Every now and then we see the discussion coming up in e-mails or social media. Some people go for matresses, others prefer deep, soft beds. Here is our advice, with the research to support it:
In general, freestalls with deep bedding are more comfortable for the cows, which lead to less foot and udder health problems, more milk production and thus to a longer and better life for the cow, and more profitability, work satisfaction and pride of the farmers. Yes, deep bedded freestalls need to be managed well, just like freestalls with matresses. When constructed and managed well, deep bedded freestalls do not require more time for daily maintenance. And reduce the time needed for dealing with foot problems and mastitis.
Article Nigel Cook
Conclusion: Lame cows stay lame in barns with freestalls with matresses because they spend an increased time standing, in contrary to barns with deep bedded free stalls like sand bedding.
Article Van Gastelen
Conclusion: Freestalls with matresses cause thick hocks and wounds. Thicks hocks are caused by repeated trauma and lying on a surface that is too hard. Wounds give pain and continuous stress. And they challenge the immune system of the cow, thus increasing the energy use and decreasing the resistance of the cow.
So, make sure every cow has a deep, soft bed!
Want to learn more? Do our video learning!