Development of stand-off wintering pads for dairy cows

  • Date de publication : 2021-05-14

Mot(s) Clé(s)

Lait Eau


Good animal welfare practices have always been a priority for the majority of dairy producers because these practices promote good animal health and reassure consumers. Approximately 70% of Canadian dairy farms use tiestall housing for their lactating animals causing leg injuries on dairy cows. However, the use of tiestalls is often questioned in terms of animal welfare due to the limited freedom of movement it provides to the animals, especially when they are not granted outdoor access. In intensive dairy systems, and especially in tie stalls, the cows do not have opportunity to exercise. Active locomotion gives stronger muscles and joints and reduces the prevalence of hock injuries, also gives the cows optimal blood circulation in the legs and so helps supply nutrients and oxygen to the keratin- producing horn tissues. Currently, producers are looking for space for dairy cows to exercise, contributing to their health and welfare but any system is environmentally friendly due to the high inputs of dung and urine that can give rise to environmental concerns as leachate can contribute to the eutrophication of water bodies and groundwater pollution. The use of Stand off wintering pads could be a good approach to reach the environmental sustainability of livestock farming, since it allows to have the control on an-imal health and welfare. The design will be adapted to the Quebec winter, implementing hot air injection to one of two filters in order to minimize the freezing of the same. This work presents the design of stand off pad for winter of Québec and the results of the winter experiment.