Bedding options for a calf lieback area - rubber mats?

redpower

Well-Known Member
We have a lieback area that holds last years calves when they come in in Oct-Dec depending on the weather. It is usually bedded down with sawdust and cleaned out daily. It wouldn't be a deep bed - just sufficient to keep the area dry and clean. New born calves for this year would then make use of this area when last years have been weaned off and moved to another shed. The young calves would get a good straw bed though.

What I'm looking at are options to change to a different type of bedding. We are part time and due to the layout of the shed cleaning out the straw bed frequently would be a hassle as there is a lot of machinery stored in front of the pens. In my mind I had the thought of switching to a type of comfort mat which would encourage them to lie a bit more and which we could scrape down into the adjacent tank (like we do currently).

I've not seen many solutions for this. Easyfix have a few mats in the MG range which they market as for liebacks as a possibility. However, they don't look to have much give in them - don't provide a deflection value for them. Kraiburg have some mats and specifically note heat retention, but they work on the assumption that the cattle will be in cubicles and include chamfers on the mats.

Has anyone here done their lieback with rubber matting or any opinion on it as an option?
 

Grassnslurry

Well-Known Member
Had my calves on rubber cubicle mats in the creep area along the back wall. Used scrap twice daily. Calves used lie in them but used get dirtier as they got bigger. Have them on straw this year in a different shed and imo I think it's hard beat straw if you have the right shed. Calves look to be thriving better as well. I no this isn't the answer you were looking for. It was just ordinary easy fix cubicle mats I was using
 

redpower

Well-Known Member
It's probably not the answer, but if there was a system whereby they would thrive with little work then everyone would be at it. wouldn't they!

I don't think our calves coming back in for winter when they are around 7months old are lying down enough to thrive as the flooring, although clean, is just a small dusting of dust on the bare concrete.
TBH - I hate seeing the stock on the bare concrete and also on the bare slats too.
 
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muckymanor

Well-Known Member
It's probably not the answer, but if there was a system whereby they would thrive with little work then everyone would be at it. wouldn't they!

I don't think our calves coming back in for winter when they are around 7months old are lying down enough to thrive as the flooring, although clean, is just a small dusting of dust on the bare concrete.
TBH - I hate seeing the stock on the bare concrete and also on the bare slats too.

Peat or mushroom compost?
 

Bot.exe

Well-Known Member
My calves have access to rubber matted cubicles and a straw bedded creep area, they will lie on the cubicles but it's rare and only ever one or two that do it. They hardly leave the creep only to drink a bit of milk.
 

redpower

Well-Known Member
I mean would peat or mushroom compost be an option for you?
Would there be any issue with either going into the tank and is it okay for spreading on the ground afterwards?
Where did you get it from - I seen you replied to a thread from another poster on here about it.
 

muckymanor

Well-Known Member
Would there be any issue with either going into the tank and is it okay for spreading on the ground afterwards?
Where did you get it from - I seen you replied to a thread from another poster on here about it.

peat - you'd have to buy. There are some suppliers advertising on DD

Mushroom compost - you could get it for free up to this year anyway. Local mushroom tunnells to here used to give us their tractor and trailer to draw it ourselves. Saw it been advertised with free delivery on DD last year.

You'd need a toe board to stop either going into the tank. Either give great warmth and comfort and animals are very clean after being bedded with it over winter. No bother spreading it out onto land.

I'd be giving animals bedded on it a blackleg vaccine - but that's not expensive.
 

redpower

Well-Known Member
Thanks - I had thought that if I could get some mats with a bit of give in them like the mattresses for dairy cattle on cubicles that all my woe would be ended.

How often would youse all clean all the straw out of your liebacks?
 

Danube

Well-Known Member
One of my uncle's as a sloped lie back area on one side of the shed coming off slatted pens. He could have anything from 16 month bull beef to suckler weanlings in the pens depending on the time of year. The lie back is scraped off on to the slats. I'm not 100% sure if he scrapes them twice a day or just in the evenings. He seems happy enough with them. I would say they are as dirty/clean as they would be lying on slats.
 
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