Monday, September 6, 2010

Pedicure for Cows

Have you ever heard of a bovine podiatrist? On our farm, we call this specialist a hoof trimmer. Yesterday was hoof trimming day. Ben, our hoof trimmer, comes to the farm once a month to trim and care for the hooves of our dairy cows. Hoof problems lead to lameness which can cause suffering,decrease milk production,and may lead to culling from the herd. Ben arrived with his portable tilt table and all the right tools as we began the morning milking. As cows left the milk barn, we moved those that needed hoof care into a special corral joining the hoof trimming area. From the corral, the cow is walked to the tilt table with the hydraulic layover chute allowing the cow to be place in a horizontal postion. This special table allows Ben to work on each hoof individually without causing stress and injury to the cow. Ben works as a skilled artist to shape the hoof to provide the optimal weight bearing surface. As I watched Ben working skillfully and diligently with his hoof trimming tools, I felt very grateful for all the professionals that assist us in providing care for our dairy cows. Happy Labor Day to all of you who labor for the love of agriculture!

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