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close this bookBetter Farming Series 11- Cattle Breeding (FAO - INADES, 1977, 63 p.)
close this folderLooking after cattle
View the documentAnimals must be watched
View the documentHow to watch over animals
View the documentHousing animals
Open this folder and view contentsThe health of the herd

Housing animals

Why shelter is needed

To protect the animals from wild beasts, from wind, sun and rain, and from diseases.

· In a traditional enclosure there are often too many animals.

The cattle stand on a mixture of earth, excrement, urine and water. They can't lie down. They can't ruminate well, and do not make good use of their food.

They are very dirty. When animals are dirty they get more diseases, their wounds do not heal well, especially those of the feet.

The calves are in danger.
Parasites and diseases attack them more easily.
Many calves die.
Each time a calf dies you lose a lot of money.

Good manure cannot be made.

Instead you have only a mixture of earth and excrement. This mixture is not as good for the fields as real manure.

The traditional enclosure must be improved by making a shed and a manure heap.

How to make a cow shed and manure heap

Animals must not be left to stand on a mixture of earth, excrement and water.
Choose a dry place.
If you put up the shed in a hollow, the rainwater will collect there and will not run off.

You can greatly improve the animals' housing without spending too much money, by using wood, earth and straw which you can find on the spot.

Animals must be protected from wind.
Build a wall on the side from which the wind usually blows.

Animals must be protected from sun and rain. Put up a straw roof.

When the shed is built, spread straw on the ground. This straw, mixed with excrement and urine, rots and makes manure. When the straw is rotted, put clean, dry straw on top of it, so that the animals are always on clean straw.

When there is a lot of manure, take it away. You can either take it straight to the field and mix it at once with the soil by ploughing it in, or else you can make a manure heap near the shed. Then you can take the manure to the fields when you are ready to plough.

· The animals must not be too crowded in the shed.

If they are too crowded, they have no room to lie down, and may hurt themselves.
A cow needs 5 to 6 square metres space (3 metres by 2).
For example:

there is room for 6 cows
in a cow shed 5 metres wide and 7 metres long.

· The shed should be disinfected. once a month to kill disease germs.

Put the shed so that the wind will carry the smell away from the house.

Side view of cow shed

· Next to the shed, make a paddock where the animals can walk about.

Surround it with a strong fence made out of posts, branches or thorns. Leave a few trees to give shade.

Inside the paddock, put feed troughs where you can give the animals their feed supplement, and watering troughs where the animals can drink. The feed troughs and the watering troughs can be made with hollowed tree trunks or barrels cut in half.

The gates of the shed and paddock must be big enough for a cart to enter.

The paddock