High-yield cows are supposed to rest for at least 12 hours a day. Only sufficient rest will stimulate the animals' metabolism enough to produce 30 l of milk a day. The following requirements should be met:
The resting area must be soft, warm and dry.
- The cubicle is supposed to guide and restrict the cow in its resting position while giving the cow just enough room so that it will gladly step into the cubicle.
- The cow must not be hindered by any pipes from lying down and getting back up.
- Pressure points are a clear indication of pain and stress and must be avoided by choosing the right size, shape and construction of the cubicle.
The right frame shape for the box
The function of the cubicle frame is to guide the cow into its resting position while ensuring that the cow soils its bed to the lowest possible degree. The frame must also not hinder the animal from lying down and getting up. While lying down, the cow should be protected from rubbing or bumping its protruding bones against any part of the piping. While every manufacturer swears by their own
frame shape, it is much more important to pick the frame that is right for a specific box. If, for example, the bottom bends of the frame are adjusted to exactly fit the animal's belly, this would not make much sense in a low box. This is because the cow will lie higher or lower
depending on the condition of the bedding. The neck rail is used for limiting the cows frontal movements when entering and exiting the cubicle. However, in almost all box systems it also stabilizes the frame to withstand lateral pressure. The higher the position of the neck rail is set the less stress the cow will endure when standing up. While moving the neck rail further to the front will reduce stress, it will also contribute to the contamination of the box. This is why, today, a strut is used to provide an additional barrier at the front. It should always protrude 15-20 cm from the bedding. The size of the resting area depends, of course, on the size of the cows. A length of 1.75 m
to 1.80 m measured up to the strut has proven to be ideal. The recommended width of the box ranges from 1.15 m to 1.20 m (center-to-center dimension of the frame). The overall depth of a box must not be lower than 2.60 m and at least 2 x 2.30 m in front of the wall and in the double row, respectively.
The fastening systems
There are some frame systems which already come with an integrated base that can be pegged on while others need to be screwed to a mounting system.