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4 May 2021

Hoof health in transition cows – part 2

What should be your priority during the dry period and right after calving? 

Virtually all production diseases, such as milk fever, mastitis, ketosis, and horn-related hoof disorders, can be avoided if the cows are managed well through the transition period from one lactation to the next.

Milk fever, ketosis, mastitis and horn-related hoof disorders - these are all diseases that are either directly related to the management of transition cows or that create significant risk factors that could reduce the future performance of the cow.

The importance of careful management in the period before and after calving is also reflected in the fact that mortality for older cows is up to ten times as high in the first weeks after calving compared to later in lactation.

Similarly, the mortality rate for first and second time calvers is approx. three times as high during this period.


Review the routines and get stronger and healthier hooves in your transition cows

It sounds banal to point out the importance of ensuring proper access to rest, feed and water, but if there is competition among the cows to access feed, for instance, it is the transition cow that is already fragile who will lose out.

You may, completely unwittingly, risk cutting off your dry cows and new calvers from optimal access to meet their basic needs. This may be due to some routines you are not aware of or physical conditions that may well change.

It is therefore a good idea to review all employees' routines around dry cows and new calvers to ensure that the cows get through the transition period well.


Best practices:

  • As soft a surface as possible for dry cows and new calvers
  • As gentle handling as possible from the time the cow is three weeks before calving and until three weeks after calving
  • Plenty of space for dry cows and new calvers, preferably 10 m2 per cow
  • Make the division into first time calvers and older cows instead of the division based on performance or pregnancy
  • Minimize any kind of stress during the transition period


Source: SEGES, Denmark

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