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

Citation:  Pp. 155-164 in Fifth International Dairy Housing Proceedings of the 29-31 January 2003 Conference (Fort Worth, Texas USA)  701P0203.(doi:10.13031/2013.11616)
Authors:   R. W. Palmer and A. M. Wagner-Storch
Keywords:   Bedding types, Cow comfort, Cow preference, Freestall base, Stocking density

The objective of this study was to compare stall status and cow preference (lying in or occupying stall) by barn side for factors affecting stall use. A closed circuit television system monitored and recorded stall use in a 4-row, 104-stall freestall barn at, 2 p.m., 8 p.m., 4 a.m., and 9 a.m., each day, from 5/9/01 to 2/9/02. Eight factors were analyzed: stall base (BASE), time of day (TIME), stocking density (SRATE), distance to water (WDIST), stall location within stall base section (SLOC: END vs. NOTEND), stall location within barn (RLOC: INTR (not wall side) vs. EXTR (wall side)), inside barn temperature (TEMP), and length of time cows exposed to stall bases (XPOSR). Two barn sides were analyzed: low stocking density (LowSD, 66%), with cows milked by robotic milker, and high stocking density (100%SD), with cows milked 2X in parlor. Six BASEs were tested: mattresses (MATR1, MATR2), waterbed (WATR), soft rubber mat (SRMAT), concrete (CONC), and sand (SAND). The SAND based stalls were not tested on LowSD. The BASEs were grouped 3 to 7 stalls/section and randomly placed in each row.

On 100%SD side, percent of stalls with lying status was SAND (69%) > MATR1 (65%) > MATR2 (57%) > WATR (45%) > SRMAT (33%) > CONC (23%), whereas, percentage occupied was MATR1 (88%) > MATR2 (84%) > SAND (79%) > SRMAT (65%) > WATR (62%) > CONC (39%). On LowSD side, percentage lying was MATR1 (45%) > MATR2 (39%) > WATR (26%) > SRMAT (12%) > CONC (10%), whereas, percentage occupied was MATR1 (60%) > MATR2 (55%) > WATR (34%) > SRMAT (19%) > CONC (16%). Lying and occupied percentages were highest for stalls 1) in the early morning (TIME), 2) farthest WDIST, 3) NOTEND, and 4) EXTR, and varied by BASE for XPOSR and TEMP. Cows spent more time in mattress based stalls, but the highest percentage lying was in SAND based stalls. Lying and occupancy percentages were different for different mattress types, therefore the cow comfort of different mattress types should not be considered the same. The percentage of stalls with cows standing was higher for mat and mattress based stalls. The MATR1 type mattress base indicated additional time standing does not need to be at the expense of time lying.

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