Influence of Lameness on the Lying Behaviour of Zero-Grazed Lactating Jersey Dairy Cattle Housed in Straw Yards

Blackie, N and Maclaurin, L (2019) Influence of Lameness on the Lying Behaviour of Zero-Grazed Lactating Jersey Dairy Cattle Housed in Straw Yards. Animals, 9 (10). p. 829.

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Abstract

Thirty-five lactating Jersey cows were recruited to the study. They were grouped according to locomotion score (LS), where low scores indicate normal gait. LS-1 (n = 12), LS-2 (n = 12) and LS-3 (n = 11) were used. Locomotion scores were balanced for parity and stage of lactation. Lying behaviour was recorded using IceTag™ data loggers attached to the cows for four consecutive days. The study animals remained in the straw based yards with grooved concrete flooring throughout the duration of the study. All data were normally distributed and assessed using a one-way ANOVA with a post hoc Tukey test. There were no statistically significant differences between locomotion score and the time spent lying, active and standing of zero-grazed lactating Jersey dairy cattle housed on straw yards. Lame cows (LS-3) had significantly shorter lying bouts than sound cows (LS-1) (34 min vs. 42 min, respectively). There has been limited research to date measuring the lying behaviour of cattle on straw and into the Jersey breed. The cows had longer than expected standing times and an increased frequency of lying bouts. This may have been attributed to the stocking density in which the cows were kept. We also reported a prevalence of lameness within the herd of 38%.