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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Effects of Stall Surface on Occupacy and Postural Changes in Dairy Cows

Authors
item Lay, Jr, Donald
item Timms, L - IOWA STATE UNIV
item Thoreson, D - IOWA STATE UNIV

Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: July 22, 2002
Publication Date: July 22, 2002
Citation: LAY JR, D.C., TIMMS, L.L., THORESON, D.R. EFFECTS OF STALL SURFACE ON OCCUPACY AND POSTURAL CHANGES IN DAIRY COWS. JOURNAL OF ANIMAL SCIENCE. 2002. V. 85(SUPPL.1): ABSTRACT P. 28.

Technical Abstract: A great deal of concern is allotted toward dairy cow comfort in order to optimize both cow welfare and milk production. Toward this end, producers are utilizing various stall surfaces in order to optimize cow comfort, while at the same time decreasing health concerns. Experiment 1 was designed to determine which surface the cow preferred. We compared 6 different free-stall surfaces: A. 2" rubber mat-Dynamatrix®; B. Sand; C. Mattress - AgroMatic; D. Mattress - Pasture Mat #1; E. Sand with Sand Saver; F. Mattress - Pasture Mat #2. Our goal was to allow the cows to choose the surface on which they preferred to lie. Therefore, a free stall barn was built to include 60 free-stalls that were randomly assigned to receive one of the six stall surface types. The barn was stocked at 95% capacity. The study was conducted between July and December, during which 7 d of observations were collected during each of three separate study periods. Data collected included whether the stall was occupied and the cows body position in the stall. Experiment 2 was conducted using tie stalls which were either bedded with sand or used a mattress (Pasture mat) for flooring (n = 8/trt). Data were collected for 17 d (Rep 1), when the flooring was new, and then again, two years later, for a 22 d period (Rep 2) to record cow position. During Rep 2, data were collected for 8 days, cows were moved to the alternate flooring, and data were again collected 6 d later for an 8 d duration. Data for Exp. 1 shows a distinct seasonal affect, with cows occupying stalls in treatment B>E>C,D>F>A (P < .0001) during July, but this pattern changed to D,E,F>A,B,C (P < .0001) by late September. A very similar pattern of usage was seen for late November. Data from Experiment 2, Rep 1, found that cows on mats were more likely to be found lying (P < .001), compared to cows on sand. However, by Rep 2, we found no differences in resting behavior between treatments (P > .10). Collectively, these data indicate that cows do have a preference for the type of surface on which they lie, and that these preferences can change during the season. However, behavior of cows in tie stalls may not be fully indicative of these preferences.

Last Modified: 10/22/2014
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