Association of floor type with health, well-being, and performance parameters of beef cattle fed in indoor confinement facilities during the finishing phase

  • Reneé D. Dewell Center for Food Security and Public Health, College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011
  • Grant A. Dewell Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011
  • Russ M. Euken Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Ames, IA 50011-2031
  • Larry J. Sadler Department of Animal Science, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706
  • Chong Wang Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011
  • Brent A. Carmichael Summit Agricultural Group, 10640 County Highway D20, Alden, IA 50006
Keywords: bovine, welfare, performance, health, housing, slatted floors, concrete floors, rubber mat

Abstract

The use of slatted concrete floors (SCF) in indoor confinement housing facilities for finishing beef cattle has increased among US cattle feeders, particularly in the Midwest. The objective of this study was to investigate potential health and performance differences associated with slatted concrete flooring not covered with rubber mats (SCF) and slatted concrete flooring covered with rubber mats (RM) in confined beef operations during the finishing phase of production. An observational cohort study design was conducted by enrolling 4258 calves among 35 pens to compare selected health and performance parameters between beef calves fed in indoor confinement housing using either SCF or RM management. Compared to cattle in the RM group, SCF cattle tended to have higher morbidity (20.5% vs 7.6%; P=0.0701). Cattle in the SCF group had an increased frequency of lameness diagnosis (3.1% vs 1.2%; P=0.0358), increased locomotion score at the end of the feeding period (P=0.0050), and higher mortality (2.1% vs 0.7%; OR=2.1346, P=0.0448). There was no difference between RM and SCF in average daily gain (P=0.2174), mean feed intake (P=0.1986) or mean feed:gain ratio (P=0.6139) when compared to cattle fed indoors on concrete slats without rubber mats. This study demonstrated potential increased health and welfare benefits, but not performance benefits, when rubber mats were utilized.

Published
2018-02-01
How to Cite
Dewell, R. D., Dewell, G. A., Euken, R. M., Sadler, L. J., Wang, C., & Carmichael, B. A. (2018). Association of floor type with health, well-being, and performance parameters of beef cattle fed in indoor confinement facilities during the finishing phase. The Bovine Practitioner, 52(1), 16-25. https://doi.org/10.21423/bovine-vol52no1p16-25
Section
Articles

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