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Research article2005Peer reviewed

Walking comfort of dairy cows in different flooring systems expressed by foot prints and preference

Bergsten C, Telezhenko E


Locomotion pattern and preference for different floorings were tested in an experimental and in a commercial dairy herd. A new method where the animals' footprints were tracked, measured and analyzed showed that healthy cows walked more efficiently on rubber mats than on concrete floors. The gait pattern was worst on a relatively worn concrete slatted floor while natural sand and rubber mats gave the best figures. Slatted concrete resulted in the greatest impairment of gait of slightly lame cows but there was only a very small, non-significant, difference between lame and non-lame cows on sand and rubber flooring. When solid floors of different material and friction were tested after three weeks accommodation all the solid floors had a better locomotion result than the slatted concrete flooring. The use of a rubber surface on concrete (whether solid or slatted) had a positive effect on stride and step length increasing both significantly compared to a simple concrete surface. In addition steps were also less asymmetrical. Dairy cows preferred to stand and to walk on rubber flooring compared to concrete flooring. A slightly higher preference for extra soft rubber compared to soft rubber when standing and for solid rubber compared to slatted rubber flooring when walking was observed


locomotion; track way measurements; flooring system; rubber mats; slatted floor

Published in

Cattle Practice
2005, Volume: 13, pages: 121-126