This section is from the book "Modern Buildings, Their Planning, Construction And Equipment Vol6", by G. A. T. Middleton. Also available from Amazon: Modern Buildings.
The method of housing cattle differs in various parts of the country. Some farmers place the cows without any division between them; others give them each a stall; whilst others place them in pairs. The first plan has nothing to recommend it except cheapness, and even this is doubtful, as the benefit the cow would derive from extra comfort would probably amply repay all initial outlay. The second plan is that adopted in the homes of the Jersey cattle - famous both for their beauty as well as for their dairy value - as the breeders maintain that these cows need and merit a stall apart. The last plan may be said to be that most generally adopted, and has been found perfectly satisfactory, as one cow of the pair becomes the master of the other and peace reigns between the two. To form a partial division, a hay-rack (Fig. 64), V-shaped in plan, having 2 feet 6 inches projection, forms a most economical arrangement.
Cattle may roughly be divided into two classes - those kept essentially for dairy purposes, in which case the stalls are frequently cleaned; those which are being fattened for the butcher. These latter are fed on roots, patent cake food, etc., and are either placed in a stockyard or in stables; but in both cases the manure is allowed to accumulate for several weeks at a time, as it thus becomes of greater value for placing on the land.
With the majority of farmers a rough concrete floor is the favourite material, as being easily repaired. Some are of opinion that the part of the floor on which the cow stands, commonly called the "standing," for some 2 feet distance away from the front of manger, should be composed of well hammered clay, as being less injurious to a kneeling cow. Other farmers maintain that this sinks or wears more rapidly than the rest of the standing, and that the increased attention required does not compensate the little injury which may happen to the cow. Again, as a cow does not as a rule foul her bed, the whole of the standing may be of well rammed clay, having a curb of stone, wood, or brick.
The general arrangements of a cow-house fitting consist of the standing room, dunging passage, feeding passage, manger, and gutter. These may be disposed of in three different ways, apart from considering the plan of a single or double row, to both of which they may be applied in a general way; but for the present purpose a house for a double set of cattle may be considered, as it is the plan most generally used.
The first and simplest arrangement is where the cows are placed with their heads to the wall, and a dunging passage at their tails, between the two sets. This plan dispenses with a feeding passage, but the addition of this constitutes the second arrangement, and can be easily accomplished by keeping the head of the stall away from the wall at a sufficient distance to allow of the passage being introduced, which extra space would be essential in the case of long-horned cattle. In the third arrangement the position of the cows is reversed.
They face one another across the feeding passage which runs between them, whilst there are two dunging passages, one at the rear of each set of stalls. As the size of feeding passage is greater than that of dunging passage, this arrangement offers economy of space over the previous one. Where stables are used for show purposes a feeding passage is an absolute necessity. Again, the last arrangement is economical of labour, as dunging out only takes place once a day, whilst feeding occurs several times.
However this may be, the general dimensions may be applied as follows: Standing room (including manger) 7 feet or less, according to size of cattle. Feeding passage should be 6 feet, but is often less, though it could with advantage be increased to 8 feet. Dung channel 1 to 2 feet. Dunging passage 3 feet 6 inches to 4 feet, which is usual but rather cramped, and would be improved by making it 5 feet wide. It must be borne in mind that feeding and cleaning operations need a deal of elbow room and have often, if not always, to be performed when the cattle are indoors.
In the feeding passage are often placed a pair of tram lines, on which a truck is run for conveying the food to the various stalls; this arrangement is a valuable eoonomiser of time and labour in a large stable, more especially if the food store is at some considerable distance from the cow-house.
The dunging channel may be made circular in shape, which however is not to be recommended, as being of insufficient capacity and offering a slippery surface. The more common shape is square cornered, of from 1 to 2 feet in width, to allow of free use of shovel, and 3 to 5 inches in depth. Fig. 65 gives a shape of channel which affords greater facility of drainage for the manure liquid than does the perfectly square channel by giving a sectional slope of 1 to 2 inches.
The floor of stalls should be very slightly sloped, 1 inch being sufficient, and in some cases it is preferred to keep it level and to raise it some 4 to 5 inches above the dunging passage behind. The dunging channel or gutter is made open, and carries the fluid either to cesspit or direct to the liquid manure cistern.
As to the stalls themselves, for one cow a space of 4 feet to 4 feet 6 inches is required, and 6 feet 6 inches to 8 feet for a pair, the length of the division varying from 4 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 6 inches according to size of cow, room being left so that milking operations can be easily performed. It may here be noted that a cow, in repose, lies over on its side, and therefore requires more room than the mere width of its body.
As in the case of horse stables, wood has a great deal in its favour by reason of its economy and easy repair. Fig. 66 shows a division constructed of strong hard-wood posts, 6 by 4 inches, with ramp sloping 18 inches in its length. Between the head and intermediate post is placed the feeding manger, and the whole stall is rendered firm by a strengthening bar 3 by 4 inches fixed on the middle post, sufficiently high to allow of freedom to the cow when feeding, and at the same time preventing it from jumping over. The whole is lined on both sides with 1 1/2-inch sheeting.