Effects of type of forage fed to dairy heifers: associations between claw characteristics, clinical lameness, environment and behaviour

Leach, K.A., Offer, J.E., Svoboda, I. and Logue, D. (2005) Effects of type of forage fed to dairy heifers: associations between claw characteristics, clinical lameness, environment and behaviour. Veterinary Journal, 169(3), pp. 427-436. (doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2004.03.023)

Full text not currently available from Enlighten.

Abstract

Heifers were reared separately on wet fermented (WF) (grass silage based) or dry unfermented (DU) (straw based) diets. Clinical lameness was recorded and physical claw attributes were measured regularly, up to six months after calving at approximately two years of age. Two months before calving, some aspects of animal behaviour and the properties of slurry were studied. The incidence of lameness due to claw horn lesions was significantly higher (P<0.01) in WF than in DU. WF suffered more serious heel erosion prior to calving (P<0.05) and had softer claw horn at two (heel and axial sole) out of five sites throughout (P<0.01 and P<0.05). The slurry produced by WF had lower total solids content (P<0.05) and viscosity (P<0.001). WF spent longer standing and feeding (P<0.001). It is proposed that standing for longer in less viscous slurry contributed to softer claw horn and more severe heel erosion, predisposing WF to claw horn lesions causing lameness. Reducing contact with low dry matter slurry is recommended for improving claw health.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Logue, Professor David
Authors: Leach, K.A., Offer, J.E., Svoboda, I., and Logue, D.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Veterinary Journal
Publisher:Elsevier Ltd
ISSN:1090-0233
ISSN (Online):1532-2971

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record