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The behaviour of cows in response to rubber mats in milking parlour stalls.

The aim of this study was to determine whether rubber matting had any significant effects on social interaction amongst dairy cows immediately prior to entering the milking stalls.

Year of Publication2009

High-yielding dairy cows are at risk of injuries causing lameness due to the hard, abrasive nature or slipperiness of the usual concrete floor surface (Cook et al., 2004). These problems can be exacerbated by the milking procedure that includes crowding of cows and possible sharp turns at the entrance and exit of the parlour. Rubber mats on walkways have been shown to reduce injury (Rushen and Passillé, 2006) and are preferred by cows to a concrete or slatted surface (Telezhenko et al., 2007). A recent installation of rubber matting in the milking stalls of a 15 cows per side (30-30) rapid exit parlour provided an opportunity to observe potential effects on cow behaviour. The mats were introduced to one side at a time and then to both sides and the aim was to determine whether the rubber matting had any significant effects on social interaction immediately prior to entering the milking stalls and the time taken for 15 cows to take their places.

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Supporting the development of the national rural economy.

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