On our large dairy we milk 2200 cows and to make sure we give our ladies the best of pretty much everything we also have their feet trimmed! In the following weeks I will describe what generally happens on any given day of the week here at our farm. And what better day to start with is a Monday!
Every Monday our hoof trimmer Billy comes and he will trim our cow’s feet. He will do anywhere from 80 -100 cows a day. And If I say a day, that means 80 cows in 8 hours…
Billy comes from a different part of Indiana and he brings his own chute (this is a device where you put the cows in to get trimmed). This chute is pretty nifty because it will pick the cow up to "working level" (so our dear Billy doesn’t get to many problems with is back) and has “leg holders” to put the particular leg of the cow in so Billy can work on it. This holder will also bring the foot closer to Billy so he can have a good look at them. He will make an assessment and then he will trim and or treat.
Because our cows walk on concrete most of the time it is very important to take a good look at them regularly. We do have rubber mats in our parlor for the cows (we have a parallel parlor, this means our cows stand in the parlor side by side and get milked from behind) so every time they have to make a 90 degree turn, it doesn’t have such a bad impact on their feet or legs).
Sometimes Billy has an assistant who helps him get the cows into the chute and make sure that the cows aren’t getting too stressed out because it’s a “new” thing. It isn’t really new to them but our cows like consistency, and if you only have a pedicure once every half year, it might throw them off a bit. If you have two guys, you yourself don’t stress as much, and the ladies will stay calmer and feel more comfortable as well. If Billy finds a cow who has an problem or an "auwie" he’ll make sure it will go away and he will put a nice little wrap (bandage) on her feet so the medicine stays in place and the dirt (manure) and liquid (water and pee) stays out.
We give our cows their pedicures about halfway true their lactation, and right before they go to the other farm (where they will be running outside, stand in the mud and play in the sun while being 7 months pregnant). During the week we will check and make sure none of the ladies needs a special treatment besides from their regular treatment, if they do we just write them on a chalk board and she will see Billy the following Monday.
Besides the trimming which Billy does, we also have a foot bath every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. The ladies will walk true a foot bath which is prepared for them by our guys. We put copper sulfate and a special organic booster in this bath. This copper sulfate and organic booster will kill off the bacteria and will clean and dry out the hoofs.
Yep, those girls are pretty lucky… Their feet get way more attention than mine!
If you have any questions or would like to see or hear some other things that happen here at our farm, please write me a comment and i will try to work it in!