Guernseys for Feet and Legs?

I attended a training course today at one of the Agricultural Colleges which has a 300 cow Holstein herd, to learn about Lameness Scoring which some of the Supermarkets have now made a condition of supply. The scoring system has been developed by DEFRA/ADAS and Bristol University and uses the scores:

0  Normal Locomotion, long fluid strides with a flat back.

1  Could benefit from Routine Foot Trimming,

2  Uneven weight bearing, with an arch to the back.

3  Unable to walk at a brisk pace.


The definitions were, I felt, reasonable; the additional costs of treatment had been calculated and added up to several thousand pounds over the course of the year.

What surprised me was that the “average” was stated as 55 cases per 100 cows with scores of 2 or 3, which seemed much higher than I would expect to see in Guernsey herds.

We were then taken to the Dairy Unit and asked to score a group of 30 cows; I scored more than half of them as 2 or 3, but when scores were compared my numbers were at the low end.

This unit is well equipped with permanent foot baths and regular foot health routines, but obviously is not keeping up with the problem.

At present the Milk buyers are requesting twice yearly scoring but it is recommended that the routine should be done more regularly and the scores entered into a program such as NMR’s Herd Companion.

I think that UK Guernsey herd owners should start to do this as I believe that it will prove the breed to have better than average foot health, but without the data then it is not possible to prove the point.

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