Investigation of Dairy Cattle Ease of Movement on New Methyl Methacrylate Resin Aggregate Floorings
The objective of this dissertation was to determine the impact of four new methyl methacrylate (MMA) resin aggregate flooring types (1-4) compared to rubber and concrete controls, on dairy cow ease of movement when walking on straight and right angled corridors. Cattle ease of movement was measured using kinematics, accelerometers and visual observation of gait and associated behaviours. Stride length, swing time, stance time and hoof height for each passage were obtained from kinematic evaluation. Acceleration and asymmetry of variance were measured for each passage with accelerometers. Locomotion score and behaviours associated with lameness, such as arch back, head bob, tracking up, step asymmetry and reluctance to bear weight were visually observed. Stride length, swing time, stance time and the number of steps taken were the only variables affected by flooring type. Stride length was longer (better) on rubber when compared to concrete and MMA 1 and 2. On MMA 3 and 4, it did not differ from either rubber or concrete. Swing time was shorter (worse) on MMA 1 than on rubber, but did not differ from any other flooring. Stance time was longer (worse) on MMA 2 when compared to rubber and MMA 3, but it did not differ from any other treatment. The number of steps was higher on MMA 4 compared to rubber, but did not differ from any other treatment. Of all the MMA floors tested, MMA 3 was the only one that was consistently as good as rubber, the positive control, at promoting ease of movement.