Research and Teaching of Dairy Cattle Well Being: Finding Synergy Between Ethology and Epidemiology

Epidemiology is a tool used to identify and quantify risk factors that contribute to the state of health or disease. In addition, the maintenance of health and recognition of nonhuman animal welfare are both key principles of health management. Animal welfare and ethology provide important contributions to our ability to understand and improve health. As […]

Cow preference and usage of free stalls compared with an open pack area

Free-stall housing systems are designed to provide a comfortable and hygienic lying area, but some aspects of stall design may restrict usage by cows. The aim of this study was to compare free-stall housing with a comparable lying area (open pack) without stall partitions. We predicted that cows would spend more time lying down and […]

Measures of weight distribution of dairy cows to detect lameness and the presence of hoof lesions

There is increasing interest in automated methods of detecting lame cows. Hoof lesion data and measures of weight distribution from 61 lactating cows were examined in this study. Lame cows were identified with different numerical rating scores (NRS) used as thresholds (NRS >3 and NRS ≥3.5) for lameness. The ratio of weight applied to a […]

Eye white may indicate emotional state on a frustration-contentedness axis in dairy cows

Research on welfare indicators has focused primarily on indicators of poor welfare, but there is also a need for indicators that can cover the range from good to poor welfare. The aim of this experiment was to compare behaviour elements in dairy cows shown in response to a frustrating situation as well as elements shown […]

The impact of genetic selection for increased milk yield on the welfare of dairy cows

Milk yield per cow has more than doubled in the previous 40 years and many cows now produce more than 20,000 kg of milk per lactation. The increase in production should be viewed with concern because: i) the increase in milk yield has been accompanied by declining fertility, increasing leg and metabolic problems and declining […]

Genomic dairy cattle breeding: risks and opportunities for cow welfare

The aim of this paper is to discuss the potential consequences of modern dairy cattle breeding for the welfare of dairy cows. The paper focuses on so-called genomic selection, which deploys thousands of genetic markers to estimate breeding values. The discussion should help to structure the thoughts of breeders and other stakeholders on how to […]

Training methods for introducing cows to a pasture-based automatic milking system

Training cows to use an automatic milking system (AMS) is an important process as this method of milking depends on cows voluntarily using the AMS. This study examined two levels of training before calving on the behaviour of cows and heifers in an extensive pasture-based AMS. Animals received either no training (NIL), training which included […]

The effect of management system on mortality and other welfare indicators in Pennsylvania dairy herds

The objective of this study was to identify farm characteristics that were associated with cow (Bos taurus) welfare outcomes, including mortality rate, culling by 60 days of lactation, survival to ≥ 6 years of age and ≥ 5th parity (aged cows), somatic cell score, milk yield, and milk composition. Data were collected on housing systems, […]

Avoidance-related behavioural variables and their relationship to milk yield in pasture-based dairy cows

The behavioural responses of Jersey, Friesland and crossbred cows to humans were determined by recording their avoidance distance scores (AD), exit speed (ES), pen score (PS), pen behaviour score (PBS), platform score (PLS), and the occurrence of kicking (KCK) and stepping (SPG) during milking in four different seasons (hot-wet, hot-dry, cool-dry and post rainy seasons). […]

Effects of two stall flooring systems on the behaviour of tied dairy cows.

Effects on dairy cow behaviour of a new type of flooring in tie-stalls, with the ability to drain faeces and urine, was studied in a controlled randomised trial in one Swedish university herd. Forty-two Swedish Red and White cows were kept tied in traditional long-stalls (2.20m). In 21 stalls (one stall row), the rearmost 0.74m […]