Optimizing Resting Behavior
A cow's milk production depends on several factors, including food, water, and breeding. But have you considered the importance of rest? Even as humans, getting the perfect amount of quality sleep can affect our energy, productivity levels, mood, and focus. Cows are no different—for a cow to be a top milk producer, they must get optimal daily rest.
Ensuring that your cow gets enough cow comfort relies on a few different things. Here are some things that you should consider to help you optimize your cow's resting behavior:
· Pen Time. The amount of time a cow spends in other parts of the farm can affect their quality of rest. Generally, most cows should spend at most three hours outside of their pen. Take a measure of how much time your cows spend on other parts of the farm and in a holding pen as they're waiting to be milked—it may be longer than you think!
· Stocking Density. The less space a cow has to lay down, the less it can rest. As your herd grows, each cow will have less room to lie down, decreasing the time they have to rest. For example, if your stocking density increases from 1 cow per stall to 1.5 cows per stall, each cow will lose about 15% of their resting time, reducing milk production from 8 pounds to 5 pounds per day. That's a lot of lost dairy! Know your capacity limits so you don't accidentally limit resting time.
· Temperature. Cows need to be kept cool as they sleep and rest. Heat accumulates as they sleep, and the cow must stand up to cool down if they reach a specific temperature. Install sprinklers to help minimize heat stress, and most importantly, have fans 24 feet apart and angled correctly to keep the cows cool. The airspeed should be approximately 200 feet per minute.
· Rumination Time. Measure the rumination time each cow is getting. Cows should ruminate for roughly 8 hours daily when lying down, being milked, or waiting to be milked. Ensure that 50-60% of rumination time is spent lying down in the stall.
· Stall Design. Stall design plays a significant part in a cow's quality of rest, so make sure that your stalls are built adequately enough to accommodate their needs. Stall size is one of the most important things: if you can only have smaller stalls, then breed smaller cows. You'll also want to supply comfortable bedding with enough traction so the cows can comfortably and safely get up and down without hurting their hooves.
PBI Parlor Systems is a leading manufacturer of milking stalls and equipment for dairies worldwide. Our stalls are engineered to be the best solution for maintaining cow safety and dairy efficiency, as they are all custom-built and designed to meet your dairy farm's unique requirements. We also pride ourselves on our excellent customer service, from the free quote we give you through the completed installation and even after a sale to ensure our equipment meets your needs as you use it. Visit our website to get started today!