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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Parity and days in milk affect cubicle occupancy in dairy cows

Churakov, Mikhail; Silvera, Anna; Gussmann, Maya; Nielsen, Per Peetz


Modern dairy cattle farms are usually equipped with cubicle systems to provide cows with comfortable conditions for lying down and resting. Cows are free to choose any cubicle they want, but in reality, they do not distribute themselves uniformly throughout the barn. There are many factors that affect where a cow lies down, such as hierarchy of a cow, access to resources, cow traffic nearby, etc. In this study, we used real-time location system data from two commercial farms to examine patterns of cubicle occupancy in relation to parity and lactation stage. We summarized cubicle occupancy over several days and compared different areas of the barn. Our findings suggest that, in general, there was a higher occupancy of cubicles close to the feeding areas. High parity cows lay down more frequently in cubicles close to the milking area as opposed to first lactation cows that tend to occupy less busy areas of the barn. The overall conclusion is that cubicle occupancy is not uniform throughout the barn, and patterns related to parity and DIM are seen. This information can be important for future studies on spread of diseases and for management purposes.


Real-time location system; Lying time; Dairy cattle

Published in

Applied Animal Behaviour Science
2021, volume: 244, article number: 105494

Authors' information

Churakov, Mikhail
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Animal Nutrition and Management
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics
Gussmann, Maya
University of Copenhagen
Nielsen, Per Peetz
RISE Research Institutes of Sweden

UKÄ Subject classification

Animal and Dairy Science

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