Next Article in Journal / Special Issue
Measuring Claw Conformation in Cattle: Assessing the Agreement between Manual and Digital Measurement
Previous Article in Journal
Predictions of Daily Milk and Fat Yields, Major Groups of Fatty Acids, and C18:1 cis-9 from Single Milking Data without a Milking Interval
Previous Article in Special Issue
Digital Dermatitis in Dairy Cows: A Review of Risk Factors and Potential Sources of Between-Animal Variation in Susceptibility
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Animals 2015, 5(3), 662-686; doi:10.3390/ani5030378

Influence of Soft or Hard Floors before and after First Calving on Dairy Heifer Locomotion, Claw and Leg Health

1
Biosystems and Technology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, S-230 53 Alnarp, Sweden
2
Viking Genetics, S-532 94 Skara, Sweden
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Jon Huxley
Received: 1 June 2015 / Revised: 16 July 2015 / Accepted: 23 July 2015 / Published: 6 August 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dairy Cow Mobility and Lameness)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [2790 KB, uploaded 6 August 2015]   |  

Simple Summary

In 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.

Abstract

Claw 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
Keywords: dairy cow; flooring system; rubber floor; locomotion; claw disorder; leg lesion; claw conformation; weight and pressure distribution; prevention dairy cow; flooring system; rubber floor; locomotion; claw disorder; leg lesion; claw conformation; weight and pressure distribution; prevention
Figures

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

Scifeed alert for new publications

Never miss any articles matching your research from any publisher
  • Get alerts for new papers matching your research
  • Find out the new papers from selected authors
  • Updated daily for 49'000+ journals and 6000+ publishers
  • Define your Scifeed now

SciFeed Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

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.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics

1

Comments

[Return to top]
Animals EISSN 2076-2615 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top