Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Effect of overlaying rubber on fully slatted concrete floors on hoof health and lying postures in finishing dairy-origin bulls offered two contrasting diets

  • D. E. Lowe (a1), A. W. Gordon (a2) and F. O. Lively (a1)

Abstract

Fully slatted concrete floors are labour-efficient, cost-effective and thus common in beef cattle housing. However, the welfare of cattle accommodated on them has been questioned. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of floor and diet on hoof health and lying behaviours of housed dairy-origin bulls, from a mean age of 8 months to slaughter at 15.5 months old. Forty-eight bulls, which had a mean initial live weight of 212 (SD = 23.7) kg, were allocated to one of four treatments, which consisted of two floors and two diets arranged in a 2 × 2 factorial design. The floors evaluated were a fully slatted concrete floor and a fully slatted concrete floor overlaid with rubber, while the diets offered were either a high concentrate diet or a grass-silage-based diet supplemented with concentrates. The mean total duration of the study was 216 days. Floor had no significant effect on claw measurements measured on day 62 or 139. However, bulls accommodated on slats overlaid with rubber had a tendency to have a higher front toe length measured pre-slaughter than those accommodated on concrete slats (P = 0.063). Floor had no significant effect on the net growth of toes or heels during the duration of the study. The number of bruises (P < 0.01) and the bruising score (P < 0.05) were significantly higher on day 62 in bulls accommodated on fully slatted concrete floors than on concrete slats overlaid with rubber, but there was no significant effect of floor on these parameters on day 139 or at the measurement taken pre-slaughter. There was a tendency for bulls accommodated on concrete slats to have a higher probability of having sole bruising at the end of the experiment than those accommodated on slats overlaid with rubber (P = 0.052). Diet had no significant effect on toe length or heel height, number of bruises, or overall bruising score at any time point of the study. There was little evidence in the current study to suggest that bulls lying on fully slatted concrete floors could not express lying postures similar to those on concrete slats overlaid with rubber.

Copyright

Corresponding author

References

Hide All
Absmanner, E, Rouha-Mulleder, C, Scharl, T, Leisch, F and Troxler, J 2009. Effects of different housing systems on the behaviour of beef bulls-An on-farm assessment on Austrian farms. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 118, 1219.
Ahrens, F, Platz, S, Link, C, Mahling, M, Meyer, HHD and Erhard, MH 2011. Changes in hoof health and animal hygience in a dairy herd after covering concrete slatted floor with slatted rubber mats: a case study. Journal of Dairy Science 94, 23412350.
Bergsten, C and Frank, B 1996a. Sole haemorrhages in tied primiparous cows as an indicator of periparturient laminitis: effects of diet, flooring and season. Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica 37, 383394.
Bergsten, C and Frank, B 1996b. Sole haemorrhages in tied heifers in early gestation as an indicator of laminitis: effects of diet and flooring. Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica 37, 375381.
Brscic, M, Ricci, R, Prevedello, P, Lonardi, C, De Nardi, R, Contiero, B, Gottardo, F and Cozzi, G 2015. Synthetic rubber surface as an alternative to concrete to improve welfare and performance of finishing beef cattle reared on fully slatted flooring. Animal 9, 13861392.
Cook, NB, Nordlund, KV and Oetzel, GR 2004. Environmental influences on claw horn lesions associated with laminitis and subacute ruminal acidosis in dairy cows. Journal of Dairy Science 87, E36E46.
Earley, B, McDonnell, B and O’Riordan, EG 2015. Effect of floor type on the performance, physiological and behavioural responses of finishing beef steers. Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica 57, 111.
Earley, B, McNamara, JD, Jerrams, SJ and O’Riordan, EG 2017. Effect of concrete slats, three mat types and out-wintering pads on performance and welfare of finishing beef steers. Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica 59, 114.
Flower, FC and Weary, DM 2006. Effect of hoof pathologies on subjective assessments of dairy cow gait. Journal of Dairy Science 89, 139146.
Graunke, KL, Telezhenko, E, Hessle, A, Bergsten, C and Loberg, JM 2011. Does rubber flooring improve welfare and production in growing bulls in fully slatted floor pens? Animal Welfare 20, 173183.
Haley, DB, de Passille, AM and Rushen, J 2001. Assessing cow comfort: effects of two floor types and two tie stall designs on the behaviour of lactating dairy cows. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 71, 105117.
Haley, DB, Rushen, J and de Passille, AM 2000. Behavioural indicators of cow comfort: activity and resting behaviour of dairy cows in two types of housing. Canadian Journal of Animal Science 80, 257263.
Holzhauer, M, Bartels, CJM, Dopfer, D and van Schaik, G 2008. Clinical course of digital dermatitis lesions in an endemically infected herd without preventive herd strategies. Veterinary Journal 177, 222230.
Huxley, JN 2013. Impact of lameness and claw lesions in cows on health and production. Livestock Science 156, 6470.
Keane, MP, McGee, M, O’Riordan, EG, Kelly, AK and Earley, B 2015. Effect of floor type on hoof lesions, dirt scores, immune response and production of beef bulls. Livestock Science 180, 220225.
Keane, MP, McGee, M, O’Riordan, EG, Kelly, AK and Earley, B 2017. Effect of space allowance and floor type on performance, welfare and physiological measurements of finishing beef heifers. Animal 11, 22852294.
Keane, MP, McGee, M, O’Riordan, EG, Kelly, AK and Earley, B 2018. Performance and welfare of steers housed on concrete slatted floors at fixed and dynamic (allometric based) space allowances. Journal of Animal Science 96, 880889.
Knott, L, Tarlton, JF, Craft, H and Webster, AJF 2007. Effects of housing, parturition and diet change on the biochemistry and biomechanics of the support structures of the hoof of dairy heifers. The Veterinary Journal 174, 277287.
Livestock and Meat Commission for Northern Ireland 2014. The product standard and rules of the Northern Ireland beef and lamb quality assurance scheme. FQAS Product Standard and Rules. Retrieved on 4 September 2017 from https://www.lmcni.com.
Lowe, DE, Lively, FO and Gordon, AW 2018. The effect of floor type and diet on the performance and locomotion scores of housed finishing dairy-origin bulls. Advances in Animal Biosciences 9, 125.
Lowe, DE, Lively, FO and Gordon, AW 2019. The effect of diet and covering fully slatted concrete floors with rubber strips on the intake, performance and cleanliness of dairy-origin bulls. Animal 13, 20922100.
Lowe, DE, Steen, RWJ and Beattie, VE 2001. Preferences of housed finishing beef cattle for different floor types. Animal Welfare 10, 395404.
Manson, FJ and Leaver, JD 1988. The influence of concentrate amount on locomotion and clinical lameness in dairy-cattle. Animal Production 47, 185190.
Manson, FJ and Leaver, JD 1989. The effect of concentrate – silage ratio and of hoof trimming on lameness in dairy-cattle. Animal Production 49, 1522.
Murphy, VS, Lowe, DE, Lively, FO and Gordon, AW 2018. The impact of floor type on lameness and hoof health of dairy origin bulls. Animal 12, 23822390.
Newcomer, BW and Chamorro, MF 2016. Distribution of lameness lesions in beef cattle: a retrospective analysis of 745 cases. Canadian Veterinary Journal-Revue Veterinaire Canadienne 57, 401406.
Payne, RW, Harding, SA, Murray, DA, Soutar, DM, Baird, DB, Glaser, AI, Channing, IC, Welham, SJ, Gilmour, AR, Thompson, R and Webster, R 2015. The guide to GenStat Release 12, part 2: statistics. VSN International, Hemel Hempstead, UK.
Platz, S, Ahrens, F, Bahrs, E, Nueske, S and Erhard, MH 2007. Association between floor type and behaviour, skin lesions, and claw dimensions in group-housed fattening bulls. Preventive Veterinary Medicine 80, 209221.
Randall, LV, Green, MJ and Huxley, JN 2018. Use of statistical modelling to investigate the pathogenesis of claw horn disruption lesions in dairy cattle. The Veterinary Journal 238, 4148.
Relic, R, Hristov, S, Joksimovic-Todorovic, M, Davidovoc, V and Bojkovski, J 2012. Behaviour of cattle as an indicator of their health and welfare. Retrieved on 28 August 2018 from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/259194837_Behavior_of_cattle_as_an_Indicator_of_their_health_and_welfare
Schulze Westerath, H, Gygax, L, Mayer, C and Wechsler, B 2007. Leg lesions and cleanliness of finishing bulls kept in housing systems with different lying area surfaces. Veterinary Journal 174, 7785.
Solano, L, Barkema, HW, Pajor, EA, Mason, S, LeBlanc, SJ, Nash, CGR, Haley, DB, Pellerin, D, Rushen, J, de Passille, AM, Vasseur, E and Orsel, K 2016. Associations between lying behavior and lameness in Canadian Holstein-Friesian cows housed in freestall barns. Journal of Dairy Science 99, 20862101.
Telezhenko, E, Bergsten, C, Magnusson, M and Nilsson, C 2009. Effect of different flooring systems on claw conformation of dairy cows. Journal of Dairy Science 92, 26252633.
Telezhenko, E, Bergsten, C, Magnusson, M, Ventorp, M and Nilsson, C 2008. Effect of different flooring systems on weight and pressure distribution on claws of dairy cows. Journal of Dairy Science 91, 18741884.
Thomsen, PT, Hansen, I, Martin, HL and Kudah, AB 2017. Sole haemorrhages in Danish bull calves: prevalence and risk factors. Veterinary Journal 224, 4445.
Webster, AJF 2001. Effects of housing and two forage diets on the development of claw horn lesions in dairy cows at first calving and in first lactation. The Veterinary Journal 162, 5665.
Wechsler, B 2011. Floor quality and space allowance in intensive beef production: a review. Animal Welfare 20, 497503.

Keywords

Effect of overlaying rubber on fully slatted concrete floors on hoof health and lying postures in finishing dairy-origin bulls offered two contrasting diets

  • D. E. Lowe (a1), A. W. Gordon (a2) and F. O. Lively (a1)

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed