PhD thesis
Einfluss der Mensch-Tier-Beziehung auf die Eutergesundheit von Milchkühen

Publication Details
Ivemeyer, S.
Universitätsbibliothek Kassel
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Impacts of human-animal-relationship and several management factors on udder health were investigated in Swiss dairy herds living in loose housing systems. All 46 farms joined the Swiss dairy farm network "pro-Q". Human-animal-relationship was assessed by a questionnaire concerning milkers' attitudes and by observing milkers' behavior and cows' behavior during milking and cows' avoidance distances in the barn. Thirty-five management factors were assessed by questionnaires and by observations, respectively. Udder health was evaluated using five indicating factors: (1) average somatic cell scores (SCS) per herd, (2) new-infection rates per herd, both calculated from milk recording data over a period of one year before assessment. (3) Percentage of elevated somatic cell counts (>100,000 cells /ml), (4) percentage of mastitis quarters (>100,000 cells /ml and culturally positive) and (5) percentage of quarters with bacteriological findings of Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus), all calculated from quarter-milk-samples of lactating cows at the time of human-animal-relationship assessments. After univariable preselection of associated factors multivariable linear regression models were calculated on herd level and a multi-level-regression model was calculated on herd- and cow level to investigate influences on cows' behavior and on udder health. Lower cows' avoidance distances were associated with (1) positive milkers' attitude concerning importance of contact with their animals, (2) the fact, that all milkers knew all cows individually, (3) breeding selection on affability, (4) amply dimensions of cows' lying places and (5) longer contact towards the animals during routine work. Among all human-animal-relationship-factors the most dominant predictor for SCS, percentage of elevated quarters and percentage of mastitis quarters was the percentage of positive interactions in relation to all interactions during milking. Furthermore a higher amount of shy cows in the herd (with an avoidance distance above 1 m) led to a higher percentage of elevated quarters but also to a lower percentage of quarters with findings of S. aureus. In herds with a higher new infection rate, cows' kicking during milking occurred more frequently (when the milker came close to the cow or worked with the cow). Longer contact time towards the animals during routine work was associated with a lower percentage of quarters with findings of S. aureus. Concerning management as well as farm- and herd characteristics, the following mastitis risk factors were found: (1) breed, especially Holstein regarding SCS, new infection rate and percentage of mastitis quarters, (2) high age in terms of lactation number regarding SCS and percentage of mastitis quarters, (3) high amount of new infections of a cow over one year regarding SCS, (4) air-adsorption during application of teat-cups regarding new infection rate, (5) lack of separation of diseased cows regarding new infection rate, (6) amply dimensions of lying places regarding percentage of mastitis quarters, Einfluss der Mensch-Tier-Beziehung auf die Eutergesundheit von Milchkühen 4(7) active familiarization of heifers to milking parlor ante partum regarding percentage of quarters with S. aureus and (8) use of the same udder cleaning material for more than one cow regarding percentage of quarters with S. aureus. Thus, human-animal-relationship was shown to be relevant for udder health, especially for cows' reactions to infections expressed as somatic cell count levels. Risk of infections itself seems to be mainly influenced by management factors. Hence, human-animal-relationship should be considered in extension concerning preventive mastitis control.

Eutergesundheit, Mensch-Tier-Beziehung, Milchkühe


Last updated on 2019-14-08 at 09:52