Effect of two trimming methods of dairy cattle on concrete or rubber-covered slatted floors

W. Ouweltjes, M. Holzhauer, P.P.J. van der Tol, J.T.N. van der Werf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study monitored claw health, claw conformation, locomotion, activity, and step traits of cows from a single dairy herd that were trimmed according to the standard Dutch method or with an alternative "concave" trimming method. Half of the cows were kept in a stall section with concrete slatted floors in the alleys. The other cows were kept in a pen within the same housing with an identical concrete slatted floor in the alleys, but with a rubber top layer. All experimental cows were kept in the same environment for at least 3 mo before and after trimming. It was hypothesized that trimming for more-concave soles (i.e., with 3 to 5 mm of sole dug out under the claw bone) was preferred to the standard Dutch trimming with flat sole surfaces for cows kept in stalls with soft alley floors. None of the claw health or locomotion traits differed for the trimming methods. No interactions were found between flooring and trimming method. Floor effects were significant for several traits. Cows on the rubber-topped floors had significantly fewer sole hemorrhages (prevalence of 22 vs. 48% in mo 3) and larger claws (claw length 76.1 ± 5.0 vs. 72.5 ± 4.9 mm; heel height 49.3 ± 6.3 vs. 46.0 ± 6.4 mm; claw diagonal 129 ± 6.4 vs. 125 ± 6.9 mm), spent more time standing in the alleys (55.4 ± 2.8 vs. 49.6 ± 2.8%), and had higher activity (61.0 ± 3.7 vs. 53.0 ± 3.7 steps/h). This suggests greater claw comfort on rubber flooring compared with concrete flooring. Kinetic patterns during claw-floor contact while walking were similar for all treatments. During the double-support (stance) phase, claw-floor contact area increased to a maximum in the first 30% of double-support phase time, remained more or less stable until 80% of double-support phase time, and sharply decreased as the animal pushed off as shown by the change in center of pressure. A gradual change of center of pressure in the medial direction during double-support phase time was shown. The research hypothesis was rejected, but soft alley floors had subtle beneficial effects
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)960-971
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Volume92
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Keywords

  • claw lesions
  • free stalls
  • tie stalls
  • cows
  • health
  • prevalence
  • locomotion
  • disorders
  • lameness
  • systems

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