Management Advice on Reproduction

Slip protection

The normal heat behaviour of cows changes significantly in barns with slippery floors. Numerous studies show that the frequency and intensity of showing heat both increase in barns with soft flooring.

The studies compared heat behaviour on concrete slatted floors with behaviour on rubber floors. In the case of rubber floors, cows have a much better foothold which means they do not feel uncertain when walking on rubber. The studies also reveal that the cows jump more frequently and slip less in that connection.
Finding the problem
It is relatively easy to determine the scale of the problem by observing heat behaviour in a herd. You can also note how slippery the floor is by walking on it yourself.

By avoiding slippery surfaces, you gain good anti-slip conditions. However, you also need to avoid surfaces that are too abrasive. A rough surface causes excess hoof wear and can lead to leg and knee injuries when cows go down.
A good floor:
  • is slip resistant
  • is clean
  • has low ammonia evaporation
  • is economically profitable

Action plan
Correct grooving provides a good anti-slip surface. If the floor has a thin veneer of manure residue (with or without slates), more work will be required in terms of regular hosing with water or  scattering sand. Another option is to add rubber in alleyways. A rubber floor is also beneficial where cows stand for long periods as rubber provides better relief to legs and hooves.
A rubber floor is relatively expensive. Therefore, it is important to weigh the pros and cons along with  the cost price of the various options.

Focus areas
  • The floor surface should be slatted or rubber.
  • Ensure floors stay clean by hosing off manure residues
  • Ensure adequate drainage so floor is dry

Source: SEGES, Denmark

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