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Gewählte Publikation:

Schenkenfelder, J; Winckler, C.
(2022): To meet or not to meet welfare outcome thresholds: a case-control study in dairy cow herds
ANIMAL. 2022; 16(3), 100461 FullText FullText_BOKU

Recently published thresholds allow classifying dairy cattle herds according to target, caution and alert ranges for welfare outcomes. Such normative thresholds provide one way to transparently assess produc-tion practices and are a straightforward communication tool with farmers. In an ordinal response case-control study, we investigated associations of animal, management and resource-related indicators with the risk of exceeding thresholds of prevalence for lameness, claw disorders, integument alterations and leg cleanliness. To this end, we used cumulative logistic regression models on 264 tethered and 392 loose-housed Austrian dairy herds. In tethered herds, the risk indicator average lactation milk yield was positively associated with the probability to exceed thresholds for integument alteration prevalence but negatively regarding leg cleanliness. Associations were also found for operation type regarding integument alterations (lower risk on organic vs conventional farms), for herd size regarding lameness (negative association) and dirty upper hind leg (positive association), and for percentage of fifth or higher parity cows in the herd regarding dirty lower hind leg (positive association). Stall type was identified as risk indicator regarding claw disorders (lower risk of long vs short stands). In loose housing systems, none of the analysed risk indicators was associated with the probability to exceed thresholds for total lameness and claw disorder prevalence. Negative associations with the probability to exceed caution or alert thresholds were identified for lifetime milk yield (dirty upper hind leg), lactation milk yield (dirty upper and lower hind leg), percentage of cows in the herd with a fat-protein-ratio <1 (integument alterations), and percentage of cows in the herd with a fat-protein-ratio >1.5 (dirty upper hind leg). Pasture access showed negative (severe lameness, integument alterations) and herd size positive associations (severe lameness) with the probability to exceed thresholds. Deep litter cubicles compared to raised cubicles with rubber mats showed a lower probability to exceed thresholds (integument alterations, dirty lower hind leg) as well as solid rubber compared to concrete slatted flooring in alleyways (integument alterations). Assessments carried out during the pasture period compared to during winter housing were associated with a lower risk of exceeding thresholds for leg cleanliness measures in both, tethered and loose-housed herds, and for integument alteration prevalence in tethered herds. In conclusion, no prin-cipal risk indicator was identified which consistently determined the probability of exceeding predefined thresholds of considered welfare outcomes. Nevertheless, outcome-specific factors show sufficient impact on the categorisation of farms according to prevalence ranges.(c) 2022 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of The Animal Consortium. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (
Autor*innen der BOKU Wien:
Schenkenfelder Josef
Winckler Christoph
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Find related publications in this database (Keywords)
Cumulative logistic regression
Husbandry system
Risk indicator

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