Lying behaviour in dairy cows has the potential to be used for welfare assessment or problem detection, but knowledge about variation in normal lying behaviour is scarce. Accelerometer data were collected at four Danish farms from 366 Holstein dairy cows in loose-housing systems in 2008 and 2009. Daily lying time decreased steeply during early lactation to a minimum around four weeks after calving, followed by a steady increase towards the end of lactation. Motion index and step frequency during walking exhibited a similar pattern. An adapted version of Wilmink’s function for lactation curves was used to model these behaviours in relation to days in milk. The results demonstrate the importance of including information about days in milk when interpreting data on lying behaviour and activity.