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The effect of lameness on lying behaviour of zero grazed Holstein dairy cattle

By Nicola Blackie, Jonathan Amory, Emma Bleach, Jes Scaife

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The present study examines the impact of chronic lameness, where animals remained the same locomotion score for 3 consecutive months on lying behaviour of dairy cattle. The 59 lactating Holstein dairy cows recruited to the study, were grouped according to locomotion score (LS) where low scores indicate normal gait. LS-1 (n=16), LS-2 (n=21) and LS-3 (n=22) were used. Locomotion score groups were balanced for parity and stage of lactation. Lying behaviour was measured using IceTag™ monitors which were attached cow for 4 consecutive days. Cows were maintained in their home pen with grooved concrete flooring. All data were normally distributed and were assessed using a one-way ANOVA with post hoc Tukey test. The lame cows (LS-3) spent significantly longer lying down compared to non-lame (LS-1 or LS-2) cows (13h/day vs. 10.9h/day, respectively), this was accompanied by significantly reduced standing times. When the behaviour was broken down over the day and evaluated alongside management factors it was noted that the lame cows were less reactive to feed being pushed up and more of the lame cows were found to be standing up in the early hours of the morning, possibly to avoid conflict over resources. Similarly, the differences in lying times between lame and non-lame cows only differed significantly in the evening period (16:01–23:00).

Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 134
Issue 3
Pages 85-91
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2011.08.004
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Cattle
  2. Lameness
  3. Lying
  4. monitoring
  5. scoring systems