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Cubicles are frequently insufficiently maintained on farms. The question is whether this causes shorter lying times and affects well-being. Dairy cows are supposed to lie 12 to 14 hours per day in their cubicles.
A study of the Bavarian Research Centre for Agriculture shows the effects of bedding maintenance on the lying times of the cows.
This study aimed to comparing different levels of straw bedding (good: straw bedding 20 cm; bad: bedding 5 cm, around 3600 cm² without bedding) to soft lying mats (KRAIBURG KEW Plus) regarding lying behaviour and preferences. Data were collected in a dairy house with 60 cows (Bavarian Fleckvieh) and a robotic milking system.
good straw bedding maintenance
bad straw bedding maintenance
In conclusion reduced bedding levels affects the cows lying behaviour and lying position. High straw bedding quality is important for a good welfare in dairy cattle. If farmers have not enough time for cleaning and littering the straw beddings they should use soft rubber mats.
source: Reiter, K., Freiberger, F., Abriel, M., “Straw bedding maintenance: Effects on lying behaviour and preferences of dairy cattle”, LfL Grub, 2006
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