||Gau Bhoomi Sparsh|| Addresses the most important Question;
which type of flooring is favourable for:
Cow comfort, Healthy & Accident Free
Easy daily maintenance
Cost effective & long lasting
FLOORING is ONE OF THE MOST CRITICAL YET HIGHLY NEGLECTED AREA WHEN CONSIDERING COW HOUSE CONSTRUCTION.
The kind & type of flooring decides the comfort, Health, Productivity, Cost efficient management which all together influences successful dairy farming.
Wrong flooring has been one of the major reason for the various current challenges faced at dairy; frequent fall-accidents/Injuries to cows due to slippery floors; Foot infections/Hooves damage; Udder infection- mastitis, lameness, standing for long duration due to flooring/bed area being uncomfortable is all due to wrong flooring. Because of the ill-effects of wrong flooring, unhealthy flooring area affects the overall health of the cows; disturbed animal behaviour, pain & stress, health problems leading to reduced lactation & overall lifespan of the cows.
THIS RESULTS IN HUGE ECONOMIC LOSS & FINANCIAL BURDEN AFFECTING PROFITABILITY.
IF YOUR COWS ARE LYING CALMLY ON THE FLOOR BED FOR ALMOST MORE THAN 60% OF THE TIME, THEN ONE CAN CONSIDER THE FLOORING IS COMFORTABLE.
But if you observe them to be standing more often than lying comfortably, then there is problem with flooring & cow house design.
The ROOT CAUSE IS WRONG DESIGN OF COW HOUSE & FLOORING.
VEDIC WISDOM addresses effectively the root cause & suggest simple practises for ensuring cow welfare. As per VEDIC WISDOM Gau Bhoomi Sparsh; Floor should be touched daily by SUN RAYS & enable controlled movement of WIND, proper Ventilation.
Floors should be Dry / Non-slippery, Clean, Healthy,free from infection, comforting so that the HUGE WEIGHING ANIMAL can lye comfortably.
suggests very simple, highly cost effective solutions for cow welfare.
COW HOUSE design
AXIS: COW HOUSE is better suited to be constructed in the NORTH TO SOUTH axis direction, with cows facing EAST direction & the cow’s posterior facing the west direction.
The posterior area of the cow which is usually always wet due to cow dung & urine should have the provision for exposure to sun rays, which naturally keeps the area clean & dry. The Cow Shed Ceiling should have ventilation for sun rays.
The very design of flooring is very critical, should have slight SLOPE with proper drain duct. Slope is one the of the important yet neglected area; Sloping should be very slight /minimum for cows to walk with confidence, stand & sit down comfortably. but sloping should support easy drainage of urine/cow dung into the drain duct.
BEDDING : CRITICAL FACTOR
Concrete Floors/Cemented Slippery floors/Bricks/ are challenging for the cows & the cow caretakers. They lead to accidents, infection etc. Though alternate practise like rubber mats are comfortable for cows, their regular maintenance is a challenge with urine & cow dung seeping beneath them, causing infection & hard task for maintenance for the labour. Also rubber mat is expensive, with regular wear & tear adds to HIGH maintenance cost.
Cow-friendly flooring is Sprinkled SAND BED of few inches 6-8 inches, on the firm natural earth. The earthen area should be firm without too much uneven surfaces. Scientific reason is SAND is INORGANIC by nature; it absorbs the urine & cow dung quickly keeps the floor clean. It provides natural cushion comfort to cow’s knees for cows to relax comfortably. As it is inorganic it does not allow microorganism to grow rapidly. Thereby infection is curtailed. The sand bed needs to be maintained by periodic cycling of sand bed up & down. Also exposing the sand in the open area under the sun periodically helps in recycling the sand into FRESH, HYGIENIC bed for re-use.
Disciplined daily routine practise is very important. Vedic wisdom suggests simple practises which supports cow natural behaviour & easy maintenance for cow caretakers addressing the floor problems.
Cows should be untied most of the times so that they can choose the comfortable flooring area in the cow house for sitting comfortably.
Good Dinacharya practise suggests FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT, keeping cows in open area under shade is the best. When cows sit on clean earthen area with grasses grown its very comfortable to them. Instead of always making them tied in the cow house with the wet cow dung/urine around which is very unhealthy & root-cause of all problems, allowing cows in open area is one of the best way. Washing of cows in the cow house is not a very wise practise.
CORRECTIVE ACTIONS FOR EXISTING COW HOUSE WITH WRONG FLOORINGS:
Allow cows in open as much as possible & Wash cows outside in wash-pool instead of inside the cow house. This shall reduce slippery instances
Evaluate creating cow friendly floor SLOPE/slight sloping to help in draining. Create drain duct.
Evaluate sand bed by sprinkling layers of sand on the existing floor to give the comfort bedding.