Recommended zero grazing housing plan

Written by Maurice Rangoma.

Zero grazing housing

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The following is the recommended housing plan for a small scale zero grazing unit. The cubicle of a dairy cow shed has three distinct areas:

The resting and sleeping cubicle or compartment

Each animal has its own compartment or sleeping place. Separation between compartments is done by wooden rails or posts.

The floor of the house can be constructed from ordinary soil from the farm. Soil is much more cheaper and comfortable to the animal than concrete or stones. The soil can be replaced if  dirty or worn out. The floor of the sleeping place is raised 25cm above the level of walking and manuring passage.

The recommended standard width is 4ft or 120cm and standard length of 7ft or 210cm. The cubicle should not be too long or too wide or the floor will get dirty and consequently also the animals. The cubicle is of the right size if the droppings fall on the walking and manuring and not on the floor of the resting and sleeping compartment. For heifers the length and width of the cow cubicle should be reduced by moving the neck control posts towards the manuring and walking passage and by fitting another side wall into the cubicle.

Provide a roof over the resting and sleeping compartment in order to provide shade and to prevent the area from getting wet and dirty.

The cattle walking or manure places

This should be constructed solidly with concrete because the area is used heavily by animals. Mix cement, sand and ballast in the ration of 1:2:3. The floor should slope towards the end of the building where manure is stored in a pit about 3-5m away from the stable.

The feeding and watering place

Construct troughs for feeding and drinking water on the opposite side of the sleeping and resting compartment along the walking manuring passage. 2.5-3ft or 90cm long feed troughs per cow can be constructed using woods, stonesor concrete.

Construct a water trough between the cow and young stock section. Use concrete or water drum.

Material requirements and estimated building cost

Item description Units Unit cost (Kshs) Amount Total
Cedar posts 18 ft long No 250 24 6000
3" x 3" timber running rails metres 35 60 2100
3" x 2" timber running rails metres 30 55 1650
2" x 2" timber running rails metres 25 50 1250
6" x 2 ½" half board metres 100 50 5000
off cuts pieces 150 40 6000
corrugate iron sheets 28G, 3m long No 800 25 20000
Lorry load hard core 7 tons No 3000 1 3000
Lorry load ballast 7 tons No 3000 1 3000
Cement bags 850 20 17000
Total       65000



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