Agroscope, Institute for Plant Production Sciences IPS, 1260 Nyon, Switzerland

How to make the exercise yard attractive for dairy cows

Dairy cows kept in a cubicle housing system were offered round bales of either hay or grass silage in the exercise yard using two types of racks. Feeding them part of their daily ration outside resulted in doubling the time the cows spent in the exercise yard. Rank order had no significant effect on exercise yard use, but lower ranking cows had significantly shorter feeding bouts at the racks. The design of the racks was found to be of great importance to reduce competition for access to the round bales. The use of appropriate racks in the exercise yard is a recommendable way to make it more attractive for the cows.

To the archive