Cattle show clear preferences for soft and dry lying areas, and lying time is reduced when surfaces are hard or wet. Lying is considered a high-priority behavior, and likely confers health benefits. Unyielding and poorly bedded lying surfaces are the key risk factor for leg injuries, which are also evaluated through hock and knee injuries, while cleanliness is evaluated through hygiene scoring. Appropriate lying surfaces can prevent slips and falls.
Which animals to assess:
Every pen or group will be observed for a soft lying surface, as part of the WISE-ST criteria
How to assess:
Lying surface will be evaluated by the presence of floor covering if not housed on pasture or grass. Acceptable surfaces are those that are not hard and filthy. Bare metal, wire, wood, and stone are unacceptable. Concrete, rubber mats, mattresses, and waterbeds without sufficient bedding substrate to avoid injury are not acceptable.