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Studies of the gait of Friesian heifer cattle
  1. GB Scott
  1. Buildings Department, West of Scotland College, Auchincruive, Ayr.


Records were obtained of the vertical ground reaction forces on the hooves of Friesian maiden heifers during locomotion. Pedobarograms of the hoof pressures at the time of maximum force were also collected. The force-time curves for the forefeet possessed a single peak, with a maximum about half way through the step, while for the hindfeet the curves were generally bimodal with the first peak occurring about one quarter of the way through the step and the second (slightly smaller) peak occurring about three quarters of the way through the step. The forefeet carried maximum loads equivalent to about 60 per cent of bodyweight, while the hind legs carried loads equivalent to 50 per cent. There were generally no significant differences between the contact areas and pressures applied by the front and back feet. However, the contact area increased more quickly than might be expected according to scale, although hoof pressure appeared to be almost independent of bodyweight. The contact area may be changed if the heel of the hoof is compressible under load or if the usually non-supportive sole of the hoof is involved in ground contact.

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