Wooden brisket boards reduce stall use

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 Although brisket boards help position cows closer to the curb, new research shows that when given a choice between a stall with a wooden brisket board and one with no brisket board, the cows preferred no brisket board.

Cows prefer to lie in free-stalls without wooden brisket boards, according to a study in the July Journal of Dairy Science.

When given a choice between a free-stall with a wooden brisket board and one without a brisket board, dry cows in a University of British Columbia study spent 68 percent of their total lying time in stalls without a wooden brisket board. Cows also had longer lying bouts and spent, on average, 1.2 hours more per day lying down in stalls without wooden brisket boards.

The brisket boards measured about 8 inches high and were positioned 89 inches from the rear of the stall at a 30-degree angle. The mattress-bedded stalls measured about 48 inches wide and 107 inches long.

“Although it seems likely that the brisket board helps keep stalls clean by positioning cows closer to the curb, our results indicate that brisket boards also make stalls less comfortable,” say the researchers. “It would be good to know if smaller, plastic brisket boards also reduce cow comfort,” adds Cassandra Tucker, one of the study’s authors.

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