Calving Cows Prefer Sand and Straw to Rubber Mats

DENMARK – Cows may prefer a bedding material of sand and straw to rubber matting, a Danish PhD student has found.
calendar icon 13 May 2013
clock icon 1 minute read

An Aarhus University study looked at 17 Holstein cows in calving pens and bedding selection in the two day run up to calving.

Three bedding surfaces were available. They were;

  • 10 cm of sand with 15 cm of straw
  • 15 cm of cut straw
  • 18mm of rubber matting with anti-slip surface and 15 cm of straw

The surfaces were laid in identical calving pens with concrete floors at the base.

Only one cow opted for rubber matting with all others cows selecting sand and straw bedding.

The team state the research is important as it covers pre and post parturition stages, a time period not analysed by bedding research which have focused on later lactating stages.

Animal stress and sensitivity are high in the run up to calving. Bedding is key a this point as cows frequently change positions between lying and standing, the researchers concluded. 

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