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Cow Shed Flooring

 
Joellen Anderson
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Hey all!

We run a small stray animal recovery center in India called Badmash Peepal where we take care of stray dogs, cows, horses, mules, etc. We have a cow shed here which can hold around 7 cows (and occasionally our resident mule) and a small area outside for them to stay in the daytime. Since they are here for a short time while they recover from injury or sickness we don't have to offer them so much grazing room or space to stretch their legs, which is good because we don't have a whole lot of space for them!

Unfortunately having several cows in close quarters means our floors inside and the area outside turn into muck very quickly! We went with compressed earth floors with some rice straw on top, but we still are having problems getting it dry and comfortable for the cows to sit down in. Does anyone have any suggestions for getting all the urine to run off or sink in quickly so the cows aren't standing in mud all the time? We don't want to concrete the whole thing if we can possibly avoid it!

Thanks!
 
R Scott
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deep bedding--something that absorbs liquid.

Drain slope so what makes it to the base layer runs out.

But cows pee. a LOT. Any answer will require some work.
 
Chadwick Holmes
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Location: Volant, PA
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The way I built my barn for my goats might help, but you may have to temporarily lift the shed.....not sure if the size is manageable.

Under the bottom plate build up a stone or even block foundation with the joints un mortared, and even run some perforated drain pipe if in a really wet area. This will need to be a total hieght addition of a foot or so.

Start with a base of 3-4 inch limestone riprap and tamp it in really well, then some landscape fabric on top, maybe two layers. Then fill the next layer with no2-B limestone and pack that down really well.

On top of this I did pea gravel, but the cows hooves are a lot tougher than goats, so you might do better with a layer of 1/8 to dust limestone that will pack down and create a floor that will take the weight.

Then I still bed them in with straw, the whole thing drains and the rainwater passes undernieth naturally without issue.

Like I said, might not work if you can't lift the structure, but if you can, or if you are building I highly recommend it.
 
Rebecca Norman
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Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
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What do your neighbours do? Indians know their cow sheds!

Here in Ladakh cow she have an earthen floor, and part of the daily maintenance is to shovel away fresh manure and throw down dry soil or sawdust. Once or twice a year we dig out the cow shed floor and use the manure as compost. Most other places I've been (moister than here) have a little channel to draw liquids down and away.
 
Joellen Anderson
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Well, we definitely can't lift the whole shed as it is a giant mud (adobe) building! But we can completely take out the flooring and start over.

So far what we tried was laying down a layer of rocks and then covering that with packed earth, but like I said we have a quagmire on our hands! I don't mind a little hard work with mucking, we have lots of hands to help, so deep bedding seems ideal. We use the manure compost for the farm too...so do you have any recommendations on what to use as bedding?

Maybe what we can do is rocks, then gravel, then earth, then cover the whole thing in straw? If we really tamp down the dirt before the cows get in at night it just might work.


They do pee A LOT! I had no idea before we had this many in a smaller area. Luckily three of them are almost healed so we won't have quite so many on our hands (until the next rescue call :S)

Thanks folks!

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Our mud cow shed
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The upstairs is for storing feed and firewood
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Some of the residents of the shed!
 
Joellen Anderson
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Rebecca Norman wrote:What do your neighbours do? Indians know their cow sheds!

Here in Ladakh cow she have an earthen floor, and part of the daily maintenance is to shovel away fresh manure and throw down dry soil or sawdust. Once or twice a year we dig out the cow shed floor and use the manure as compost. Most other places I've been (moister than here) have a little channel to draw liquids down and away.


Our neighbors do what we are doing now, but they usually have fewer cows! Also they don't seem to mind so much if the cows are standing in mud all the time. I have been doing pretty much exactly that (shoveling and throwing dry soil down with a small drain), but we still are having trouble. I think maybe we need to work on getting our slope right! Ladakh looks lovely We are in Himachal, which is REALLY wet, so I think that is why we are struggling so much!

Thanks
 
Joellen Anderson
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Thanks y'all! We redid the floor by just adjusting the slope (adding gravel below, packed mud on top), adding a drain in the back, and now we regularly put cut wheat straw and rice straw that the cows accidentally trample while eating to help absorb. It barely takes any because in this season they spend all day outside! We just muck it every day and it stays beautifully

Probably doesn't also hurt that we released the biggest bull a few days back...
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pretty floor!
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Happy cows :D
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...and so long big pee-er!
 
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