UBC Research Data

Replication Data for: The freestall reimagined: Effects on stall hygiene and space usage in dairy cattle Weary, Daniel; von Keyserlingk, Marina; Beaver, Annabelle; Strazhnik, Emma

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Lying stalls for dairy cattle are designed to maintain cow hygiene, reduce labor associated with bedding maintenance, and provide cows with a comfortable place to lie down. These considera-tions can conflict: stall features that, e.g., reduce manure contamination of bedding can make the stall less comfortable, explaining why cows prefer lying in more open spaces. We developed an “alternative” lying area in which traditional freestalls (i.e., in which cattle are not confined to stalls but can move “freely” about the pen) were modified to create larger areas, and flexible stall partitions were included to help maintain cleanliness. We assessed cattle lying behaviour, in-cluding lying postures, in this alternative pen compared to both traditional freestalls and an open pack. Not surprisingly, cleanliness was higher in freestalls, but the alternative pen offered sub-stantial improvement in cleanliness over the open pack. There was little difference in postures as-sociated with lying positions (such as lying with limbs outstretched) between the open pack and alternative pen, and both offered greater limb extension compared to freestalls. We conclude that this type of alternative pen can provide producers with the opportunity to improve comfort com-pared to freestall housing and improve cleanliness compared to housing in an open pack.

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