CZAAWE Resource Article

Effect of switch trimming on udder and teat hygiene of dairy cows
Publication Type 
Journal Article
Year of publication 
Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
The study objective was to determine the effects of trimming the switch of dairy cows on teat-end bacterial counts and udder hygiene scores. Cows (n = 102) were blocked by days in milk, milk production, and parity and then assigned to (a) treatment (trimming of their tail switch using a commercially available trimmer), or (b) control (unaltered tails). Udder hygiene was recorded for cows on Days 0 (initiation of treatment), 32, and 64. A subset of cows (n = 21) was used to assess Streptococci and coliform bacterial populations on teat ends. Samples were collected by swabbing the left front teat end before milking on Days 0, 32, and 64 and were cultured within 24 hr of sampling. The GLIMMIX and PROC Frequency (SAS Version 9.3) were used to analyze data. There were no treatment effects of switch trimming on hygiene scores or bacterial counts. These findings suggest that udder hygiene may not be driven by tail status. Environmental and management factors, such as cleanliness, stall bedding, and stall design, may be more important contributing factors in maintaining udder health.