Welfare in Danish dairy herds 3. Health management and general routines in 1983 and 1994.


This paper presents the third part of descriptive results of questionnaire surveys in 152 Danish dairy herds in 1983 and in 2148 dairy herds in 1994. Focus is on working routines related to health management and the close environment of the cows. The variables are grouped in 6 categories as man power, bedding, water supply, manure handling, health management routines, and the farmers' age and their opinion about health and welfare of the dairy cows. The results show that the husbands did the major parts of the job in the herds. Permanent laborers were mainly hired in cubicle and deep bed farms, while it was more common to hire a relief man (short term basis) in tie stall herds-i.e. in the generally smaller herds. The average time spent on milking and feeding per cow per day ranged from 5.2 min in cubicle houses and 5.4 min in deep bed houses to 9.9 min in tie stall houses. The time per cow per day seemed to have been reduced by approximately 43% during the 11 year period. Straw was the primary choice of bedding, and the use varied much among the herds. In tie stall houses with open dung channel and concrete floor the daily average use of straw was 1.74 kg per cow. Only 37.0% of the farmers used bedding for the heifers. Water supply seemed to be well installed in all houses, and dung removal was highly automated. Apart from milking and feeding times the farmers looked after the cows on average twice a day. The farmers primarily looked for cows in heat, signs of disease, calving, and abnormal lying and raising patterns. At night 87.7% of tie stall farmers and 80.8% of cubicle house farmers were likely to check the cows, particularly with respect to calving. In deep bed systems only 58.5% would check the cows at night. Contrary to this, farmers looked after pastured heifers less frequently. Farmers were generally concerned that the cows had a dry period. The average length stated was 6.6 weeks. Farmers were generally satisfied with the health and welfare of the cows. The answers also indicated that farmers differentiated between the 2 concepts, as the correlation between welfare and health was only r = 0.34 (p < 0.001).

Cite this paper

@article{Agger1996WelfareID, title={Welfare in Danish dairy herds 3. Health management and general routines in 1983 and 1994.}, author={Jens Frederik Gramstrup Agger and Lis Alban}, journal={Acta veterinaria Scandinavica}, year={1996}, volume={37 1}, pages={79-97} }