Environment, behavior and welfare aspects of dairy cows reared in compost bedded pack barns system

Jaqueline Agnes Pilatti, Frederico Márcio Corrêa Vieira


The compost bedded pack barns is a loose housing confinement system for dairy cows, which aims to provide greater comfort in the resting area. Therefore, objective of this review was to investigate the environment, behavior and welfare aspects of dairy cows in the compost bedded pack barns system. The system is characterized by the large collective bed area, in which the objective is the composting of that area. In this way, the ideal bed management is the key point to the success of this system. In addition to daily revolving, an efficient ventilation system is required to perform the air exchange in the shed, and maintain adequate bed humidity levels, while maintaining a comfortable dry environment for the cows to lie down. The ventilation system also has great importance in the cows’ thermal comfort. In seasons of high average temperatures, ventilation reduces possible stress situations, raising the animals’ welfare level. Another characteristic of compost bedded pack barns is the greater spacing per animal in the bed area, allowing animals to express naturally the behavior of lying down and decrease the competition among animals. The compost bedded pack barns system presents the potential to provide comfort and welfare for dairy cows. However, good bed management and microclimatic environmental conditions are necessary. However, further studies are needed at the national level to provide more information on the ideal management of the system under climatic conditions in Brazil and the cows’ behavior in the system.


composting; ethology; loose housing; stabling; thermal comfort

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14269/2318-1265/jabb.v5n3p97-105


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