Know How / Housing and handling

Advice and information on livestock housing and shed design to ensure your animals’ welfare and productivity. Compare different types of housing and bedding and read case studies on other farmers. Get tips on stock handling equipment, including cattle crushes and races, dairy parlour design and robotic milking.

Case studies

See all


WIYLS: New beef build helps lift finisher growth to 2kg/day

A beef fattening building designed to aid natural ventilation is accelerating the finishing period at a Carmarthenshire livestock farm. Beef production at Rest Farm near Llanboidy is focused on maximising…


Dairy's chemical-free disinfectant delivers multiple benefits

A dairy farm in Norfolk has replaced chemical disinfectants with a system using only water and low-voltage electricity. This has helped reduce the farm’s carbon footprint, improved cow health, delivered…


Slatted sheep shed builds resilience into upland farm

Investing in a slatted sheep house has enabled a Scottish upland sheep and beef farm to see the full effect of a breed change, while controlling labour and input costs. …


How a new transition shed helped lift pregnancy rates to 35%

Pregnancy rates have climbed from 28% to 35% since the Cope family improved transition cow accommodation.  Before buying the neighbouring Adderley Lodge Farm in November 2019, transition space was a…


How a borehole is saving free-range egg producer £5,000/year

Installing a borehole to draw a private water supply is resulting in cost savings of about £5,000/year for a Pembrokeshire free-range egg business. Lyn and Carol Jenkins diversified from dairy…


Flooring improvements help dairy unit cut lameness by 10%

New housing for 400 cows and improvements to older buildings at Grant Hartman’s dairy farm have done much to improve cow comfort and lameness. Cubicles have deep sand beds, suitable…

Practical advice

See all


Advice on converting farm buildings for pig B&B

New-build sheds on greenfield sites have been a popular choice for farmers setting up a bed and breakfast pig enterprise, with short payback periods, new-build bonuses, and a good return…


3 beef systems and their earning potential compared

More farmers are considering beef production as the industry experiences a sustained period of buoyant returns. Buying in calves and selling them as stores is now the most common system…


How a dedicated isolation unit helped a calf-rearing business

Setting up a dedicated TB isolation unit and selling weaned calves has allowed Farmers Weekly Young Farmer of the Year Bertie Newman to increase output on his 607ha (1,499-acre) organic…


6 ways pig unit works with minimal zinc and antibiotics use

Ensuring good gut health in piglets pre- and post-weaning is the foundation for lifetime health and performance on Harper Adams University’s 230-sow farrow-to-finish unit. The unit, which operates as a…


The main elements of good grower and finisher pig housing

Housing is a key component for optimum grower and finisher pig performance. As well as meeting the basic requirements for space and wellbeing, good pig housing should provide adequate light…


4 pitfalls to avoid when upgrading poultry shed windows

Since 1 October 2020, all buildings that house poultry have had to fit windows to meet Red Tractor standards.  For many farmers, this means retrofitting units in order to comply.…


See all


A guide to improving poultry shed insulation

Good insulation will keep poultry housing at an even temperature throughout the seasons, reducing heating and ventilation costs. However, older types of insulation may be less efficient due to outdated…


Video: Inside a state-of-the-art transition cow shed

One USA dairy has converted a shed, originally built for calves, into a state-of-the-art facility for transition cows. The shed at George DeRuyter & Sons dairy in Sunnyside, Washington State,…


A poultrykeeper's guide to ground-source heat pumps

With farm carbon emissions under the spotlight and an increasing emphasis on sustainable agriculture, many producers are moving away from fossil fuels. Ground-source heat pumps offer a good solution for…


Better way of measuring reveals ideal dairy cow living space

A new on-farm measurement for dairy cow buildings, known as living space, has been developed to provide a better understanding of space allowances for adult dairy cows. Researchers believe living…


6 things I learned from visiting US 'mega-dairies'

Dairy farming in the US has become synonymous with the words “mega-dairy”. While the scale of US dairy farms bears little resemblance to UK operations, there are some striking similarities…