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Effects of lameness on the behaviour of cows during the summer
  1. SA Hassall,
  2. WR Ward and
  3. RD Murray


The welfare implications of lameness in dairy cattle are considerable, and in addition to causing great pain and discomfort to the animals it is detrimental to productivity. This study investigated the differences in behaviour of lame and normal cows during the summer. Their rank of entry and behaviour in the milking parlour were examined. Lame cows entered the parlour later than normal cows (P < 0.01), and were significantly more restless on their feet while being milked (P < 0.01). When cows were at pasture the lame cows lay down for longer (P < 0.01) and grazed for shorter periods than the normal cows (P < 0.01). All cows ruminated for longer periods when lying down than when standing, but the difference was significant only for the lame cows (P < 0.01). In addition, lame cows had significantly lower bite rates than normal cows (P < 0.01). The behavioural differences between lame and normal cows indicated that lameness had serious effects on the welfare and productivity of lame cows.

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