Cubicles improperly sized for dairy cattle can lead to increased skin disturbances, lameness, and dirt. In this sense, the International Commission for Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (CIGR) has developed some recommendations for cubicle design, although some studies have shown that not all appear efficient. This study aimed to refine and complete these recommendations.
To do this, the researchers collected data from 76 dairy farms (2,404 cows), modeling the association between combinations of cubicle properties (for example, bed type) and dimensions (for example, cubicle width) about the size of the cubicle: the cow and the prevalence of alterations of the cow's skin, lameness, and dirt.
Weighted multivariate logistic regression models were used to predict the presence of skin alteration in:
The presence of lameness was also evaluated, as well as the dirtiness of:
The researchers' recommendations
Experiments should follow this risk factor analysis in controlled settings to validate these conclusions further; the researchers caution and update the CIGR recommendations.
Romain Lardy, Alice de Boyer des Roches, Jacques Capdeville, Renaud Bastien, Luc Mounier, Isabelle Veissier. Refinement of international recommendations for cubicles, based on the identification of associations between cubicle characteristics and dairy cow welfare measures. Journal of Dairy Science, Volume 104, Issue 2, P2164-2184, February 01, 2021. https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.2019-17972