Influence of Soft or Hard Floors before and after First Calving on Dairy Heifer Locomotion, Claw and Leg Health
Simple SummaryIn this study the effect of different flooring systems on locomotion, claw conformation, loading, claw- and leg disorders was assessed in heifers from one year before to one year after calving. After calving, heifers kept on alleys covered with rubber flooring were found to develop less lameness, fewer claw disorders of the sole horn and fewer leg lesions than those kept on concrete alleys. Recruitment heifers reared on soft deep straw bedding had fewer sole horn lesions and more overgrown claws before calving, but were more prone to severe sole horn lesions after calving, than those reared in cubicles with hard concrete floors.
AbstractClaw health, an important dairy cow welfare parameter, may be affected by early-life foot/leg stresses. To investigate this, groups of pregnant heifers were allocated to deep straw bedding (Soft) or cubicles (Hard), both with scraped concrete feeding alleys. After the grazing season, they were re-housed in cubicle systems, half on slatted concrete (Hard) and half on slatted rubber (Soft) alleys. Claw measurements, contact area and pressure distribution claw/flooring, claw disorders and leg lesions were recorded at the start and end of each housing season. Locomotion and leg lesions were also scored monthly after calving. Prevalence of sole haemorrhages was higher among pregnant heifers in cubicles than in deep straw. After calving, first-calvers on Hard floors had higher odds for lameness (OR = 3.6; P < 0.01), sole haemorrhages/ulcers (OR = 2.2; P < 0.05), white-line haemorrhages (OR = 2.8; P < 0.01) and leg lesions (OR = 2.6; P < 0.02) than those on Soft floors. Lowest prevalence and severity of sole and white-line haemorrhages (non-significant) in first-calvers was found in those on Soft floors and reared on Hard floors and the highest prevalence and severity on those on Hard floors reared on Soft floors. Soft flooring after calving is of most importance for healthy feet and legs. View Full-Text
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Bergsten, C.; Telezhenko, E.; Ventorp, M. Influence of Soft or Hard Floors before and after First Calving on Dairy Heifer Locomotion, Claw and Leg Health. Animals 2015, 5, 662-686.
Bergsten C, Telezhenko E, Ventorp M. Influence of Soft or Hard Floors before and after First Calving on Dairy Heifer Locomotion, Claw and Leg Health. Animals. 2015; 5(3):662-686.Chicago/Turabian Style
Bergsten, Christer; Telezhenko, Evgenij; Ventorp, Michael. 2015. "Influence of Soft or Hard Floors before and after First Calving on Dairy Heifer Locomotion, Claw and Leg Health." Animals 5, no. 3: 662-686.