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Article

Impacts of Compost Bedded Pack Barns on the Welfare and Comfort of Dairy Cows

Animal Nutrition and Welfare Service, Department of Animal and Food Science, Facultat de Veterinària, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra, 08193 Barcelona, Spain
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Animals 2020, 10(3), 431; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10030431
Received: 14 February 2020 / Revised: 27 February 2020 / Accepted: 28 February 2020 / Published: 4 March 2020
As few studies have examined the most common housing systems in terms of cow behavior and welfare, we designed this study to compare three loose housing systems for lactating cows: compost bedded pack, conventional bedded pack, and freestalls. Cows kept in bedded pack barns were dirtier yet had fewer hairless patches and lesions or swellings on the body and spent more time lying down in the resting area than cows housed in freestalls. All housing systems show benefits and inconveniences in terms of welfare and comfort at resting. Other factors, such as management practices and proper barn design, should be considered when comparing housing systems in terms of animal welfare.
Three loose housing systems for lactating cows (compost bedded pack, CBP; conventional bedded pack, BP; and freestalls, FS) were assessed on one farm in terms of cow behavior and welfare. An on-farm welfare assessment based on the Welfare Quality protocols was used four times every three months on 757 cows. Video recordings taken twice over four days were used to assess behavior patterns at resting areas. Cows in CBP and BP were dirtier than those in FS (p < 0.0001). Fewer integument alterations were recorded for CBP and BP than FS (p < 0.001). Cows in BP were quicker to lie down and stand up compared to those in CBP or FS (p < 0.001). Percentages of cows needing more attempts before rising were higher for FS (p < 0.01). However, a higher frequency of kneeling was observed in CBP (p = 0.033). A lower percentage of cows lying in the resting area was recorded for FS (56%) than CBP or BP (97 or 84%, respectively, p < 0.05). Overall, in this study, cows kept in bedded pack barns were dirtier but had fewer integument alterations and spent more time lying down in the resting area than cows housed in freestalls. View Full-Text
Keywords: compost bedded pack barn; lying behavior; integument alteration; cow dirtiness; cow comfort compost bedded pack barn; lying behavior; integument alteration; cow dirtiness; cow comfort
MDPI and ACS Style

Fernández, A.; Mainau, E.; Manteca, X.; Siurana, A.; Castillejos, L. Impacts of Compost Bedded Pack Barns on the Welfare and Comfort of Dairy Cows. Animals 2020, 10, 431. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10030431

AMA Style

Fernández A, Mainau E, Manteca X, Siurana A, Castillejos L. Impacts of Compost Bedded Pack Barns on the Welfare and Comfort of Dairy Cows. Animals. 2020; 10(3):431. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10030431

Chicago/Turabian Style

Fernández, Anna, Eva Mainau, Xavier Manteca, Adriana Siurana, and Lorena Castillejos. 2020. "Impacts of Compost Bedded Pack Barns on the Welfare and Comfort of Dairy Cows" Animals 10, no. 3: 431. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10030431

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