Lameness in Off-Paddock Facilities
2 min read
Standing on hard surfaces or constantly wet conditions can cause lameness in cows. When kept in off-paddock facilities, cows' hooves can wear and soften, increasing the risk of injury and infection. If your cows spend extra time on concrete, you should monitor them regularly for signs of lameness, overgrown hooves, or hock lesions.
Cows in off paddock facilities can get lame by standing on hard surfaces and having their hoof in constant contact with wet effluent.
Standing on concrete increases the wear and tear on cows’ hooves. Wet effluent softens the hooves so they are less able to withstand concrete. If your cows have dirty lower legs, they might not be lying down for long enough, increasing the risk for lameness.
If your herd is going into a free stall barn or will spend more time on concrete stand-off pads:
Cows can also adapt 'too well' and get overgrown hooves:
Cows can become lame by tripping and falling in an off-paddock facility, especially if the floors are slippery and cows are showing signs of heat. At certain times, the effluent left by the scraper can be sticky and more slippery, usually when temperatures are high and the diet is high in dry matter.
If mattresses become abrasive or the curb does not have adequate cushioning, cows can develop hock lesions. Hock lesions can lead to infections of the joint and lameness.
If cows are on concrete during winter only, they may have to go through an adaptation phase each year so winter lameness checks are essential. This can be difficult to do as cows usually stay inside, but any access to grazing is an excellent time to monitor the herd. Cows showing the first signs of lameness such as short steps or arched backs should be recorded and have their feet picked up and checked.