Influence of the Housing System and the Season on Some Parameters Indicative of the Welfare of Dairy Cows in Eastern Algeria

Imene DJAALAB, Hadria MANSOUR-DJAALAB, Foulla RIACHI, Abdel Fattah BEGHRICHE, Samia HAFFAF, Samia HAFFAF, Assia ALLAOUI, Loutfi GHORIBI

Abstract


The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effect of housing systems (free vs. tie-stall) and season (winter vs. spring) on the welfare of dairy cows through indices of cleanliness, leg health (straightness, hocks and knees), lameness score, body condition and milk production. This is to test the hypothesis that dairy cows in spring and free-stalls have a better quality of well-being than those kept in tie stalls in winter. For that, 299 dairy cows of the Holstein and Montbeliard breeds were selected from dairy farms in 6 communes of the Constantine governorate in eastern Algeria. The results showed that tie-stalled farms in winter were characterized by a lack of hygiene (P <0.001), with a stall cleanliness score of 7.62 and a frequency of 32.60% of dirty to very dirty cows. In the spring, the incidence of severe lameness does not exceed 9% in farms with tie stalls and more than 41% in mild lameness in housing with free stalls (P <0.001). Cows in tie stalls show a deviation of legs of 17° to 24° (57.97%). On the other hand, more than half of cows in free stalls show integumentary lesions (alopecia and swelling) of the carpal (60.25%) and tarsal joints (54.22%) (P <0.001). The percentage of fairly lean cows (score 2-2.5), housed in tie stalls, was significantly higher (18 to 44%) with a significantly low milk production (P <0.001). These results reflect a lack of comfort in tie-stall farms during winter which has an impact on dairy performance.

Keywords


Welfare; dairy cows; housing type; season; Algeria.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15835/buasvmcn-asb:2020.0020




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