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Asian-Australas J Anim Sci > Accepted Articles
DOI: https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.19.0941    [Accepted] Published online February 25, 2020.
Effects of surface materials of self-draining beds on cattle behavior in a temperate climate
Ping Liu1  , Lulu Guo1  , Fulan Zhang1  , Lin Li1  , Huaming Mao1  , Zhaobing Gu1,* 
Faculty of Animal Science and Technology, Yunnan Agricultural University, Kunming 650201, China
Correspondence:  Zhaobing Gu,Email: zhaobinggu@163.com
Received: 7 December 2019   • Revised: 13 January 2020   • Accepted: 28 January 2020
The objective of the present experiment was to construct self-draining beds to keep surface bedding materials clean and dry for beef cattle comfort in a temperate climate.
In Experiment 1, a self-draining bed was covered with sand at depths of 10 cm (S-10a), 15 cm (S-15) and 20 cm (S-20) respectively. In Experiment 2, self-draining beds of different sizes were covered with 10 cm of sand (S-10b) and wood shavings (WS) at depths of 15 cm and 20 cm (WS-15 and WS-20). Fifteen cattle were engaged to evaluate the comfort of self-draining beds covered with different bedding materials.
No cattle lay in the feed alley and cattle spent more time lying on S-10a than S-15 or S-20 in Experiment 1 (p < 0.01). No difference in lying time was detected between S-15 and S-20 (p > 0.05). In Experiment 2, no cattle selected the feed alley as the lying area. Cattle preferred WS-15 as the lying area and time spent lying on WS-20 was slightly higher than on S-10b (p < 0.05). Feces weight was higher in the feed alley than in the different bedding areas in both Experiments 1 and 2 (p < 0.01).
Sand-bedding depth at 10 cm and wood shavings at 15 cm above the self-draining bed can provide for the lying comfort of beef cattle. Design of a special feed alley to hold most of the feces to keep bedding materials clean and dry is desirable for organic beef cattle in a loose barn.
Keywords: Cattle; Behavior; Bedding Material; Self-draining Beds

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