Space Requirements of Dairy Animals and Layouts of Dairy Farms

All animals require shelter for protection and comfort. They can perform better under favourable environmental conditions. Housing of animals need initial capital to the extent the dairy farmers can afford. The animals are to be protected from high and low temperature, strong sunlight, heavy rainfall, high humidity, frost, snowfall, strong winds, ecto-parasite and endo-parasites. The comfortable temperature range for dairy breeds of cattle, buffaloes and goats is 150C to 270C. Climatic stress occurs when the temperature goes 50C below or above this range.

High humidity combined with high temperature causes more stress to animals in tropics. Rainfall in cold climate also causes stress in temperate zone. Strong winds further aggravate the conditions both in tropics and temperate climate. Several techniques are available to provide relief from hot weather conditions for lactating dairy cows. In tropical and sub-tropical climates, well-ventilated shed is a necessity at points of high heat stress, such as feed barns, loafing areas, and in holding areas. It is important to provide a sufficient flow of air through the building in which the animals are kept to ensure optimum thermal conditions for dairy animals.

The space requirements of dairy animals as per Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) are given in table below.

Floor, feeding manger and watering space requirements of dairy animals
Sr. No Type of animal Floor space)  per animal (m2) Feeding (manger) space per animal (cm) Water trough space/ animal (cm) Mode of housing
Covered area Open Area
1 Young calves (< 8 weeks) 1.0 2.0 40- 50 10-15 Individual or in groups of below 5
2 Older calves (> 8 wks) 2.0 4.0 40-50 10-15 Groups of below 15
3 Heifers 2.0 4.0-5.0 45-60 30-45 Groups of below 25
4 Adult cows 3.5 7.0 60-75 45-60 Groups of below 25
5 Adult Buffaloes 4.0 8.0 60-75 60-75 Groups of below 25-30
6 Down calvers 12.0 20-25 60-75 60-75 Individual
7 Bulls 12.0 120.0 60-75 60-75 Individual
8 Bullocks 3.5 7.0 60-75 60-75 Pairs

*     Based on ISI Standards for housing in India.
**  The actual length and width of water through may be decided as per the strength of group and size of the paddock.