Home About Browse Search

Johansson, Emma, 2009. Val av liggplats och väderskydd hos dikor vid utedrift vintertid . First cycle, G2E. Skara: SLU, Dept. of Animal Environment and Health (until 231231)



If you keep cattle in a herd outside all year round on big varying grounds, their possibility
to perform their natural behaviour increases. This way of keeping cattle requires that you
provide them with their other needs, like shelter and a dry and clean resting place.
According to the animal welfare authority´s regulations on livestock farming, only animals
that are suited to stay outside during the cold season are allowed to be kept outside. They
should also have access to a shelter or another building that gives them protection from the
weather and wind and provides a dry and clean resting place.

Research has shown that as long as cattle do not get exposed to precipitation and wind they
will manage low temperature well. Some of the things that will affect how well the animals
handle different climates are the isolation ability of the fur, the animals´ body size and the
feed intake. A dry lying place that is both insulating and moisture absorbent is also of great
importance. The animals increase the time they are lying down in bad weather conditions,
such as rain and wind. By lying down they save their energy and reduce their body surface,
and thereby reduce the heat radiation.

The purpose with this Bachelor thesis is to enhance the understanding of where a herd of
suckler cows which are kept outside during winter time in the middle of Sweden, chooses
to seek shelter, how they distribute their resting time over the diurnal cycle, and in wich
terrain they prefer to lie.

The data collection took place on a herd of 60 suckler cows in Gävleborg. The animals on
the farm were mainly Hereford cross-breds of varying age. The area in which the animals
were kept during the data collection period was 40 hectares large, and consisted of varied
terrain. The animals had access to four shelters of the circular arc model. The data
collection was conducted during two different periods (October and February) to cover
various weather conditions. Eight focal animals which would carry measuring equipment
were selected for each collection period that lasted 21 days each. They carried the GPS
collars, which recorded the cows positions every 15 minutes around the clock during the
entire period, and activity meters, which made the registrations every minute, to determine
whether the animals were lying, walking or standing. A stationary weather station recorded
the weather every 15 minutes. Data have been processed so that all missed GPS recordings
of where the animals were, was treated as they were in a shelter due to that the GPS collars
often have difficulties to get satellite contact under a tin roof. However, this can give a too
high number of recordings of staying in the shelter, and therefore we call this variable
"shelter + missed".

This study shows that suckler cows that were kept outside during October and February in
the middle of Sweden were lying down approximately one third of the day and that they
appeared to be lying down as much as in the "shelter+missing" as in the natural protection.
Approximately one third of the time, the suckler cows spent in open terrain. The area that
the animals spent the most time after the open terrain was the "shelter+missing". Almost as
much time that was spent in the "shelter+missing" (19,3%) was spent even in the dense
spruce forest (16,6%). In the sparse wood the suckler cows were standing (50,7%) and
lying (49,3%) about the same, while they were standing (80,3%) much more than they were
lying (19,7%) in the dense forest. The "shelter+missing" was the protection that differed
the most from the other protection areas because the animals were lying down significantly
more (65,3%) than they were standing (34,7%). During 83,8% of the time the suckler cows were recorded in some sort of protection when they were lying down at night. The suckler
cows were lying 2,4% at night, 8,8% during dawn-dusk and 6,6% during the day.

The conclusion is that the suckler cows that were kept outside during the winter time in this
herd were lying mostly at night, that this happened mostly in protected areas, and that the
shelters seemed to be a protection they used.

Main title:Val av liggplats och väderskydd hos dikor vid utedrift vintertid
Authors:Johansson, Emma
Supervisor:Lidfors, Lena and Graunke, Katharina
Series:Studentarbete / Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet, Institutionen för husdjurens miljö och hälsa
Volume/Sequential designation:284
Year of Publication:2009
Level and depth descriptor:First cycle, G2E
Student's programme affiliation:EODKP Ethology and Animal Welfare Programme 180 HEC
Supervising department:(VH) > Dept. of Animal Environment and Health (until 231231)
Keywords:liggplats, väderskydd, ligghall, utedrift, vintertid, dikor
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Agricultural structures
Animal husbandry
Deposited On:01 Jul 2010 11:20
Metadata Last Modified:20 Apr 2012 14:14

Repository Staff Only: item control page


Downloads per year (since September 2012)

View more statistics