Type: Chapter

Housing and the welfare of dairy cattle

Author Jeffrey Rushen

University of British Columbia

Publication date:

07 August 2017

ID: 9781838791605

E-Chapter format

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In modern dairy farming, lactating cows and un-weaned calves are often housed indoors, in a restricted space, at high density, and/or separate from other animals. Such housing conditions affect the welfare of the animals by creating risks of illness and injuries and placing restrictions on behaviour. This chapter will examine issues arising from the physical and social aspects of dairy cattle housing, with a focus on the most current and controversial issues in the area. Sections 2–5 focus on the different housing systems available for lactating cows and on the advantages and disadvantages of these alternatives. Sections 6–8 then review the issue of housing for un-weaned calves.

Table of contents

1 Introduction
2 Types of housing system
3 Stall design
4 Flooring and locomotion
5 Social competition, social dominance and overstocking
6 Group versus individual housing for un-weaned calves: effects on health, locomotion and rest
7 Group versus individual housing for un-weaned calves: behaviour and weight gain
8 Reflections on housing un-weaned calves individually, in groups and with cows
9 Conclusions
10 Where to look for further information
11 References