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6 July 2021

Cow comfort and lameness – part 2

The distribution of 24 hours for the cow under optimal conditions can be affected by cow comfort. Poor cow comfort results in reduced milk yield and more health problems.

The barn system has influences on how long the cow stands, walks and is milked.

The management routines influence how long the cow lies down. A sufficient length of resting time provides higher performance and a better level of health.

The distribution of 24 hours for the cow under optimal conditions:

  • Lying down 12-14 hours
  • Eating 4-6 hours
  • Standing and walking 5-7 hours
  • Milking 1-2 hours

Avoid a significant reduction in lying/resting time and increased standing time, as this has a negative impact on hoof health. The cows that are already predisposed to hoof disorders will be extra vulnerable.

If the rest time is less than approx. 10 hours a day, it must be expected to cost milk yield. Rest periods of less than 8 hours a day will in many cases have direct negative health consequences - especially on hoof health.

What pushes the cows' rest time balance?

  • Moving animals to another barn section will very often result in them spending more time standing (in the first days) at the expense of rest time.
  • Improper sizing or layout of bed stalls (incorrect placement of front pipe, poor ground, etc.) increases the chance of problems.
  • Insufficient capacity in milking parlors in relation to group size will result in a long waiting time (standing) during milking (this should not exceed approx. 1 hour per milking per day).
  • Heat stress leads to increased standing time as the cows try to stay in the best ventilated places in the barn. In addition, heat from the cows dissipated more easily when they are standing.
  • Overcrowding of barn sections will of course also adversely affect the stand-rest balance.
  • Fixation over a longer period of time may change the rest time.


Source: SEGES, Denmark

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