Skip to main content
SLU:s publikationsdatabas (SLUpub)

Forskningsartikel2021Vetenskapligt granskadÖppen tillgång

The effects of social environment on standing behavior and the development of claw horn lesions

Eriksson, Hanna K.; von Keyserlingk, Marina A. G.; Weary, Daniel M.


The primary aim of this prospective experimental study was to evaluate how the social environment after calving influenced standing behavior in primiparous cows. At calving, primiparous cows were mixed with familiar peers in a low-stocked pen (<= 33% stocking density; n = 22) or mixed with unknown older cows at 100% stocking density (n = 20). All study cows were mixed with older cows 3 wk after calving. Time spent standing and perching (standing with only the front feet in the stall) were measured d 1 to 3 after calving using 5-min scan sampling. To evaluate if the low-stocked treatment constituted a low-stress social environment, agonistic interactions at the feed barrier were measured for 90 min following feed delivery for a subsample of cows in both treatments (12 cows/treatment). The daily behavioral time budget, including the 90 min following milking, was examined for this subset of cows. A secondary aim was to assess if the social environment after calving was related to the risk of developing claw horn lesions later in lactation. Sole and white line lesions were recorded at wk 6 and 12 after calving, and cows were categorized as either having or not having at least 1 hemorrhage of severity >= 3 (scale 1 to 5) for each lesion type and assessment. Prolonged standing after regrouping was not observed, and we found no differences in standing time and time spent perching between treatments. Agonistic behaviors directed toward the focal cows occurred less frequently in the low-stocked pen compared with the control. The number and severity of sole and white line lesions increased after calving. At wk 6 postpartum there was a numeric (but riot statistically significant) difference between treatments in the proportion of primiparous cows that had white line hemorrhages of severity score >= 3 (low-stress social environment: 20% vs. control: 50%). In conclusion, under the conditions of this study the social environment did riot influence standing behavior, but did affect agonistic interactions and may have influenced the risk of claw horn lesions in the weeks following calving. Further studies should evaluate the relationship between the social environment and claw health.


animal welfare; periparturient management; social competition; hoof pathology

Publicerad i

Journal of Dairy Science
2021, Volym: 104, nummer: 2, sidor: 2195-2211

    UKÄ forskningsämne


    Publikationens identifierare


    Permanent länk till denna sida (URI)