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Influence of an Improved Floor Design on the Claw Health of Dairy Cows

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  024023,  2002 ASAE Annual Meeting . (doi: 10.13031/2013.10570) @2002
Authors:   Heiko Georg, Wilhard Meyer
Keywords:   Dairy cows, claw health, floor design, claw measurement

Analysis of claw diseases within the last two decades showed a dependence between lameness and housing environment. Besides the fact, that lameness is a multifactorial disease, housing of dairy cows in cubicle loose housing systems is one main factor for increasing culling rates regarding lameness in many dairy herds. The claws of dairy cows are effected by wet and dirty surfaces of the alleys and passages. The water content of the horn increases, the resistance against bacterial and fungal infections decreases, as long as claws are in contact with the wet environment. The idea of the described experiment was to dry claws with a different structure of floor types and design of the feeding area, where cows spend 3 to 6 hours per day standing in a feeding rack. A type of dry foot bath was designed, working with the hind claws to make them drier and healthier. The claws of 48 dairy cows were examined during the experimental period, lasting 6 months. The evaluation included measurements of hardness according shore D, conductivity (water content), claw measurements, microbiological status of the dry foot bath and prints of the sole area. First results show that hardness of claws increases on the improved drier solid floor type, compared to the conventional solid floor.

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