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Grazing Cow Behavior’s Association with Mild and Moderate Lameness

Land Management and Systems, Faculty of Agribusiness and Commerce, Lincoln University, Lincoln, 7647 Christchurch, New Zealand
Animal and Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Teagasc, Moorepark, Fermoy, P61 C997 Cork, Ireland
Seenovate, MIBI Building 672, Rue du Mas de Verchant, 34000 Montpellier, France
Animal Nutrition and Rangeland Management in the Tropics and Subtropics, University of Hohenheim, 70599 Stuttgart, Germany
IUT de Vannes, 8 Rue Michel de Montaigne, 56000 Vannes, France
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2020, 10(4), 661;
Received: 17 March 2020 / Revised: 3 April 2020 / Accepted: 7 April 2020 / Published: 11 April 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Development and Assessment of Animal Welfare Indicators)
Diseases of cow hooves usually affect how a cow walks (gait), and cows with sufficiently abnormal gait are classified as lame. In addition to altered gait, there are also reports of differences in behavior, such as lying time. To aid heat detection, cow behavior is regularly measured on farms using cow-attached accelerometers. Using these and similar measures of cow behavior to detect lameness has been investigated with mixed results. The strongest reported lameness–behavior associations have been with lying time and activity measures. Most of these and other associations have been reported previously with zero-grazing cows. Here, we looked to see if 14 different behavior measures were associated with mild and moderate lameness in grazing animals. Four trials were performed with two breeds of cows across two farms with data from 63 cows aggregated together in total. Measures of activity and standing/laying events were weakly associated with lameness. The usefulness of these measures for lameness detection with grazing animals may thus be limited.
Accelerometer-based mobility scoring has focused on cow behaviors such as lying and walking. Accuracy levels as high as 91% have been previously reported. However, there has been limited replication of results. Here, measures previously identified as indicative of mobility, such as lying bouts and walking time, were examined. On a research farm and a commercial farm, 63 grazing cows’ behavior was monitored in four trials (16, 16, 16, and 15 cows) using leg-worn accelerometers. Seventeen good mobility (score 0), 23 imperfect mobility (score 1), and 22 mildly impaired mobility (score 2) cows were monitored. Only modest associations with activity, standing, and lying events were found. Thus, behavior monitoring appears to be insufficient to discern mildly and moderately impaired mobility of grazing cows. View Full-Text
Keywords: accelerometer; lameness; pasture; behavior; dairy cow; mobility; locomotion accelerometer; lameness; pasture; behavior; dairy cow; mobility; locomotion
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MDPI and ACS Style

O’Leary, N.W.; Byrne, D.T.; Garcia, P.; Werner, J.; Cabedoche, M.; Shalloo, L. Grazing Cow Behavior’s Association with Mild and Moderate Lameness. Animals 2020, 10, 661.

AMA Style

O’Leary NW, Byrne DT, Garcia P, Werner J, Cabedoche M, Shalloo L. Grazing Cow Behavior’s Association with Mild and Moderate Lameness. Animals. 2020; 10(4):661.

Chicago/Turabian Style

O’Leary, Niall W., Daire. T. Byrne, Pauline Garcia, Jessica Werner, Morgan Cabedoche, and Laurence Shalloo. 2020. "Grazing Cow Behavior’s Association with Mild and Moderate Lameness" Animals 10, no. 4: 661.

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