Lameness in dairy cattle: A debilitating disease or a disease of debilitated cattle? A cross-sectional study of lameness prevalence and thickness of the digital cushion

Lameness is the most significant challenge for the dairy industry to overcome, given its obvious disruption of animal welfare and severe economic losses. Sole ulcers and white line abscesses are ubiquitous chronic diseases with the highest associated economic losses among all foot lesions. Their underlying causes are still not fully understood. An observational cross-sectional study […]

Short communication: Repeatability of measures of rectal temperature in dairy cows

Although taking body temperature by rectal thermometer is the method most commonly used to identify sick cows in the postpartum period, no data on the repeatability of this measure are available. The overall objective of this study was to evaluate variability of rectal temperatures in dairy cows considering different factors (intra- and interinvestigator repeatability, different […]

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 […]

Associations between lesion-specific lameness and the milk yield of 1,635 dairy cows from seven herds in the Xth region of Chile and implications for management of lame dairy cows worldwide

Lameness is one of the greatest infringements of welfare in dairy cows. The objective of this study was to investigate associations between milk yield and foot lesions causing lameness in Chilean dairy cattle with the hypothesis that if we can demonstrate that lameness reduces yield, and so income, from lame dairy cows then we have […]

Eliminative behaviour of dairy cows at pasture

Despite a strong avoidance of grazing near dung patches, cattle have traditionally been considered not to avoid bodily contact with faeces, regardless of any risk of disease. Little is understood of the behaviour of pasture-kept dairy cows at the time of defaecation and therefore, the eliminative behaviour of 40 Holstein-Friesian cows was observed at pasture […]

Impact of acute clinical mastitis on cow behaviour

Acute mastitis is one of the most common diseases of high-producing dairy cows. However, there is still lack of knowledge on which precise behaviours change first at the beginning of acute mastitis, and whether behavioural changes might serve as a tool for early detection of clinical mastitis. In addition, mastitis can cause motivational conflict in […]

The use of conjoint analysis to determine the importance of factors that affect on-farm welfare of the dairy cow

A large range of variables can affect the welfare of the dairy cow, making it difficult to assess the overall ‘level of welfare’ of the individual animal. Two groups of individuals completed a questionnaire based upon the ‘five freedoms’: 26 respondents had expertise either in the field of dairy cow welfare or as practicing veterinary […]

Relationships between building design, management system and dairy cow welfare

As part of a larger on-farm dairy cow welfare and behaviour project, data were collected from 22 commercial dairy farms over two winters (2000-2001 and 2001-2002). A further winter of farm sampling will complete the project (2002-2003), with five types of housing and production systems being assessed: high-, medium- and low-milk-production herds with cubicle housing, […]

The effects of early separation on the dairy cow and calf

Most dairy producers believe that early separation of the cow and calf is necessary for reproductive efficiency, to minimise health problems and to improve the ease of milking. In addition, many consider that it is less distressing for both animals if separation occurs earlier rather than later. In this paper we review the welfare and […]

Attempts to integrate different parameters into an overall picture of animal welfare using investigations in dairy loose houses as an example

The aim of this study was to illustrate the integration of different parameters into an overall assessment of animal welfare on the basis of studies with dairy cows. Behavioural observations were carried out on 36 farms with cubicle houses. Summed variables of resting behaviour were constructed by summing the results for three to nine behaviours. […]