We all know that routine checks and hoof trimming can help to prevent lameness on your dairy. We recently sat down with Dale Baker and Chip Hendrickson, our hoof care experts with a combined total of 65+ years of hoof trimming experience, to ask them some important questions on hoof trimming and timing.
How often should I be trimming my herd?
There is a significant difference between hoof-checking your herd and hoof-trimming your herd. We recommend checking every cow in your herd twice a year. If Digital Dermatitis, foot rot or heel erosion are ongoing issues, you will need to increase the frequency your hoof care routine. Trimming is only needed if there is overgrowth and should be done as needed.
Is hoof trimming necessary?
The simple answer is YES! The whole idea behind consistent hoof trimming is to keep your cows balanced as much as possible. Trimming keeps your cows balanced to bear weight on all claws evenly. When the weight is evenly distributed, your cows will be more comfortable, and comfortable cows produce more milk.
Do I need a hoof inspection or hoof trimming?
There is a difference between hoof inspections and hoof trimming. You should have your herd inspected at least 2 times each year. Trimmings are only necessary when there is overgrowth.
Does every claw need to be trimmed?
No, not necessarily. Every cow will be different. You may not trim something off every claw; only those claws that need trimming should be trimmed.
How could I find a good hoof trimmer?
You will want to find a quality hoof trimmer to ensure the hoof health on your dairy. Talk to other dairymen, area veterinarians and nutritionists and see who they recommend. Once you have some recommendations, do your research. Check their background and coursework and see if they are still currently in continuing education courses.
Footbath concentrates like HealMax and HoofMax from AgroChem are designed to obtain results and promote hoof health for reduced risk of disease and lameness. HealMax remains effective in higher temperatures and won’t flash-off like formaldehyde. HoofMax optimizes footbaths based on copper or zinc sulfate to achieve good control with less heavy metals and expense.