Healthy Feet Programme
The AHDB Dairy Healthy Feet Programme (DHFP) aims to help dairy farmers reduce the number of lame cows on their farms by identifying and applying the right management techniques.
Lame cows cost time and money, and are a problem not only because of potential welfare issues, but also because, like any ongoing problem, they can affect staff morale.
Lameness is a term which covers many conditions: some are caused by infection, and some by physical and management factors. An understanding of which types of lameness are present, coupled with a structured approach to tackle the underlying causes is required to tackle lameness effectively.
The AHDB Dairy Healthy Feet Programme is a structured approach which will help dairy farmers make important progress towards diagnosing the problems, devising an action plan, and develop the skills necessary for long-term lameness control. Trained providers (vets or foot trimmers who have attended a specialist course) facilitate the whole process and act as one-to-one advisers, or 'mobility mentors'.
The approach is based around the 'four success factors'
- Low infection pressure
- Good horn quality and hoof shape
- Low forces on the feet – good cow comfort and cow flow
- Early detection and prompt, effective treatment of lame cows
The delivery of the one to one service is between the mentor and the producer, whilst resources and information is provided by AHDB Dairy to aid with understanding and actions. To find a mentor in the local area see the mobility mentor map.
The programme builds on the widely respected work of the Healthy Feet project, supported by the Tubney Charitable Trust and carried out at Bristol University Vet School. It has been developed in consultation with vets in practice and foot trimmers, as well as local and international lameness experts.