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Changes in walking parameters of milking cows after hoof trimming

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ABSTRACT

We examined the walking parameters of milking cows in relation to hoof trimming. The hooves of eight Holstein cows were trimmed. Two days before and after the hoof trimming, walking behavior, limb angles, back posture and vertical movement of the back while walking were measured. Walking rate (1.27 vs 0.87 m/s; P = 0.003), step length (1.46 vs 1.33 m; P = 0.009) and stepping rate (0.78 vs 0.65 steps/s; P = 0.046) were found to increase significantly after hoof trimming. Limb angles at the start and end of the support phase changed significantly after hoof trimming, thus indicating an improvement in the ‘on tiptoe’ appearance. The parameters relating to backline indicated that the marked arched shape of the back diminished after hoof trimming. Before hoof trimming, the positions of the withers varied widely and irregularly while walking; however, it changed after hoof trimming as the sinusoid curve and the range of vertical movement of withers decreased significantly. Overall, it has been quantitatively indicated that walking characteristics are improved after hoof trimming. The parameters used in the present study are expected to be useful for monitoring the walking characteristics of cows.
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Keywords: hoof trimming; milking cow; quantitative analysis; walking characteristics

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science, Nasushiobara-shi, Japan

Publication date: February 1, 2006

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