Abstract #W6

# W6
Differences in cow comfort between traditional bedded pack and compost bedded pack for dairy housing systems.
Anna Fernández1, Eva Mainau1, Xavier Manteca1, Cinta Sol*1, Lorena Castillejos1, 1Animal Nutrition and Welfare Service, Animal and Food Science Departament, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra, Spain.

The objective of this research was to compare cow welfare between 2 different types of dairy cattle housing systems, compost bedded pack (CB) and traditional bedded pack (TB), using the Welfare Quality protocol. Both behavior indicators (time needed to lie down) and health indicators (dirtiness of the cows, body condition, hairless patches, lesions and swellings, lameness, nasal and ocular discharge, hampered respiration, diarrhea, and vulvar discharge) were evaluated as indicators of cow welfare. The study was conducted on 2 commercial dairy farms (816 and 394 lactating cows) between the spring 2013 and the summer 2014. Data from behavior and health indicators were collected from 451 lactating cows (11.28 ± 0.29 cows for each farm, season and treatment) and 1222 lactating cows (30.5 ± 0.6 for each farm, season and treatment) respectively. Statistical analyses were carried out with the SAS 9.2 software applying a MIXED procedure for behavior and GLIMMIX procedure for health data. Regarding behavior, cows took a similar amount of time to lie down in CB and TB (4.8 ± 0.08 and 4.7 ± 0.07 s; P > 0.05). For health indicators, the percentage of cows with dirtiness on the udder was higher (P < 0.05) in CB (50.7 ± 2.61) than TB (44.0 ± 3.33) in summer and spring. Conversely, in winter, the percentage of cows with dirtiness on the hindquarters was higher (P < 0.05) in TB (61.7 ± 2.93) than CB (50.3 ± 2.99). Cows allocated in TB showed higher prevalence of hairless patches on the flank, side and udder than in CB (10.8 ± 1.57 and 9.6 ± 1.55; P < 0.05) in summer. There were no other differences in health measures between cows housed in CB and TB throughout the year. Most of the welfare parameters evaluated did not differ between the 2 loose housing systems, with the exception of dirtiness and hairless patches.

Key Words: compost bedded pack, cow comfort, lactating cow