In a study of 40 spring-calving dairy cows housed in a deep straw yard or a cubicle house from November to April cows in straw yards spent longer lying down and feeding, except during oestrus when they increased their time spent standing proportionately more than cows in cubicles. In the straw yard cows spent longer in associative behaviour during oestrus and had fewer unsuccessful mounting attempts. There were no differences in milk production or composition but cows in the straw yard lost more weight after calving. Cows in the cubicles had a reduction in heel depth, which is a predisposing factor to lameness. It is concluded that a straw yard system for dairy cows allows greater opportunity to display normal behaviour, leads to better hoof health and provided acceptable levels of production.
|Publication Title||Animal Welfare|
|Author Address||School of Agricultural and Forest Sciences, University of Wales, Bangor, Gwynedd LL57 2UW, UK.|
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