Analysis of Dairy Cow Behavior during Milking Associated with Lameness

Schönberger, Diana; Berthel, Roxanne Magali; Savary, Pascal; Bodmer, Michèle (2023). Analysis of Dairy Cow Behavior during Milking Associated with Lameness. Dairy, 4(4), pp. 554-570. MDPI 10.3390/dairy4040038

Analysis_of_Dairy_Cow_Behavior_during_Milking_Associated_with_Lameness_m._Bodmer.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution (CC-BY).

Download (1MB) | Preview

The detection of lame cows is a challenging and time-consuming issue for dairy farmers.
Many farmers use the milking time to monitor the condition of their animals. Because lame cows often show increased stepping when standing to relieve pressure on aching claws, we investigated whether lame cows showed increased activity in the milking parlor. On 20 Swiss dairy farms, 647 cows were scored on lameness with a five-point locomotion score and categorized as clinical lame and non-lame cows in order to see if there are differences in behavior between these two groups (non-lame = scores 1 and 2; lame = scores 3, 4, and 5). During one evening milking, the behavior of the cows was analyzed. A three-dimensional accelerometer, attached to the milking cluster, detected the hind leg activity indirectly via the movements of the milking unit. Additionally, head movements, as well as weight shifting and the number of steps with the front legs, were analyzed from video recordings. Owing to a high percentage of false positive hind leg activities in some milkings measured by the sensor, only 60% of the collected data were evaluated for behavior (356 cows/milkings on 17 farms).
Twenty-seven percent of the investigated cows were classified as lame. The lameness prevalence was increasing with increasing parity. Lame cows showed a higher hind leg activity during milking as well as a higher frequency of front steps and weight shifting events during their stay in the milking parlor than non-lame cows. No relation between the status of lameness and the number of head movements could be seen. Observation of increased stepping and weight shifting of individual animals during milking by the farmer could be used as an additional indicator to detect lame cows, but further investigations are required.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine (DKV)
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine (DKV) > Clinic for Ruminants

UniBE Contributor:

Bodmer, Michèle


600 Technology > 630 Agriculture
500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Nathalie Viviane Zollinger

Date Deposited:

21 Dec 2023 11:03

Last Modified:

21 Dec 2023 11:03

Publisher DOI:





Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback