Hoof Trimming Reduces Lameness

US - I heard there’s a program on the Discovery Channel called “Dirty Jobs,” and on one episode the profession highlighted was hoof trimmer.
calendar icon 5 March 2008
clock icon 1 minute read

It might be a dirty job, but hoof trimming is very important on the dairy farm. It needs to be done right twice a year, by a well trained, professional hoof trimmer.

In addition to hoof trimming, other management practices need to be done on the dairy farm to help reduce lameness. Our study in Minnesota freestall herds showed that about 25 percent of cows were lame at any one time. That’s too high. A reasonable target is to have 15 percent or less lameness in our herds. Lameness may be related to nutrition, the cow’s environment, trimming or genetics.

In the study, lameness was measured by “locomotion” scoring, with a scale from 1 to 5. A score of 3 is considered a lame cow needing treatment, although not as obvious as a 4 or 5. Visit the University of Minnesota Dairy Extension website at www.extension.umn.edu/Dairy for more information on locomotion scoring and reducing lameness.

There’s a lot going on at every dairy, and unfortunately, hoof health and maintenance might not seem to be a priority. However, lameness is a costly condition and one that causes a lot of pain to the cows. I think it’s the major welfare concern in our dairies today, but we can do something about it.

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