Some critical aspects of housing dairy cattle

  • I. Declerck
  • S. Van Gansbeke
  • G. Opsomer
  • S. De Vliegher
  • A. de Kruif
  • D. Maes


Housing is a key factor in animal welfare as it determines whether or not cows spend time in a comfortable living place. Appropriate housing results in healthy cows living in a comfortable barn, optimizing production and reproduction. This article reviews some critical points of housing dairy cattle. In particular, free-stall barns with cubicles are discussed, as these are the most common barn type in Belgium. First, the dimensions and all parts of the free-stall are considered as not applying the recommended dimensions leads to adverse consequences for welfare, hygiene and udder and claw health. Next, different types of bedding material and floor type, including their advantages/disadvantages, are highlighted. Finally, the effects of photoperiodicity and stocking density are discussed.

How to Cite:

Declerck, I. & Van Gansbeke, S. & Opsomer, G. & De Vliegher, S. & de Kruif, A. & Maes, D., (2012) “Some critical aspects of housing dairy cattle”, Vlaams Diergeneeskundig Tijdschrift 81(3), 149-156. doi:

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Published on
28 Jun 2012
Peer Reviewed