To improve hoof health in your herd it is important to focus on cow comfort. In many existing stables, cow comfort can be significantly improved by:
- adequately dimensioned bed stalls
- many crosswalks
- non-slip and comfortable floor
- short distance between eating area, drinking vessels and rest areas
- good routes to and from milking,
- possibility of sectioning:
- highly pregnant heifers
- several areas for dry cows
- good calving facilities
- section for newly calved heifers and cows
- sick boxes with sand or deep bedding
- simple logistics with less moving
- one bed stall per cow with a good mattress or sand; one feeding place per cow
In many existing barns, cow comfort can be significantly improved by:
- adaptations of bed stalls with a minimum of behavior-limiting equipment
- replacement of mattresses with thicker and softer mattresses or conversion to sandboxes with a minimum of obstacles to the cow's natural behavior
- inspecting the floors for milling or rubber coating in appropriate places
- good floor hygiene with the help of a suitable scraper solution.
Studies have shown that lame cows benefit more from walking and standing on rubber pads than healthy cows. It noticeably protects the cows, reduces lameness, and promotes the settlement of cow traffic.
In addition to better hoof health, you can also expect improvements in production. It is important to review the entire production system to ensure optimal prioritization of focus areas.
Source: SEGES, Denmark