By Erb, H. N. and Galton, D. M. and Guard, C. L. and Vokey, F. J., Journal of Dairy Science, 2001
Research Paper Web Link / URL:
A 15-wk 2 x 3 factorial trial in a university dairy herd compared the effects of two alley surfaces and three free-stall beds on indices of lameness. Alley surfaces were grooved concrete (Ct) or 1.9-cm-thick interlocking rubber mats (R). Stalls were deep sand (S), rubber mattresses (M), or concrete (C). Mattress and concrete stalls were bedded with sawdust. At wk 1 and 15, the hind claws and hocks of 120 primi- (n = 69) and multiparous (n = 51) cows were scored for lesions and three claw measurements (dorsal wall length, heel depth, and toe angle) were recorded. Rates of lateral and medial claw growth and wear were calculated by measuring the migration of a reference mark away from the coronet. Digital photographs of claw surfaces were used to rescore claw lesions. Clinical lameness was evaluated by assigning a locomotion score from 1 to 4 to each cow during wk 1, 5, 10, and 14. Digital dermatitis (present/not present) and interdigital dermatitis (mild, moderate, or severe) were recorded at wk 15. The number of days that cows spent in a hospital barn was recorded. Before assignment, cows were professionally foot trimmed, sorted by initial claw lesion score, and then randomized in consecutive blocks of three to stall treatments. Photograph scores were highly repeatable. Nonparametric statistical techniques were used for analyses of rank data. Claw lesion score increased significantly for all treatment groups except RC and RS; however, when early lactation cows were excluded, no differences were found between treatment groups. Hock scores increased significantly more for cows in CtC than in CtS or RS. Significantly more animals from RC spent more than 10 d in the hospital pen compared with RM and RS. Groups did not significantly differ for clinical lameness. Cows in RS and RC had significantly lower rates for lateral claw net growth than those in CtM. Having moderate or severe interdigital dermatitis at wk 15 was associated with greater increases in claw lesion score and more treatments for digital dermatitis. All claw measurements were correlated; however, toe angle was most strongly correlated with the other two. In this experiment, stall and alley configurations did not lead to significant differences in several indices of lameness.
We welcome and encourage discussion of our linked research papers. Registered users can post their comments here. New users' comments are moderated, so please allow a while for them to be published.