, you won't actually need any housing for their benefit, but you may want some for yours.


I will be brave enough to disagree with Rob, for purely one reason. If you have an animal that wants some confining, for any reason, it's very difficult to do it without some form of housing or shelter. We have a timber and corrugated hut I put up one weekend for about 200, and they stay well away from it, whatever the weather, but if I needed a vet to deal with a beast, I reckon we'd be glad of it. It also serves as a structure I can use as a race, with the crush, for TB testing, for example.

Rob R



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 28983
Location: York
PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 12 2:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

That's what I meant by 'your benefit'. We're putting up a shed but it's all to make life easier for us.

NorthernMonkeyGirl



Joined: 10 Apr 2011
Posts: 3003
Location: Peeping over your shoulder
PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 12 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

dolmen wrote:
Thanks folks, thats an interesting looking house, I think something less expensive would meet my needs.
I remember a small farm from my childhood, the cows were kept in a byre, perhaps 6 big cows it was a very nice place to be, the sweet smell from the animals will always stay with me and the milk that was carried to the house tasted fantastic. My first experience of real milk, until then I hated the milk we were given at school, but on that visit to the farm I drank half a gallon and could have taken more.
I guess keeping cows under such conditions has become a thing of the past, but I remember the cows being let out into a yard to exercise while the byre was cleaned and they would have knocked you down in their rush back to their stall when the door was opened. They were fed hay and some course meal it seemed to be a great system and their welfare was well catered for.
Anyone got pics of how their system works?



Just a thought to consider...
I read an article about smallholders inheriting lovely ancient barns and spending thousands of pounds to restore them, when what would be best for the livestock would be to knock it down and start again.
Remember - old buildings were the best they could do at the time. Limited resources, less choice in building materials, perhaps certain skills (brickwork) plentiful but others (welding!!) not.

We enjoy nice cosy snug little spaces - but we do not have fur coats.

If you're wanting a low input, self sufficient breed then I'm presuming some native British breed. They are happiest in the fresh air, with a choice of "natural" shelters (rocky outcrops, trees, dips in the ground etc etc). So yes, I think we need to provide something as we are restricting their movements. But it needs to be as....non-intrusive as possible. Something light and airy.

The benefit of intensive/technical farming is that work has been done on animal housing, air flow, ventilation etc.

As a "DIY" thing, I would consider walls up to back-height of the adult beast (to avoid chilly draughts), with Yorkshire boarding above that (if anything) and a roof with vents. Any solid wall to be facing the main/coldest wind. And an array of gates and gateposts/fittings so it could be subdivided/made into a race/lead into a crush/become a funnel for loading....
Actually, if the cattle were polled I'd have one wall as a feed barrier too

dolmen



Joined: 07 Oct 2011
Posts: 108

PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 12 4:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

interesting the different opinions, a fault I have is that I kinda live in the past, I see many things that have changed for the worse, even with all the modern slant put on it, thats not to say that I don't embrace much of the new ways, cause I do ... but I'm re- looking at many old ways of doing things and finding that they were actually better for our health, perhaps not easier though!
I've talked to a few old guys and they mostly agreed that the byre was a great system, some were better than others, in that door ways were made wider, group sloped to the catchment area, roofs were higher and had more air circulation after the thatch was replaced, cows were more content being in the herd situation without the bullying, cows were cleaner, not stressed and healthier.
So I was looking to try and improve on an old idea if possible, one chap I know has tried, but I see a few flaws IMO eg. the cubicles face into the back wall, then a flat walking area leading to the feeding barrier, he pushes the manure out the length of the house. I'd thought, in reverse order ... feeding barrier, then cubicles, then sloping floor to gates/railings were tractor can push manure out from behind the animals, covered yard each end, one for manure storage other for crush and handling or separate calving pens.
Then I remember seeing some old French housing and thought about improving on their ideas ... feeding barriers looking through to the hay storage was a great step forward on many of the byres in the UK ... hope you are not getting bored with this as I'd like to hear more ideas, or see pics would be great if you have what you consider to the the real deal.
Cheers

dolmen



Joined: 07 Oct 2011
Posts: 108

PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 12 4:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I'm sure you've noticed ... no slats! I'd like to work with FYM not slurry ... though I'd thought about slats behind the cattle dropping to a dry manure containment area ... might save on scraping out even with the tractor, not sure?
Of course this would all cost money!! which could kill the idea before it got of the drawing board ... I do agree that field shelters are good ... but for the sake of all something relatively easy is needed or things get over looked ...

NorthernMonkeyGirl



Joined: 10 Apr 2011
Posts: 3003
Location: Peeping over your shoulder
PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 12 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Some questions then

Are you planning to scrape out the dung every day/week; or to deep litter?

What are you thinking in terms of machinery (tractors etc)? They'll need to fit through any doors/gates. Why have a door instead of a gate?

What are you thinking for bedding - traditional straw? Rubber mats?

What's the floor/base made of? Concrete is extremely slippery. Imagine a dog trying to run on laminate flooring

Can you clarify what you mean by "cubicle" - an individual pen per animal? More cubicles/stalls/divisions means more areas to be cleaned, and more places for germs to hide. Now, I'm no germaphobe but god forbid anything nasty gets in, I want to be able to blast everything and not worry about nooks and crannies.
EDIT - actually, personally, I don't like the thought of penning or chaining individual members of a herd species, agree that it can be necessary for bulls, but prefer to see nice bulls outside with a little gang of steers

Also consider boring things like water supply and troughs

Rob R



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 28983
Location: York
PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 12 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

dolmen wrote:
or see pics would be great if you have what you consider to the the real deal.
Cheers


I found this pic from an old book in Barter Books recently called 'Feeding Livestock';


dolmen



Joined: 07 Oct 2011
Posts: 108

PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 12 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

NorthernMonkeyGirl wrote:
Some questions then

Are you planning to scrape out the dung every day/week; or to deep litter?

What are you thinking in terms of machinery (tractors etc)? They'll need to fit through any doors/gates. Why have a door instead of a gate?

What are you thinking for bedding - traditional straw? Rubber mats?

What's the floor/base made of? Concrete is extremely slippery. Imagine a dog trying to run on laminate flooring

Can you clarify what you mean by "cubicle" - an individual pen per animal? More cubicles/stalls/divisions means more areas to be cleaned, and more places for germs to hide. Now, I'm no germaphobe but god forbid anything nasty gets in, I want to be able to blast everything and not worry about nooks and crannies.
EDIT - actually, personally, I don't like the thought of penning or chaining individual members of a herd species, agree that it can be necessary for bulls, but prefer to see nice bulls outside with a little gang of steers

Also consider boring things like water supply and troughs



Firstly I'll say again that this project may never happen, its a pipe dream, that may never come to pass.
Plan is to scrape out every day, total number of cattle will be low.
I love the idea of straw, but in my area all straw is brought/bought in so mats probably.
Cubicle = a stall that fits one animal but free to enter/leave.
and yes I agree about the water situation, nothing worse than frozen pipes in the winter.
Sounds like a good book Rob, but I can see big issues there with dirty water, I know what its like in the winter here and I would not like that problem.
Have you heard of the 'orkney sloping floor'? I think with some tweeking it could be made to work well.
Cheers

Post new topic   Reply to topic    Downsizer Forum Index -> Livestock and Pets All times are GMT
Page 1, 2, 3  Next
Page 1 of 3
View Latest Posts View Latest Posts

 

Archive
Powered by php-BB © 2001, 2005 php-BB Group
Style by marsjupiter.com, released under GNU (GNU/GPL) license.
Copyright 2004 marsjupiter.com