I really wanted to show our hoof trimmer Sheldon at work before he left. He's recently announced that he's selling his business to become ... a dairy farmer! (Everybody's doing it.)
Why trim hooves? It's like clipping toenails. Big toenails. If there are any problems, the hoof trimmer can also take care of them before they become a big problem.
It starts by guiding the cow into the chute.
After she's in, Sheldon shuts the gate behind her. You can see she has two supports underneath her. They cradle her and lift her slightly so that he can work with her hooves.
One by one, Sheldon takes a hoof, secures it, and trims it.
First, he uses a grinder, which takes off the very outer layer of the hoof.
This creates a FESTIVAL OF CLIPPINGS. Every time he did this, there was a sudden snowstorm of nails. My son yelled, "Confetti!" They really shot high and far. Even after I became accustomed to it, I got hit in the face.
Just like some guys' bathroom floors I saw at college parties:
Then he shapes the hoof.
If she has a problem area that's healing (like she used to have a wart) then he treats it.
He treated it with copper sulfate ...
And sent her on her merry way. Eventually after it's healed, the milkers take off her bandage.
This is an 'after' picture of a trimmed hoof. The discolored areas aren't problem areas, he told me. The hooves just wear away at different rates.
After we watched him do several cows, he said, "I don't know how technical you want to get, but I can show you what I'm doing over on this side."
On his side, he had a touchscreen computer that recorded which cow he was trimming, if it had any problems, and where the problem was. That way, every time he came to trim, he'd have a record of any past areas to give special attention.
He pressed the hoof and area (10 in the picture) where she had the wart. Since he serves many farms, he has a file for each of us.
And we even got a take home gift - a little hoof clipping that landed on Max's hat. A nice fashion choice for today's dairy farm. Everybody's doing it.
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