The waiting room should be a prior adaptation of the cows to milking. In this sense we must pay attention to the following aspects to improve the welfare of cows, and therefore their performance in the waiting room:
- Width of the entrance door: We must adapt the number of cows to avoid stress in case of grouping of the animals. The recommended measures are: if we have less than 100 cows in milking the width of the entrance door in the waiting room should not be less than 3 meters. If we have more than 100 cows the width of the door should not fall below 5 meters.
- The available space must be a minimum of 1.5 square meters per animal.
- Floor: the floor in the waiting room must be striped with horizontal lines to the slope, to prevent slipping.
- Slope of the waiting room: only the one necessary to favor the drainage and cleaning. An upward slope to the milking parlor of between 2 and 4% is recommended. Greater than 6% you lose comfort.
- Standby time: should not exceed 45 minutes per batch. Very long waiting times cause oxytocin to be released prematurely and anticipated milk drops appear. They can also cause foot problems and stress.
- Exit corridor widths: Avoid the advancement of two cows at the same time but with enough width to facilitate a quick exit after milking. The recommended width is 80 to 90 centimeters if it is straight and 130 to 160 centimeters if you require turns. Cows tend to be frightened by not knowing what awaits them at the end of the route so that if there are turns, a greater breadth of passage should reduce stress and allow a more fluid circulation.
- Sudden turns: avoid turns equal or greater than 90 degrees in the entry and exit corridors for linear circulation.