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Effects of surface type in an uncovered stand-off pad system on comfort and welfare of non-lactating dairy cows during winter

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-03, 17:53 authored by Omar Al-Marashdeh, Keith Cameron, Racheal Bryant, Ao Chen, Briar McGowan, Correntine Gillé-Perrier, Peter Carey, Jane Chrystal, Simon Hodge, Grant Edwards
The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of stand-off surface type on cow lying behaviour, cleanliness and lameness. One hundred and sixty Friesian × Jersey crossbreed, pregnant non-lactating dairy cows were blocked into five groups of 32 cows and randomly assigned to one of five treatments. Treatments consisted of cows grazing fodder beet in situ and remaining in the paddock with no stand-off (control), or grazing fodder beet in situ and spending 16 h on a stand-off pad with either a woodchip, round-stones (40–60 mm), sand, or geotextile ‘carpet’ surface. Lying duration, monitored by AfiAct electronic pedometers (Afimilk, Kibbutz Afikim, Israel), showed cows on stone spent significantly more (P < 0.001) time lying (9.5 h) than cows on woodchip (8.4 h), control (8.1 h), and sand (7.6 h), but similar to those on carpet (8.8 h). However, there were fewer (P < 0.001) lying bouts (4.6 bouts/d) and longer (P < 0.001) bout duration (137 min/bout) for cows on stone than other treatments (average 7 bouts/day and 85 min/bout), which may suggest that cows found standing and sitting on the stone surface uncomfortable. As measured by a cleanliness score, cows on the sand surface were less (P < 0.001) clean than cows on other surfaces. Lameness, which was determined by visual scoring, revealed only moderate cases of lameness which tended (P = 0.059) to be more prevalent for cows on stone (11.3%) or sand (12.5%), compared with lowest in woodchip (4.0%) or carpet (4.7%), and intermediate in the control treatment (8.8%). The data indicate that sand and the size of stone used are less suitable surfaces than woodchip or carpet for an uncovered winter stand-off pad to meet minimum requirements of animal comfort and welfare. While both the woodchip and carpet surfaces equally met animal welfare standards, the woodchip required less maintenance.


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© 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


  • English

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  • No



Journal title

Applied Animal Behaviour Science




Al-Marashdeh, O., Cameron, K. C., Bryant, R. H., Chen, A., McGowan, B., Gillé-Perrier, C., Carey, P., Chrystal, J., Hodge, S., & Edwards, G. R. (2019). Effects of surface type in an uncovered stand-off pad system on comfort and welfare of non-lactating dairy cows during winter. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 211, 17-24. doi:10.1016/j.applanim.2018.11.001

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