Glossary:Cattle housing

For bovines, it is important to distinguish how much manure is deposited in the house and how much is deposited while grazing both for ammonia and for greenhouse gas emissions. Manure management is a continuum, so there is a need to take into account also different emissions during storage and spreading of solid and slurry management for the referred housing types.

The main types of cattle housing are:

  • Tied stalls
  • Loose and cubicle housing

Tied stalls, also known as stanchion-tied stables, are animal houses where the animals are tied to their places and are not allowed to move freely. This has an impact on the ammonia emissions, as less area of the stable is soiled.

These types of housing can contain manure separated in the form of solid dung and liquid manure when the floors of the stalls are on sloping concrete with bedding (e.g. straw, chopped straw, sawdust) and a shallow gutter at the rear of the animals to collect part of the faeces and the urine, whilst part is regularly removed as solid manure. In some cases the gutter is equipped with a drainage pipe to collect seepage or there can be a deeper channel instead of a gutter to collect and store the liquid fraction. The manure is normally removed mechanically outside the building as solid dung/farmyard manure.

They can also contain manure in the form of slurry when the floors of the stalls are level concrete with a channel covered by a grid at the rear of the animals or fully slatted floor to collect faeces and urine as slurry. In this case, the manure and urine drop down below the floor into a pit, where they form slurry.

Loose housing refers to animal houses where the animals are allowed to move freely and have free access over the whole area of the building or pen (a small enclosure for livestock). Cubicle housing is also included here. Cubicle houses are buildings divided into rows of individual stalls or cubicles in which animals lay when at rest but are not restrained.

Loose housing may contain manure in the form of solid dung and liquid manure when there is a concrete floor which is cleaned more frequently by scraping in the area where the animals stand to feed and/or drink. It is common for a deep layer of bedding (usually straw) to be spread over the floor. This bedding is removed from the building, typically once or twice per winter, as farmyard manure.

Loose housing may also contain manure in the form of slurry when the manure and urine drop down below the floor into a pit, where they form slurry or when it is scraped from concrete passageways and collected in storage tanks or lagoons.

Other types of housing are types of housing different from the ones mentioned above. These include igloos and calf huts.

Outdoor includes pasture, free range and paddock.

Exercise yards are outdoor areas, normally with impermeable floor, where animals can exercise for part of the day. If an exercise yard exists on the holding, but the animals are not using it, then do not consider it.

Related concepts

Statistical data