Design and Maintenance of Facilities

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Source: National Farm Animal Care Council

Code of Practice for the care and handling of farm animals – Dairy Cattle, Section 2.1

All housing should be designed and routinely maintained to promote cattle comfort and enable low-stress handling. Experienced handlers who understand how cattle react to noise, light contrast, and shadows will be able to move and restrain cattle more smoothly (8).

REQUIREMENTS

Housing systems, including flooring and other components of housing, must be maintained in good condition to minimize lameness and injury.

Electrified crowd gates must not be used.

RECOMMENDED PRACTICES

  1. consult an experienced agricultural engineer, technical advisors, and other farmers when building a new facility or renovating an existing one
  2. provide soft, high traction flooring in areas where cattle stand for long periods (9)
  3. observe animal walking patterns routinely to assess floors for traction and surface conditions (e.g., level, abrasiveness, obstructions)
  4. minimize the time cows spend on concrete alleyways (9)
  5. flush and/or scrape alleyways and holding areas 2–3 times per day
  6. if cattle balk when moving through facilities, address the reason for balking, which may include increasing the light intensity, ensuring consistent light intensity, or improving flooring
  7. ensure the entrance to a restraint device is well lit and avoid moving cattle from light to dark areas (8)
  8. ensure restraint devices do not exert uncomfortable pressure points on an animal’s body.