Trimming Hooves?

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by dezeeuwgoats, May 10, 2006.

  1. dezeeuwgoats

    dezeeuwgoats Well-Known Member

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    I do not have a milk cow - yet! I do have a steer that we recently purchased for the fall freezer and noticed that his feet look like they need to be trimmed. That got me to thinking that I'm SURE dairy cows get their feet trimmed. What does this entail? Can a heifer be trained to pick up her feet to be trimmed - like a horse? Are there people who trim cow's feet for a living?

    Niki
     
  2. Valmai

    Valmai Well-Known Member

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    It is probably quite different for cows which are housed, but over here having hooves which require trimming is a cull-able offence.
     

  3. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

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    I agree. I consider hooves that need to be trimmed to be a genetic defect and won't have them.

    Jena
     
  4. dezeeuwgoats

    dezeeuwgoats Well-Known Member

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    Wow, very interesting. Wonder where all the horses and goats would be, if that were the case for them? lol I take it your cows roam? Their feet wouldn't get worn down in a barn situation? Or don't cow's feet grow? Maybe they are only trimmed rarely? Not sure how old this steer is - but he's not very old, a year maybe. He was penned, though - and not running about on rocky terrain.

    I am really asking, becase if I get a milk cow, and I need to be able to trim her feet, I'm wondering if that means I need to get a young enough cow to train to pick up her feet, if that's possible

    niki
     
  5. kgchis

    kgchis Well-Known Member

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    I have never personally trimmed a cow hoof, but I know it is done. I will tell you what I have heard second hand.

    Cows that are kept in barns do need to have their hooves trimmed. They have chutes you put the cows in to restrain them while you trim. Hooves should be trimmed once or twice a year.

    There are even hoof trimming schools cropping up if anyone is interested in a new career.

    https://hooftrimming.securesites.com/estore/northeast.php

    Here is a video of the larger equipment

    http://www.rileybuilt.com/
     
  6. commomsense

    commomsense Beef,Its whats for dinner

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    Cows feet don't need to be trimmed. Even if the don't roam they still don't need trimmed. Our cows don't run on rocky terrain and they never have needed trimmed.
    I don't think a person could train a cow to pick up their hoofs. It would be more trouble that its worth.
     
  7. dezeeuwgoats

    dezeeuwgoats Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the input, everyone. I do appreciate it.

    niki
     
  8. dcross

    dcross Well-Known Member Supporter

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    A cow can't pick up it's feet like a horse, my family has a hoof trimmer come by once a month, but he only does a small number of the cows at a time.
     
  9. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

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    Cows feet don't need to be trimmed? Not allways the case. Most modern dairy cows are receiving food rations that produce excessive hoof growth that requires maintanence trimming to prevent lameness and other health problems. Especially so with cows in confinement facilities( On Concrete). I am not endorsing these situations, only clarifying that it is so.
    Our herd walks on sod and dirt most of the time, and hence require little trimming. Occasionally we get a cow with excessive hoof growth. A cow with a cracked hoof or thrown off balance can suffer greatly. Both to be humane and to restore her to productivity, we will trim that cow's feet.
    As to culling a cow because she needs her hooves trimmed, that may simplify the matter, but I don't believe it is the best economic decision. Spending $14 to trim a cow's hooves once a year to insure her health and profitability seems financially wiser than spending $1800 - $450(SAlvage Value of cow being replaced)= $1350 true cost of replacement. Then the replacement may have some health issue which can be equally or more expensive to fix.
    In my experience "training" a cow to lift it's feet for you is probably not realistic option. Cows are basically same as 3-year old children. They think in terms of what they want, what pleases them TODAY, with little regard to much else.
    For the sake of our cows' health and productivity, we will continue to trim hooves as needed.
     
  10. kgchis

    kgchis Well-Known Member

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    Just to expand a little on the discussion, I was told that if a cow's hooves grew too long that is caused them to walk too far back on their feet. It would be like us walking on our heels. This makes their feet sore so they lay down a lot more to get off their feet. Laying down too much can actually make them produce less milk.
     
  11. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

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    The cost of trimming is not where the economic loss occurs. It occurs with introducing genetics for bad feet into your herd, medical costs for lame cows and time cost to deal with it all.

    I understand that hoof trimming is normal for confinement dairies due to the environmental conditions, but a cow on pasture should not need their hooves trimmed.

    If I trim one cow this year and keep her daughter, next year I trim two and on it goes. No thanks....cull the cow.

    Jena
     
  12. Sprout

    Sprout Well-Known Member

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    If the cow grows faster then she wears then she needs to be trimmed. There's no use throwing out a good cow if her feet grow a bit faster. Especialy since they are not in their "natural" environment. Take them out of it and some corrections are going to be needed. I have a freind whose father makes his living triming cattle hoves, mostly for dairies but he also trimms up show cattle and yearling bulls at sales. He has a truck with a pneumatic tilt table that the cows are led into and then lifted on thier sides. The cattle he does only have to be done every other year, more or less for special cases. I would get his feet trimmed he'll be more comfortable and he'll gain weight better.
     
  13. dezeeuwgoats

    dezeeuwgoats Well-Known Member

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    I do have a dairy about two miles from me - I think I'll stop in and find out who does their trimming for them. I'd like to get a jersey cow for the family cream supply. Other than that - we will have a steer around for beef. I 'think' his feet look in need of trimming, but I'm only familiar with goat and horse hooves.

    So far - I've gotten both responses! Some say you trim - others say that needing to trim is a vote for culling....Hhmmm. Anyone have a family milk cow on just a couple of acres? What do YOU do - do you have to get her trimmed? Does breed have any thing to do with this? I'm planning on getting a jersey.

    niki
     
  14. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    Oxen (steers) use to be shoed all the time.

    I have one cow with an 'elves toe' on her right rear hoof. One side grows until it curls towards the back. Makes it a bit difficult for her to walk in high grasses, etc. as they catch. When she is worked in the spring we hoist up the foot and trim off as much of the excess as we can with a limb pruner.

    She has two daughters in the herd and neither of them have it.
     
  15. farmerdan

    farmerdan Well-Known Member

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    The mega dairies in my area have a hoof trimmer that comes in a couple times a year. If you feed a lot of protein, the hooves on cows tend to grow more. It's not necessarily a genetic fault that calls for culling. My cows are on pasture and that seems to keep their hooves trimmed naturally. The hoof trimmers around here make a 6 figure yearly income.
     
  16. arabian knight

    arabian knight Miniature Horse lover Supporter

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    I have a friend that not only trims cows BUT Teaches how to do it~! And when I was working at a nice tech company one of the Night crew Quit to go and Help his WIFE do cow trimmings~!! Big money can be had in this after the expense of the squeeze shoot.
    If and when I get a pet miniature steer i sure will keep his feet trimmed.
    Also when I was at the World Dairy Expo. there were 3 people there set up to trim the cattle's feet but then again this was for show cattle in the ring..
    That was neat to see....
    But I don't trim my steers feet in the 2 years I raise them up for my freezer. Although they Did Need it~!
     
  17. SmokedCow

    SmokedCow Well-Known Member

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    What about the cows who get foot rot, and then the hoof grows long, Do you still cull? What if it was your best cow? We had one that had it bad, and she ended up having twins, and if the best cow we own, a pure angus. Some people trim (we do for our show calves) and we dont to our cows..unless they are in this situation.
    AJ
     
  18. Christiaan

    Christiaan Dutch Highlands Farm

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    I have a Highland cow on about two acres. Between the size of the pastures and the fact the ground is soft 9 months of the year means she can't wear down her hooves enough. So, when she makes her annual trip to the bull she gets her feet trimmed. If a bunch are being trimmed the same day its $10, if by herself its $25.
    Don't waste money on trimming the steer, though. Its doubtful that his feet would get bad enough before its time to slaughter.
     
  19. dezeeuwgoats

    dezeeuwgoats Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all the posts everyone! I appreciate everyone's input - I want to do a good job taking care of my cows - and I do want the steer comfortable. I don't think he recquires it at this point - but I'm definately going to go to the dairy and get a name and phone number, in case I need a trimmer someday.

    thanks;
    niki
     
  20. dcross

    dcross Well-Known Member Supporter

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    <<Oxen (steers) use to be shoed all the time.>>

    Really? I never would have guessed! Was that mainly when they were used for "road" work?