Cow comfort in the feeding area
Free space and free access to feed are key
A basic requirement is to have enough space per cow at the feed table. If you make compromises here you will face over crowding, bullying and slug feeding – with your cows eating fewer and larger meals all at once. This will reduce your cows’ total feed intake and influence the productivity of your herd.
The correct distance between the cow and her feed together with an angled feed table wall can give greater comfort. It is also important to have the correct dimensions for the feed table wall, height of the neck rail and offset of the neck rail to reduce pressure on the cows’ neck.
It is important to keep the feed table clean and hygienic; a smooth feeding surface will also make cleaning, and thus feed hygiene, much easier to manage.
The feed should be available whenever the cows’ want to eat. By giving your cows a comfortable eating or drinking position at the feed table or water trough feed and water intake should increase which should have a direct impact on milk production.