Effects of grooving slippery concrete floors on dairy cows´ claw health, behavior, fertility and survival : farmers experience and herd data

University essay from SLU/Department of Biosystems and Technology (from 130101)

Abstract: The most common floor type in dairy barns is concrete. Concrete does unfortunately get slippery over time due to mechanical and chemical degradation. Slippery floors increase the risk of slipping and falling and influence cows’ behavior, which can affect claw health, fertility and survival. One common solution to provide more friction and reduce slipperiness is to groove the floor. In this thesis, the effect of grooving on claw health, fertility, and survival are examined by a questionnaire and an epidemiological study. The questionnaire included 53 of about 300 farmers who contracted Växa Sverige to groove their floors, during recent years. The 34 questions included specific information about the grooving, animal health, behavior, and housing. Farmers replied that grooving improved oestrus expression (31 %), increased activity (22 %), gave higher claw wear (10 %) and decreased muscle strain injuries (81 %). Other farmers did not see any differences in these traits before and after grooving. The epidemiological study included 118 herds who grooved their concrete floors (HGrooved) and 236 matched control herds (HControl) who had not grooved their floors. Data were obtained for the 6-months period prior grooving (period1) and the 6-month period after grooving was finished (period2). The results did not reveal any evidential proof regarding grooves effect on claw health, fertility, culling and veterinary treated disorders. Further studies need more participating farmers and a longer follow up period in order to determine how claw health, fertility and survival are affected by grooving.

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