All Forums
 Happy and Healthy
 Hoof Trimming
 When & How Often?

Note: You must be logged in to post.
To log in, click here.
To join Heritage Jersey Organization, click here. It’s FREE!

Format Mode:
Format: BoldItalicizedUnderlineStrikethrough Align LeftCenteredAlign Right Insert QuoteInsert List Horizontal Rule Insert EmailInsert Hyperlink Insert Image ManuallyUpload Image Embed Video

* Forum Code is ON
Smile [:)] Big Smile [:D] Cool [8D] Blush [:I]
Tongue [:P] Evil [):] Wink [;)] Clown [:o)]
Black Eye [B)] Eight Ball [8] Frown [:(] Shy [8)]
Shocked [:0] Angry [:(!] Dead [xx(] Sleepy [|)]
Kisses [:X] Approve [^] Disapprove [V] Question [?]

Check here to subscribe to this topic.

T O P I C    R E V I E W
CloversMum Posted - Mar 06 2014 : 8:35:21 PM
Since my Jersey is just 8 months, I am very new to cow care. I have wondered about hoof people trim their cow's feet? How often? How? I have some friends that told me that it wasn't necessary, but we trim our horses' and goats' feet. Advice, anyone?
8   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
maryjane Posted - May 04 2016 : 05:53:21 AM
The vet care, squeeze chute, needle-poking stuff is very hard. They are completely confused by it. It's like someone with a total fear of dentists. (I just close my eyes and go to the south of France, but cows, no.) I've had a couple of moments when it stripped my gears completely to the point I wasn't sure I could continue going through it. We tried to do a simple blood draw on Ester Lily recently and I was completely wrung out after. I swear the fear almost killed her and then the next day she didn't trust me. Hard stuff. I need to figure out a way to TELL them it'll be okay and it's a good thing. Think, Isle of Jersey, girls. Isle of Jersey.
txbikergirl Posted - May 03 2016 : 6:51:00 PM
thought i would add to this thread with what we encountered with miss sally o'mally today. we had sally trimmed up late last year, and kept watching her hooves closely the last two months as we knew she would be at about 5 months since her last trim when she calved may 9th.... this last month we kept wondering if they were getting too long, but decided we didn't want a trailer trip with either a chute or tilt table experience in her final month of gestation. the vet looked at them when out here 2-3 weeks ago and said they should be fine.

last night when we came home late, we walked her from the pasture to the barn at dark. and she was limping, her right rear hoof. we could see some type of severe hoof chunk separated, and a lot of blood. when we got her into the barn we could see blood clearly as her corral was spiffy clean with fresh straw. the right side of the hoof had a chunk out, the left side of the hoof was nipped a bit.

i really did think it was probably similar to a human having their nail tear beyond the quick - bloody, tender, icky - but nothing serious. but with the calf due in 6 days we just thought that with all the blood, what if that created a pathway for infection into her body as she stepped in and out of manure. so off to the vet we went this morning, miss sally into the trailer and out for a ride.

maryjane, i know these are good people and all but really... do you see what they do to me almost up to the minute of calving??!!

here's her right hoof, still bleeding and you can see the right side of it with the chunk out.

and bandaged up and ready to go home...

the vet evened out the right side of the hoof and did a proper trimming to keep her posture and gait correct. shorter than he wanted, but you don't want a lame cow. he then got the other left toe chunk off and trimmed that side up. he said that infection wouldn't be an issue, he cleaned it up with iodine and wrapped it up. sent us home and said to let her out as normal, we have a nice dry barn and dry pasture so she can choose to be high and dry or wade in the water - he said the wrap would wear off naturally and he was more interested in her being out in fresh pasture and getting exercise and pasture up until she calves instead of keeping her penned up and turning circles in a corral.

what i learned here is that we will be trimming hooves at 4 months and not 6. we didn't do anything wrong, but you have to mold your bovine healthcare plan to suit not just your farming beliefs but your environment and land. the hooves weren't what you would consider long, but we have the trifecta of hoof badness: dairy cow, dried off, and wet conditions. oh, and pregnant. quadfecta.

(1) most dairy cows have much faster growing hoofs than beef cows. (2) a dried off cow will have hooves grow much faster as the energy normally put into milk (calcium) will go into hooves, and she's been dry for two months now. (3) with all the rain we have had we have LOTS of wet areas around... we have plenty of high ground pasture, and their sleeping quarters are dry... but you can't control where a cow wants to stand during the day, and just like humans if you are in water for any length of time (an hour) your nails will soften and can tear more easily. (4) a pregnant cow can very much be like a pregnant human, everything starts glowing and growing and in your third trimester you have gorgeous hair and nails that have never looked better.

so our thought right now is to perform an interim trim every four months - alternating an at home trim with a professional vet trim. that way they are never left too long, and then we get a professional treatment every 8 months so they can ensure it is perfect.

i am also thinking about things that i want to do in the second trimester of each pregnacy. and i am thinking that the professional hoof trim at about month 6 would be perfect, then when the vet also sees the calf at month two we could have another professional trim then - just 5 months later. so working on the mental timing.

so everything turned out fine, but hope this helps others as to how often they might want to trim. its all so different for everyone.

finally, i really REALLY love our vet. a year prior to "the year of the cow" we changed vets for the dogs to a more local vet that was also a large animal practice. we LOVED our old country vet, but he was 45 minutes away as we went to him before we got the farm. our thought was that we needed to try out the vet first with the dogs, and that would cement our commitment to them when we got our cows. i liked the vet ok that handled the dogs, but the owner/vet that handles our cows is WONDERFUL. he has a nice way with the cows, respects how we want to handle their health and believes in what we are doing, and i think he truly gets a kick out of someone actually milking a cow. he's in late 50s (we think) and just a super nice guy. very supportive, explains everything he is doing, and discusses aspects with us where we have decisions to make - doesn't just assume we want to do it like the conventional dairy crowd.

but i have to tell you, when sally was looking up at me with those big eyes and had tears streaming down them while in the squeeze shoot i almost cried. it really ripped my heart out. i have lived all 47 years being a straight faced hard nosed face it all head on person, and these cows bring me to my knees. they are just so amazing.
Andrea0509 Posted - Mar 02 2016 : 12:15:07 PM
Thanks for the information on this Mary Jane. Good idea to weigh waiting against the possibility of injury to the legs/hooves as they gain lbs with pregnancy. I am looking for local options and hoping to find someone who will take good care of her. Thanks!
maryjane Posted - Mar 01 2016 : 7:09:21 PM
I've had the hooves of my pregnant girls trimmed mid-way through their pregnancies on a tilt table. You keep them off their feed in the morning and pay attention to the 20 minute rule that WSU adheres to--only 20 minutes on a tilt table because they can't get rid of rumen gas. At five months gestation, the fetus is the size of a large cat.

I'm in the process of trying to perfect the rope take-down that's in my book so I can do my own trims without buying expensive equipment. In addition, I have a squeeze chute so I've outfitted it with padded belly straps (front and back) that I've used before for other vet procedures but never for a hoof trim. All in good time I keep telling myself. I had a vet scheduled for tomorrow to help me with a take-down hoof trim (here at my farm) but she had to reschedule for later the following week.

I think you have to weigh waiting until after they've given birth against injuries to their hooves or ankles because they needed a trim. Keep in mind that as they continue to gain weight (due to pregnancy), their legs and hooves are under even more stress.
Andrea0509 Posted - Mar 01 2016 : 1:09:53 PM
Is it recommended to have a hoof trim done on a pregnant cow? Percy's hooves look like they could definitely use it. She's due in August, so 4-5 months along at this point. I know of a trimmer in our area but I'm unsure of how he trims, whether it be getting her to lay down with a rope, or with a tilt table, I'd have to find out. It is overall too stressful?
maryjane Posted - Mar 12 2014 : 09:29:13 AM
His name is Darron (Daaron?) Hamilton. Super nice guy. 509-952-9010, He's from Yakima, not Walla Walla. Years ago, I milled wheat with his father (we both owned flour mills at the time.)

If you don't trim hooves, they usually end up with ankle problems and "broken down" feet in general as they age. I'm shooting for healthy, healthy, healthy! I'm big on preventive vet care and hoof trimming is high on my list of measures.

I walk my cows every day and with two of my girls who were trimmed last fall, I've noticed that they stumble on occasion while I'm walking them on our dirt road, a result of their too-long hooves catching as they plod along. It's like us walking with a shoe that is too long for us. It's hard to judge how high to lift your leg each time.

I've also observed their hooves "creaking" as they walk, a result of them being so long out in front where the two sides come together, that they rub together and in general it interfers with how their foot works.
CloversMum Posted - Mar 10 2014 : 9:58:24 PM
Yes, please, to the contact info for the man who trims your cows' hooves. How young are your cows when you start trimming hooves?
maryjane Posted - Mar 07 2014 : 1:02:11 PM
I have a guy coming from Walla Walla to trim all my cows on March 24. (He comes to my farm when he comes over to do all the University's cows.) It isn't expensive. Your cows will have problems if you don't trim their hooves. I can give you his phone number if you're interested in contacting him. Without looking at Clover, I can't say for sure, but she probably doesn't need them done yet. I do mine at least twice/year, if not more.