Conventional feeding places as a risk for hoof health and feeding readiness
At conventional feeding places, cows stand directly in the walking alley when feeding. Cows are feeding and eliminating feces and urine in the same space at the same time. This is not an ideal situation, especially in walking alleys with scraper manure removal: During feeding, the walking alley becomes extremely dirty and the cows stand with their hooves in slurry. You do not have to be a rocket scientist to understand that this is bad for hoof health.
If the scraper removes manure from the walking alley while the cows are still feeding, two other disadvantages arise: The rear claws, in particular, are additionally soiled by the slurry being scraped off. Moreover, the scraper disrupts feed intake.
Yet another danger for the hooves: Hard barn flooring, usually consisting of very abrasive concrete, can lead to one‐sided wear of the hooves. Incorrect loads and inflammation often ensue when hooves are worn down unevenly, potentially leading to animal lameness if not treated adequately.
For example, an additional stress factor for animals in conventional feed stalls is aggressive behavior and displacement at the feeding place. In feed stalls without dividers, lower‐ranking animals are often displaced by higher‐ranking ones, despite sufficient space being available. The result: Lower‐ranking animals fail to reach their full performance level. Further, free spaces for feed intake are not used optimally as an insufficient number of animals eat at the same time. The full potential is not utilized!