[Claw size of Scottish Highland Cows after pasture and housing periods]

K Nuss, E Kolp, U Braun, E Weidmann, M Hässig
Schweizer Archiv Für Tierheilkunde 2014, 156 (9): 433-40
The claws of pastured Scottish Highland Cattle are large and this may raise the question if regular claw trimming is necessary. Therefore, the claws of the right thoracic and pelvic limbs were measured in 22 Scottish Highland cows 4 times 8 weeks apart. The cows were kept on various alpine pastures before the first measurement, on a two-hectare low-land pasture before the second measurement, in a welfare-compliant straw-bedded free stall before the third measurement and on alpine pasture before the fourth measurement. Housing conditions significantly affected claw dimensions. The claws were composed of dry, hard horn during pasture periods, and had prominent weight-bearing hoof-wall borders and soles with a natural axial slope. Long dorsal walls and heels and a greater symmetry were common. Claw lesions were absent. In contrast, free-stall housing was associated with shorter toes and steeper toe angles, but white line deterioration, heel horn erosion, wearing of the axial slope and hoof wall edges were common.


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