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crofter



Joined: 11 Feb 2007
Posts: 1957

PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 12 10:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Sloping floor

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0oH5PjL8s9c

Rob R



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 28996
Location: York
PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 12 10:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Roundhouses cost 25% more, but then again they require 35% of the labour, but yes, as long as you don't clad the sides top to bottom, you can have something nearly as good as a roundhouse (in terms of ventilation) for a fraction of the price.

Ty Gwyn



Joined: 22 Sep 2010
Posts: 2845
Location: Lampeter
PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 12 11:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

[quote="Rob R:1258757"]
dolmen wrote:

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.


It made me wonder who ever thought it was a good idea - fair enough if the cows are outside, feed them outside, but a shed just for the feed passage?


I d say that is a clamp ,possibly brewers grains/sugerbeet pulp,hence the roof,they look like dairy cattle.

Ty Gwyn



Joined: 22 Sep 2010
Posts: 2845
Location: Lampeter
PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 12 11:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

One point to remember is,most byres/cowsheds were up dated,when the MMB came to fruition,no low lofts ,walls had to be plastered 5ft upwards,and vents in walls,i have 3 here,one from the 1700s,used to be the stable cart house,converted to milking,still with loft,2 doors,one from the 1890s,loft removed,wall vents where loft rafters were,2 doors,and a concrete block one built in the 60/70s,light and airy,no problem with virus pneumonia,some calving pens ,i had to ventilate due to a virus problem,other sheds are open fronted.

Personally i like the old cowshed system,yes ,its labour intensive ,in that you have to clean out daily,and take feed into the feed passages,but cattle that are tied in a cowshed are a dodle to handle,even Lims.

Where are you Dolmen?

Rob R



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 28996
Location: York
PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 12 12:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

[quote="Ty Gwyn:1258771"]
Rob R wrote:
dolmen wrote:

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.


It made me wonder who ever thought it was a good idea - fair enough if the cows are outside, feed them outside, but a shed just for the feed passage?


I d say that is a clamp ,possibly brewers grains/sugerbeet pulp,hence the roof,they look like dairy cattle.


You could be right there - sadly it had no explanation in the book, which I thought was odd in itself.

dolmen



Joined: 07 Oct 2011
Posts: 108

PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 12 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I'd seen that video before Crofter, I felt the system needed a little tweeking to have it working better ... at the very least a yard to run the cattle into while room for a tractor along the back would have left it easy to scrape each day.

Ty Gwyn I agree about cows tied in the byre, but always feel I'm leaving myself open to attack by saying so ... the problem being that it is open to abuse, in that some folks might not let the animals have enough free time to move around and keep natural herd instincts intact, but from my research cows always seemed to be very healthy and content under those conditions. I'm in Northern Ireland.

dolmen



Joined: 07 Oct 2011
Posts: 108

PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 12 11:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

alison wrote:
We keep cows like Rob does. Dexters, out all year, rotated round. Totally grass fed. They come in for 5 days a year, for the TB test, and we keep them in for both tests, then send them out again for another year.



Sorry I missed commenting on your post, I've considered the Dexter, I don't know of any local to me or I'd go have a closer look. I was surprised at the short leg x short leg problems as previously I always thought all Dexters had short legs. I do like the red ones and may go in that direction as I do plan on grass fed beef and they tick many boxes. I think that in our heavy ground that even small animals would ruin any grazing if left out over the winter?

Rob R



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 28996
Location: York
PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 12 11:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

The trick is to move them often, preferably daily, to avoid poaching. We graze until the grass runs out, which was February this year (although some came in before Christmas as they were on 'conservation' grazing.

Rob R



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 28996
Location: York
PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 12 12:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

dolmen wrote:
Ty Gwyn I agree about cows tied in the byre, but always feel I'm leaving myself open to attack by saying so ... the problem being that it is open to abuse, in that some folks might not let the animals have enough free time to move around and keep natural herd instincts intact, but from my research cows always seemed to be very healthy and content under those conditions. I'm in Northern Ireland.


It tends to be a matter of personal attention - you can easily attend to all the needs of half a dozen cows, as three hours spent caring for them daily is 30 minutes per animal, the same for 80 is only 2.25 minutes per cow, so then you need the labour saving designs. They also need less cubic metres of air exchange. As soon as you start spending less time on them or the fresh air demand exceeds supply, the problems start to show up.

Building work is expensive though, so you need to consider future-proofing it. You may be happy with the workload but make considerations of what happns as you get older, have to spend a spell in hospital or just a period of illness. If you consider that from the start it may make the difference between having to sell & keep the herd at some point in the future.

crofter



Joined: 11 Feb 2007
Posts: 1957

PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 12 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

dolmen wrote:
I'd seen that video before Crofter, I felt the system needed a little tweeking to have it working better ... at the very least a yard to run the cattle into while room for a tractor along the back would have left it easy to scrape each day.

Ty Gwyn I agree about cows tied in the byre, but always feel I'm leaving myself open to attack by saying so ... the problem being that it is open to abuse, in that some folks might not let the animals have enough free time to move around and keep natural herd instincts intact, but from my research cows always seemed to be very healthy and content under those conditions. I'm in Northern Ireland.


If there was a barrier & drop at the bottom of the slope into a pit, it would be easy to scrape every day, even by hand. Might be draughty though? All my cows are tied in the winter, let out into yards through the day while I muck out and barrow in silage. Very labour intensive, but it is enjoyable work. If you are only planning on keeping a few cows, it would not take long.

dolmen



Joined: 07 Oct 2011
Posts: 108

PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 12 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I'd like to follow a system were they are on fresh grazing everday, but I've seen my ground so wet that it wouldn't hold me up, so would hate to tramp it as I want a low input system, which in turn means the outputs will also be lower.
If I'm reading this right, you have Dexters Rob? have you tried other breeds? or do you mind sharing your reasoning/ insights on the Dexter, same goes for other Dexter owners TIA.
If anyone has any other cattle, would you care to share your resaons for keeping them over another?
Knowing nothing really about cattle I did fancy a shorthorn cow with a Hereford daddy to my beef, anyone tried this or have an opinion.
Oh and another thing, are many folks making hay for their cattle, is it really a thing of the past in the UK. Silage is much easier weather wise, but I'd like to work with higher dry matter, perhaps haylage is the answer?
Cheers

Last edited by dolmen on Sun Jun 10, 12 10:06 pm; edited 1 time in total

dolmen



Joined: 07 Oct 2011
Posts: 108

PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 12 12:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Good points about future proofing the system. I don't have anyone following in my footsteps so it will be important to get it right, so that anyone (DW) can work the system without it killing them, or me in my old age.
So keep up putting ideas forward, this is our chance to build the perfect system on a budget and without grants.

Cheers

Rob R



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 28996
Location: York
PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 12 12:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

dolmen wrote:
If I'm reading this right, you have Dexters Rob? have you tried other breeds? or do you mind sharing your reasoning/ insights on the Dexter, same goes for other Dexter owners TIA.


Dexters are the main herd but we also have/have had Jerseys, Simmental x, Ayrshire, Kerry, Highland, Limousin x, Belted Galloway x, BB x, AA x, Hereford x.

I prefer the smaller breeds because they're easier to manage on a grass based system, more self-catering & easier to butcher & cook for small families/couples. Dexters & Jersey are consistently high in the taste tests too, so people like it. They (Dexters) do bully others breeds though, so not ideal in a mixed herd...

They're also alert & lively, which is good if you want them to take care of themselves, less good if you want to turn them out into a field & handle them occasionally.

Last edited by Rob R on Sun Jun 10, 12 12:44 pm; edited 1 time in total

NorthernMonkeyGirl



Joined: 10 Apr 2011
Posts: 3012
Location: Peeping over your shoulder
PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 12 12:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I have some experience with a herd of dexters used for conservation grazing (i.e. on nature reserves).

They are little monsters!
More intelligent than necessary
In small groups they are tame, friendly, obliging, and not intimidating physically.
They thrive on rough grazing.
In large groups they can go feral and we had nightmares.
They can jump happily over, under, and through fences and gates.
If left with horns, they look perfect for spearing you in the bum
We had them on wet to very wet sites and actually, as their legs only go so far down, then they "float" on their ample bellies...this actually did less damage to the ground than a longer legged animal would. Mind you, this is a matter of degrees - they churned up to 1 foot depth as opposed to 2 feet...This was of course not our intention, but a factor of an unpredictable site/drainage issues. It's also easier for the animal to wade with short legs - less suction.
The short legged type is a form of dwarfism. A Dexter without the allele is "non short-legged". A Dexter with one allele is short legged. A Dexter with two alleles is DEAD - look up "bulldog calves". I am not personally convinced of the benefits of keeping a potentially lethal gene in the population.

VSS



Joined: 14 Jan 2007
Posts: 2831
Location: Llyn Peninsula, North Wales
PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 12 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Ty Gwyn wrote:


Personally i like the old cowshed system,yes ,its labour intensive ,in that you have to clean out daily,and take feed into the feed passages,but cattle that are tied in a cowshed are a dodle to handle,even Lims.


Our adult cattle and replacement heifer are stalled in the old cowshed over the winter. The other big advantage, especially if you are looking a milking for the house is the animals stay very clean

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