Stall usage under relatively uncrowded conditions by 59 dry Holstein cows and 18 heifers in late pregnancy were evaluated during 24-h periods. Left laterality (lying down on the left side) was observed 74.7 plus or minus 1.1% of the time for cows and 61.8 plus or minus 2.7% of the time for heifers. Exercise had no significant effect on laterality. When a single stall was occupied either to right or left of a cow, a significant number lay with dorsal side (backbone) toward the occupied stall. A 2% slope across the stall width had a highly significant effect on laterality. Cows preferred to lie with their dorsal side uphill. Right laterality increased with age of cows but decreased with approaching calving. Averages and standard deviations for length of resting episodes (min), stalls used, and number of resting episodes in each 24-h period were 82.5 (62.9), 4.7 (2.0) and 6.5 (2.0), respectively. There was no significant single stall preference, but cows chose one side of the shed more than the other. In designing free-stall housing for dry cow comfort, a downhill slope to a cow's right when facing the stall, and access to a dry lot during warm weather would be ideal.
|Publication Title||Applied Animal Ethology|
|Author Address||Dep. Anim. Sci., State Univ., Logan, Utah 84321, USA.|
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