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Improving cow comfort - What are the benefits?

Improving Cow Comfort - What are the benefits?

Wynnstay’s dedicated Hardware Team specialise in providing advice and solutions on new and existing dairy setups as well as having experience in beef, sheep, and arable projects.

The importance of correct dairy housing

It is important to provide the correct cow environment for the health and the progression of a herd. Suitable dairy housing is known to improve milk production and quality, reproductive efficiency as well as the overall health and longevity of the herd, which results in the economic return to the dairy. Cows that are comfortable have less stress, eat more and lie for longer, and in turn produce more milk and suffer less from lameness and other associated problems. It has been proven that there is a strong correlation between standing times of cattle and the incidence of lameness.

Looking ahead to housing, Wynnstay can offer advice to maximise cow comfort. Sourcing a wide range of solutions from mats, mattresses, and cubicles. To ventilation fans for cubicle housing, loose housing, calf and youngstock sheds, milking parlours and collecting yards. We also have curtains and gale breaker to aid natural ventilation in our range. We have numerous solutions for slurry management to improve the environment for the animals, which in turn will improve cow comfort and returns to your business. As a team, we pride ourselves on offering advice tailored to your individual needs and based on access to products and solutions from a wide range of suppliers.


Read more: Investment in Housing Pays by Protecting the Future of the Herd

Read more: Lameness in Dairy Herds

Top Tips on Cubicle Comfort

  • Don’t fall into the trap of only thinking about mats or mattresses when thinking about cow comfort. Cow comfort is much bigger than that. Cubicle bed dimensions play a crucial role in comfort, from the correct width and length of the bed to the position of the neck rail and brisket locator.
  • If you have a mixed breed herd and are housed together, the cubicles need to suit the larger type of cow, not the smallest.
  • Take a measuring tape and measure a few cubicles on your farm and compare to the below chart. It will only take a couple of minutes.
  • Keep an eye on a few cows as they enter a cubicle space. They should lie down within the first 30 seconds. If not, cubicle dimensions and comfort are the most likely reason for this.
  • Do the cows have enough lunge space and get up from the beds struggle free? If not, can you improve the lunge space by removing the obstacle?
  • Doing a drop knee test. Drop a knee from a standing position onto the bed, if you can do this without hurting yourself, the comfort is fine, if you hurt yourself, the comfort needs to improve.
  • If you’re building a new shed for cubicles, design the shed around the cubicles instead of trying to fit the cubicles inside the shed.
 Age in months Single row beds Head to head beds Height of neck rails Width of cubicles
>22 months

2750 (9ft)

4880 (16ft) 1270 (50 inch) 1150 – 1270 (45 – 50 inch)
16 - 22 months 2400 (8ft) 4570 (15ft) 1140* (45 inch) 1000 – 1100* (39 – 43 inch)
10 - 16 months 2100 (7ft) 4270 (14ft) 1000* (40 inch) 900 – 1000* (35 – 39 inch)
5 - 12 months 1900 (6ft3) 3650 (12ft) 900* (35 inch) 800 – 900* (31-35 inch)
0.5 - 5 months 1600 (5ft3) 3000 (10ft) 750* (29 inch) 650 – 800* (25 – 31 inch)

For further advice on the range of hardware solutions we can offer please contact a member of the Hardware Team

Dairy Newsletter

The Wynnstay Dairy Newsletter offers dairy farmers seasonal advice to drive their herds performance. Available in digital and paper formats. 


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