Preference test for free stall surface material for dairy cows

By Daelemans, J. and Langenakens, J. and Sonck, B., ,
Research Paper Web Link / URL:
This paper describes the results of a comparative cow preference test with 11 types of mattresses. The products included in the trial were: a Kraiburg rubber mat, Supercomfort cow mattress, Pasture Mat, Blister Mattress, Kraiburg Soft Bed System, Enkamat K2000, Comfy Cushion, Alfa Laval Comfort Mat, Alanta Waterbed, Agritarp Mattress and as reference a concrete layer littered with sawdust. The comfort of the cows increased after the installation of the mattresses in a free stall barn. This can be concluded on the basis of a higher average lying time and of the lower average standing time, which is an important factor in preventing claw and leg lameness. Comparison of the diurnal pattern of cows between the phases (before and after the use of the mattresses) did not show clear differences. Cows demonstrated a definite preference for certain mattresses, namely Supercomfort Cow Mattress, Kraiburg Bed System, Pasture Mat and Comfort Mat. The occupancy level was >50%. These mattresses were more compressible than the Enkamat K2000. Agritarp and Kraiburg rubber mat. The study demonstrated that cow preference became more distinct during the experiment
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