The family herd concept

In the current dairy farm system, many health and welfare problems are encountered. Initiatives have been taken for improvements and to introduce new types of management concerning animal welfare, especially within organic farming.

Project aims

Developing a design for a new farming system for dairy cattle based on the needs of the animal by using a methodical designing process (2007-2008).

Realising test locations (2009-2010).

Monitoring Herd health and welfare in the on-farm situation compared to the current housing systems as well as economic aspects, management and production (2009-2012).

Approach and timeline

Some farmers experiment with keeping dry cows together with the lactating cows (no group changing), some keep the calf and mother together for some months so suckling the mother is facilitated and others keep horned animals. Within the loose housing system it is still difficult to adjust the management to minimize problems. There is a growing need for further development of farming system in which attention is paid to the needs of the cow and calf. To support such a development research is carried out with respect to the critical system elements. Suggestion for improvements are tested and evaluated in practice and discussed in a farmer ‘s network.



Preliminary design of new farming system for dairy farming in which all groups are kept together, the calves suckle their mothers at least the first three months and all animals keep their horns.


Final design, building plan


Realisation of Familiekudde Farming Systems


Reports, scientific papers, of results of the new developed on farm situation