Description of animal welfare and feeding management parameters on dairy cattle farms

  1. Trillo Dono, Yolanda
Dirixida por:
  1. Mónica Barrio López Director
  2. Luis Angel Quintela Arias Co-director
  3. Noelia Silva-del-Río Co-director

Universidade de defensa: Universidade de Santiago de Compostela

Fecha de defensa: 21 de outubro de 2016

  1. Estrella I. Agüera Presidente/a
  2. Pedro J. García Herradón Secretario
  3. Joaquim Orlando Lima Cerqueira Vogal
  1. Departamento de Patoloxía Animal

Tipo: Tese


The objective of this thesis is to describe animal-based, facility design and management practices measures of cow comfort. Observations were made once in 73 Galician farms while specific parameters of the feeding management practices were collected from one year software records in 26 California dairies. In Galician farms, animal-based indicators had a prevalence [median (range)] of 52% (13-90%) for inadequate BCS to the stage of lactation, 40% (7-100%) for hock injuries, 9% (0-60%) for clinical lameness, and 73% (38-100%) for dirtiness of cows’ coat. Those results may be a reflection of the variation in facilities design and management practices, which critical points were located at stocking density of the stalls and headlocks, the small front lunge space of the stalls, poor natural ventilation, and poor design of the milking area. In California farms, loading accuracy and precision was adequate on 5 farms; however, it was poor on 4 farms. Rolled corn and almond hulls were loaded with good precision and accuracy, whereas alfalfa hay, corn silage and canola were not. On eleven farms at least 50% of the ingredients had a deviation allowed by the tolerance level above 2%. Across dairies recipe load preparation time ranged from 9 min 18 s to 27 min 0 s. Four dairies were relatively consistent on their recipe preparation time (IQR < 3 min) whereas 3 dairies were not (IQR > 6 min). On 8 dairies time elapsed between ingredient loads was under 30 s at least 15% of the time, suggesting that the feeder may have improperly loaded the leftovers from these ingredients as the next ingredient. A wide range of variation was described in all management practices parameters. Most of the farms did not perform consistently well or poorly across parameters suggesting opportunities to improve by benefiting from benchmarking.