Witkowska, D., Ponieważ, A. 2022. The effect of housing system on disease prevalence and productive lifespan of dairy herds—A case study. Animals 12(13), 1610.
Selected technological solutions can impact health status of animals. The aim of this case study was to determine the effect of different housing systems on disease prevalence and the productive lifespan of dairy cows. In total, 480 cows kept indoors on one farm in four buildings using four different housing systems (a free-stall barn with a slatted floor; a free-stall barn with a self-cleaning floor; an open-pack barn with deep litter; a tie-stall barn with shallow litter) were analyzed. The data from 6 years, based on veterinary reports, were processed statistically in Statistica 13.00. The study demonstrated that the average productive lifespan was longer (p ≤ 0.01), by up to more than 8 months, in the system with deep litter, which was also characterized by the lowest disease prevalence (p ≤ 0.01), especially foot and some reproductive disorders. This trend was maintained in each year of the study period (2015–2020). In the tie-stall barn, the prevalence of mastitis was reduced, but the risk of lameness, retained placenta, parturient paresis and displaced abomasum was higher in this system (p ≤ 0.01). Overall morbidity was highest in the free-stall barns. Lower morbidity was associated with an increase in productive herd life.