Dairy goat usage of flooring types varied by material, slope and slat width


APPLIED ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR SCIENCE, vol.215, pp.37-44, 2019 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier


Barn flooring and bedding management are two critical issues in intensive dairy goat facilities. This study aimed at identifying the most appropriate seasonal floorings through observation of the behavioral characteristics of dairy goats. Four different trials were carried out in two different seasons (summer and winter). Wooden and rubber floorings were compared in the 1st trial; solid wood and slatted wooden floorings in the 2nd trial; 5% and 10% sloped floors in the 3rd trial, and 5-cm and 10-cm wide wooden slats were compared in the 4th trial. A total of 20 polled Turkish Saanen goats at 3-years of age were used in the experiments. During the temperature and relative humidity measurements taken in the morning hours, the floors were also scored for dirtiness. The floor dirtiness scores did not vary significantly by season or by season x type of flooring (P > 0.05). While there were no significant differences in the dirtiness scores of the flooring in the 1st and 3rd trials, the slatted floors of the 2nd and 4th trials had relatively lower dirtiness scores than the other floorings (P <= 0.05). Goats spent the majority of their time lying (74.88%) and were observed to favor reclining onto pen fences while lying. The lying behavior did not vary significantly regarding season in any trials (P > 0.05). However, the lying behavior of the goats significantly varied according to floor type in all trials (P <= 0.0396). Goats lay mostly over straw bedding in all trials, followed by rubber material, solid surface and 5% slope, which had rates close to that of straw bedding (P >= 0.05). In trial 4, goats demonstrated significantly lower lying behavior over both types of slats (5 cm and 10 cm) than straw bedding (P <= 0.05). Goats lay significantly more over the rubber floor compared to the wooden floor, more over the solid floor than the slatted floor, and more over the 10 cm slats than 5 cm slats. Goats demonstrated standing behavior more over the slatted floors (trials 2 and 4) (P <= 0.05). In this study, straw bedding was primarily chosen by dairy goats. Following straw bedding, goats largely opted for rubber flooring and solid wooden flooring and they showed no liking for slatted floors.