Soft walking areas enhance claw health - Practical Experience
Soft walking areas enhance claw health - Practical Experience

Soft walking areas in cattle houses improve claw health

Problem: overstressing

On hard stable floors mechanical-traumatic claw diseases can develop, caused by an unnaturally strong pressure load. In 80 % of the cases the hind claws are affected, indicating excessive load as the main cause.

Anatomy and Biomechanics

Only on soft ground can cattle walk naturally on their claws - cattle are animals that require soft ground to walk on:

  • with cattle their outer toe is 3 mm longer than the inner toe on the average
  • the cow steps down with the outer toe first

→ these criteria provide stability– but only on soft ground!

CRITICAL: On hard ground the outer claw alone must absorb the peak load of the entire body weight!
OPTIMAL: On soft ground the body weight is evenly distributed throughout the total surfaces of the outer and inner toes.
  • natural load conditions, excessive pressure is prevented
  • optimal blood circulation and nutrient supply, because cows are more active

→ horn quality improves
→ the horn becomes more resistant to physical, chemical and bacterial effects

difference inner and outer toes of cattle - inner toe is shorter

Length difference of inner and outer toes

Source: Muggli, E., 2007, University Zurich; images: Karl Nuss, Munich

motion sequence of a cow stepping down - inner toe comes first

Motion sequence of a cow stepping down

Source: Schmid, T. et al., 2008; images: Karl Nuss, Munich

… and that is why cows choose soft ground.

cows choose soft floor

claw sinks in on soft KRAIBURG walking alley flooring made of rubber

On soft KURA rubber mats the claws can sink in about 3 or 4 mm – which is exactly what cattle require naturally.

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