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State of the Art Free Stall Designs: Do They Allow Lame Cows to Maintain Normal Patterns of Stall Use?

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

Citation:  Sixth International Dairy Housing Conference Proceeding, 16-18 June 2007, (Minneapolis, Minnesota) (Electronic Only)  701P0507e.(doi:10.13031/2013.22823)
Authors:   Maria J Marin S., Matthew J Schaefer, Rebecca L Mentink, Rebecca J Banks, Diego F Calderon B., Nigel B Cook
Keywords:   Cow comfort, lameness, mattress, sand

Time budgets for 59 mature Holstein cows were obtained using video analysis over a single 48 h period in 4 two-row free stall housed dairy herds, milked twice a day. Stall design differed only in stall base type with 2 herds with Pasture Mat rubber crumb filled mattress stalls and 2 herds with Pack Mat stalls consisting of 2 inches of sand over a mattress. Both stall base and locomotion score significantly influenced stall standing behavior. Lame cows on Pasture Mats lay for less than 12 h/d and stood in the stall in excess of 4 h/d. In contrast, while lame cows on Pack Mats maintained lying times at 13.1 h/d and stood in the stall for less than 2 h/d. The Pack Mat design appears to be very beneficial for lame cows, while Pasture Mat failed to allow lame cows to maintain normal patterns of stall usage. However, the addition of foam to improve surface cushion of the Pasture Mat appeared to improve stall use by both lame and non-lame cows in one herd.

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