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Free Stall

Free stall is the recommended system of housing for successful dairy farming. Here cows are kept free except at the time of milking. Resting area is divided into stalls or cubicles. Cows are not restrained in the resting area (freestall / cubicle) and are free to enter, lie down, rise up, and leave the stall whenever they desire.

  • For free stall housing system area of shed is divided into two sides with a central space of 14-16 feet (depending upon the width of feeding trolley) as feeding driveway. On both sides of this central space 2 feet area is provided for feeding area/table.  

free stall housing system
             2F                                10-14 F                     2F


  • Behind the feeding table, 10-14 feet walking area is provided for cow to move freely which is 4-6 inches lower than the floor of feeding table. This area is separated from feeding table through a curb which is 1-1.5 feet high from the floor of walking area and 1 feet high from the floor of feeding driveway. A rod is also fixed above this curb at the height of 3 feet from floor. The walking area should be grooved and non slippery.



Dairy Lac TMR Feed Wanda Dairy

Chaptel Nutrition Dairy Feed Wanda

feeding area in free stall housing

  • Behind the free area free stalls are provided either in single row or double row or more depending upon the number of cows. Bed of stall should be 4-6 inches higher than the floor of walking area. Stalls should have following dimensions:

      • Length: 7-8 feet

      • Width: 3-4 feet

      • Height: 4 feet

free stall measurements

  • Layout of shed for single row of free stalls is as follows

  • If stalls are provided into two rows, then arrange either tail to tail or face to face. In such case additional 10-12 feet walking are area should be provided behind the stalls. Layout of shed with two rows (tail to tail) free stalls is as follows:

  • Layout of shed with two rows (face to face) free stalls is as follows:

  • In case of three rows, two rows can be arranged face to face and third one as single row.

  • As far as animal to stall ratio is concerned, there should be 10 more stalls than the number of animals. For example, for 100 animals we will provide 110 stalls.

  • Optional walking/exercising area with fencing may also be provided behind the last row of freestalls depending upon the availability of land.

  • At the both ends of the row of stalls, there should be crossover so that animal can move freely. The size of each crossover should be 8 feet. If stalls are higher in number, then additional crossover should be provided after every 15-20 stalls

  • For watering purpose, water trough should be provided within each cross over. In such case cross over should be 16 feet. Height of water trough should be 2-2.5 feet. Protect stalls adjacent to crossovers from splashing manure and water. This can be done with 4 feet high curb or solid partitions between the stalls and crossover. Water bowl with automatic supply of water can also be installed instead of water trough. When animal push inside the pot with its mouth, water comes out automatically. The distance between floor and water bowl should be about 18-20 inches.  

free stall housing crossovers  

  • For the ease of manure removal, it is better to elevate crossovers (3-6"). To promote drainage and self-cleaning, provide slope of 1/4" to 1/2" per foot of length toward each alley. The floor of crossover should be grooved.

  • For bedding of stall rubber mat, sand, limestone, straw, wood shavings, saw dust etc. can be used.

free stall bedding

  • Height of shed should be 18-20 feet in middle and 12-14 feet at corners with slopping roof.

  • For cooling of shed automatic sprinkling system and fans should be installed. Distance between fans should be 25 feet (variable depending upon the size of fan).

 Note: For construction of Free stall shed a list of constructors is available in directory of this website


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