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The influence of dietary protein intake and of hoof trimming on lameness in dairy cattle

  • F. J. Manson (a1) and J. D. Leaver (a1)
Abstract

In an experiment during weeks 3 to 26 of lactation, two groups of 12 cows were offered a mixed concentrate/grass silage diet containing 161 g crude protein per kg dry matter, and two similar groups a diet containing 198 g crude protein per kg dry matter. The concentrate: forage ratios and the daily metabolizable energy intakes were the same for all four groups. The cows in one of the two groups at each crude protein level had their hooves trimmed prior to parturition, the other group remaining untrimmed. The high protein diet significantly increased locomotion score (higher scores indicate poorer locomotion), the number and duration of clinical cases of lameness and outer toe length. Trimming of hooves reduced locomotion scores and the number and duration of clinical cases. Hoof growth was significantly increased by trimming. Mid-sole hardness was negatively correlated with locomotion score. At the two extremes, the low protein trimmed group had five cows lame for an average of 1·0 weeks, whereas the high protein untrimmed group had nine cows lame for an average of 4-2 weeks. Condition score and live-weight change were negatively correlated with locomotion score. There were no significant differences between treatments in milk solids yield.

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Animal Science
  • ISSN: 1357-7298
  • EISSN: 1748-748X
  • URL: /core/journals/animal-science
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