Main content area

Dairy Cows’ Welfare Assessment in a Farm from South-Eastern Romania

Furnaris, Florin, Ghimpeteanu, Oana Margarita, Predoi, Gabriel
Agriculture and Agricultural Science Procedia 2016 v.10 pp. 403-407
air, ammonia, animal welfare, dairy cows, farms, free stalls, hygiene, lighting, locomotion, milk production, Romania
This study aimed to assess the welfare level of dairy cows in a farm from the South-Eastern Romania, in a mixed house with free-stalls inner space division. The welfare level was established by using an integrative numerical assessment system – the Austrian Animal Needs Index 35L/2000. There were scored 26 objective welfare indicators within the five areas of influence: locomotion, social interactions, flooring, light and air, stockmanship. In order to assess and score some indicators, there were used modern devices (LX 1102 light meter, Drager Pac 7000 ammonia analyzer, Testo 405 V1 thermo-anemometer, SL 4012 sound meter). Moreover, for increasing the objectivity in measuring and scoring animal cleanliness within the fifth area on influence there was used Hygiene Score Card. Analyzing the results, it could be noticed that the highest scored indicators were those within the Locomotion and Social interactions areas (as expected, considering the loose-system applied in the studied farm). The lowest scored areas were Flooring and Light and air, the critical indicators being light (uneven lighting and some low intensity values: 28-30 Lx) and outdoor areas cleanliness, resulting in poor animal cleanliness. In spite of the mentioned negative aspects, the overall ANI 35L score (30.5 points) reflects a good welfare, but the score could be validated on the condition that the light in the shelter is corrected. Addressing this issue along with the cleanliness of the outdoor areas may improve the welfare level to the excellent rating and may also increase the milk production.