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Prevent lameness at housing

Preventing lameness in first place is the most important means by which lameness in your herd may be reduced according to lameness experts Ger Cusack, Comeragh Vets and Ned Dunphy, FRS, Dungarvan. George Ramsbottom, Teagasc Dairy Specialist discusses this here

As we approach the housing and drying off period action needs to be taken now to help reduce the incidences of lameness on your farm over the winter period and spring months.

A good footbath programme will help to control the spread of digital dermatitis (Mortellaro disease).

  • Increase the frequency of herd foot bathing to three consecutive times/week over the coming period as this infectious disease is more prevalent in indoor conditions.
  • Ensure you apply the correct ratio of solution to water as recommended by supplier.
  • Talk to you hoof trimmer or vet about completing a routine herd check - this can be done in batches as you dry off. 
  • Reduce standing times for animals by having adequate number of correctly size cubicles [ratio 1:1] with good cow comfort like mats or other bedding.
  • Allow sufficient space at feed barriers (7 cows /span).
  • Introduce first calving heifers to herd well before calving to reduce bulling and stress.
  • Appropriate body condition is especially important to maintain the fat pad in the heel of hoof this increases protection against bruising and solar ulcers. Thin cows are at a greater risk of lameness.

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The Teagasc Dairy Specialists issue an article on a topic of interest to dairy farmers every Monday here on Teagasc Daily.

Find more on Teagasc Dairy here.