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Why Hoofcare is Important for Cows and Cattle in Ireland

Caring for cows and cattle in Ireland means looking after their hooves and maintaining them to prevent infection and injury, safeguarding your herd and keeping them in excellent health.

Cattle hooves are complex and it is important to understand their anatomy in order to care for them correctly. The hoof wall is known as the Wall Horn, which is the equivalent of a human fingernail and and since cows walk on the tips of their toes, the hoof wall bears the majority of their weight. Cattle may experience lameness as a result of injury, Mortellaro (digital dermatitis) or laminitis, but the majority of lameness is due to poor hoof care or to bacteria commonly found on farms.

Hoof trimming is vital to keep your cows healthy, and most need their hooves trimmed at least twice a year. A cow has two digits, or claws, on each foot and these require the most attention when hoof trimming. Cattle have a larger lateral claw in the back feet and a larger medial claw in the front feet and problems can arise if these are not trimmed or are trimmed incorrectly. The space between the two claws, the interdigital clef, also needs protecting, as well as the interdigital skin.

Hoof trimming helps to prevent lesions in the hooves by maintaining an upright foot angle and distributing the weight of the animal more evenly. Hoof trimming may involve bringing an expert in to carry out this task for your herd, but it is also possible to maintain and care for your cattle’s hooves yourself, an option which is becoming much more popular with the development of hoof trimming crates that take the stress out of the process.

Cattle are susceptible to hoof rot, which is often caused by frozen or dried mud or gravel, especially in wet areas. The weather in Ireland is often problematic for healthy hooves! Cattle pens should be well-drained to prevent problems like this, and cows should be treated at the first sign of any problem. Signs includes inflamed, red and moist skin, grey build up between the digits, separation of the different areas of the hoof and lifting of the skin between digits. Foot rot responds well to antibiotics and treatment is long lasting.

Of course, maintaining your herd all year round involves reducing the impact of wet and cold weather conditions on your animals and ensuring their health with a complete nutritious diet that includes supplements if needed. Keeping your animals clean and inspecting their hooves routinely will help you to identify problems early on, and having a regular hoof trimming regime will help to prevent problems and protect your cattle.

Regular hoof maintenance is easy with a crate system that enables you to quickly and easily care for your herd. Lameness will be costly, both in terms of milk yields and in time taken to care for your cows. Protecting your animals means identifying and treating lameness early on, and you should look out for a reduction in eating and drinking, an increased desire to rest and lower milk yields, which may manifest weeks before lameness is visible.

Looking after your cattle can be an arduous task, but it can become much easier with a Hoof Trimming Crate that makes hoof trimming manageable by a single operator. The Inspect4 Mobile Hoof Trimming Crate is a hydraulic hoof paring rollover crate that is designed to take the physical strain out of paring and offers a quick, mobile set up that is comfortable for the animal and the operator. A crate such as this can transform the way you care for your animals, allowing for much more regular hoof inspection and early intervention when problems are identified.

The Inspect4 Fixed Hoof Trimming Crate is an excellent option for all hoof maintenance and treatment, as well as castrating, dosing and teat sealing. These crates are designed by farmers and are much loved by farmers, hoof trimmers and veterinarians, taking the stress out of caring for your herd. Investing in a Hoofcare direct crate puts you in control of the health of your animals, and we will be happy to discuss the most suitable options for your set up.

Talk to us at HoofCare Direct to find out more about stress free hoof care and we will help you to find the products and tools you need to take the hassle out of the process today. We will be delighted to show you the positive feedback our hoof crates receive, and you can see a demonstration that will transform your approach to hoof care forever!

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