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AnswerIf the cow isn't standing up then it's not healthy and you should be observing it's legs (feeling for injury or, looking for sores.) Cows will lay down off and on (as I'm sure you know) but to lay down all the time is injurious to the cow. I did research on this and even I was surprised at how labor intensive raising cows are especially for milking. I hope the following helps you:

Cow comfort is a very important issue for dairy producers today. A 1996 study by the National Animal Health Monitoring System (For Collins, CO) reported the top 4 reasons given for culling cows were, in order:

reproductive problems, udder or mastitis problems, poor production and lameness and injury. Together, these factors accounted for over 90% of culling activity. Cows culled for the reasons listed other than poor production are considered revoluntary culls. When many or most cows leave a herd involuntarily, the potential for owners to generate a profit, improve their herds, and expand their operations is severely limited.

POOR STALL DESIGN is rivaled only by poor air quality as the major environmental culprit behind many of these problems. Environmental mastitis and teat injuries are definitely attributable to the condition of stalls. Lameness and injury can be directly caused by stall conditions, and may be an underlying cause of breeding and production problems if cows don'ts[sic] want to stand when in heat or at the bunk. Stalls must be clean, dry and comfortable!

OF UTMOST IMPORTANCE, is ensuring that cows have the opportunity to lie down and rise up easily in freestalls by providing lunge space. (When cows get up, their body forges ahead, so there needs to be more space for this action) Stall dimensions and placement of other stall features, such as the brisket board and neck rail, should be suited to the more productive animals that are being house[sic]. Espifications are readily available for mature Holstein cows and have also been developed for younger cattle, different breeds, and cows with special needs.

CHOICE BEDDING material and design of the stall are important considerations as well. The lying surface must have adequate cushion and should have fresh bedding added regularly to keep the stall clean and dry, and to prevent cows from injury, especially to their hocks. A simple stall bed made of a deep layer of sand is the preferred choice if clean sand can be obtained at a reasonable price and handling of sand-laden manure will not be a significant ordeal. A quality stall bed can be achieved using mattress materials where sand is not considered a viable option. Periodic maintenance of the stalls is important for long-term use.

Producers can achieve significant improvement in their freestalls by retrofitting current facilities or by incorporating proper designs into the construction of new barns. It pays to know what partition designs are appropriate for different circumstances. In new construction it is preferable to provide forward lunge space. In head-to-head stall arrangements, this can be accomplished by leaving the stall front completely open and utilizing shared lunge space. For stalls in other arrangements, especially in rows along the barn exterior, consider making the stalls longer (close to 8'-6").

CURB HEIGHT should be kept as short as possible without letting manure be deposited into the rear of stalls while cleaning alleys (depends on frequency of cleaning). If a mattress is used, the total step into the stall will usually be higher than the curb height. Allow for the incread[sic] (typically 4 inches) in all other vertical dimensions that are referenced from the top of the curb. The positions of the brisket board and the neck rail are both referenced from the curb. These two features and their proper placement are essential for encouraging cows to lie correctly in the stall.

Remember to consider cow comfort in your planning. Select freestall designs to minimize cow contact and that prioritize constuction that is firm, but flexible, over rigidly solid constuction. Do not pinch pennies in this regard if it means cow comfort will be compromised by an inferior design.


Hope this helps. Even if you aren't raising dairy cows this is good information and it's a MUST to check the hocks of the cow and be sure there are no injuries to the legs, or problems with the teets.


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โˆ™ 2009-12-21 18:01:17
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Q: Why will a cow that is healthy lie down and not stand back up?
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