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Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Pp. 026-035 in Fifth International Dairy Housing Proceedings of the 29-31 January 2003 Conference (Fort Worth, Texas USA)  701P0203.(doi:10.13031/2013.11598)
Authors:   N. G. Anderson
Keywords:   Behavior, cow comfort, housing, lying, standing, lunging, perching, diagonal

The loss of valuable dairy cows because of diseases related to the husbandry system is frustrating and costly. Two case farms provided data to study issues of interest to dairymen - diagonal lunging, stall use, and resting, standing and perching in the stalls. At Study Farm 1, 14% of cows had bruising over the last rib because of lying against an extended loop. The proportion of diagonal lunging was 0.34 when the facing stall was empty whereas it was 0.81 when the facing stall was occupied (OR=0.12, 95% CI 0.05 - 0.29, P<0.000). The proportion of diagonal lunging was 0.61 with the neck rail located 163 cm (64 inches) from the curb whereas the proportion was 0.82 when it was located at 173 cm (68 inches) (OR=0.32, 95% CI 0.14 - 0.74, P=0.008). The bruising disappeared after changing the loops and no new cases have appeared. At Study Farm 2, the proportion of diagonal lunging was 0.68 in the original stalls with obstructions at the front and 0.44 in the modified stalls with obstructions removed (.2 (1,N=240) = 14.3, P<0.000, OR=2.7, 95% CI 1.6-4.6). Stall dimensions that encourage standing and lying straight in the stall should be of benefit for stall cleanliness. At Study Farm 2, resting time increased from a median of 36 minutes in the original stall to 59.5 minutes in the new larger stall (P=0.008). Standing time decreased from a median of 5.5 minutes to 3 minutes (P=0.004). Perching time decreased from a median of 8 minutes to 4 minutes (P=0.002). Because resting, standing, and perching are important behaviors for foot health, matching cow dimensions and stall dimensions to alter these behaviors should benefit everyone's cows.

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