What is it about?

Cows have a motivation to access pasture for lying down, but it is unclear whether this is because of the space or location it offers them for lying down. This study tested cow motivation for lying down on a large indoor mattress compared to indoor cubicles of the same surface, removing the influence of location and surface. This was repeated for an indoor straw yard and compared to mattress cubicles to investigate an effect of surface type.

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Why is it important?

This study adds to our understanding of what cows like when they are housed, and this can be used to design housing which better fulfils the needs of cows when they are housed. This has the potiential to improve the welfare of cows in future commercial housing systems.


I hope this research can contribute to making a real change in how we house cows and help improve their welfare. I would like those in industry to be inspired by this research, along with other supporting papers, leading to new innovations in the realm of dairy cow housing.

Dr Laura Shewbridge Carter
Scotland's Rural College

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Dairy cows value an open area for lying down, PLoS ONE, May 2022, PLOS,
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0268238.
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