Impacts of Compost Bedded Pack Barns on the Welfare and Comfort of Dairy Cows

Anna Fernández, Eva Mainau, Xavier Manteca, Adriana Siurana, Lorena Castillejos*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Three loose housing systems for lactating cows (compost bedded pack, CBP; conventional bedded pack, BP; and freestalls, FS) were assessed on one farm in terms of cow behavior and welfare. An on-farm welfare assessment based on the Welfare Quality protocols was used four times every three months on 757 cows. Video recordings taken twice over four days were used to assess behavior patterns at resting areas. Cows in CBP and BP were dirtier than those in FS (p < 0.0001). Fewer integument alterations were recorded for CBP and BP than FS (p < 0.001). Cows in BP were quicker to lie down and stand up compared to those in CBP or FS (p < 0.001). Percentages of cows needing more attempts before rising were higher for FS (p < 0.01). However, a higher frequency of kneeling was observed in CBP (p = 0.033). A lower percentage of cows lying in the resting area was recorded for FS (56%) than CBP or BP (97 or 84%, respectively, p < 0.05). Overall, in this study, cows kept in bedded pack barns were dirtier but had fewer integument alterations and spent more time lying down in the resting area than cows housed in freestalls.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Article number431
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2020


  • Compost bedded pack barn
  • Cow comfort
  • Cow dirtiness
  • Integument alteration
  • Lying behavior

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