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The Importance of Prioritising Hoof Care This Summer

The summer can be a tricky time for your cow as warmer weather makes infection and hoof damage more likely. The heat can cause stress to your cattle and this can lead to lameness and reduced milk production, so getting hoof care right in the summer can save your animals from discomfort and pain as well as saving you money.

Good hoof care is a financial issue as well as a welfare priority, and this is not surprising as lameness can decrease milk production, reduce fertility and compromise the immune system. Hoof problems are most likely to occur as autumn approaches and the weather begins to get wet. The damage that leads to many common hoof problems, however, occurs during the summer months and this means that hooves are already damaged or have picked up infections that develop once the weather turns.

Manage Your Herd for Healthy Hooves In Summer

Taking some time to think about improving your cows care practices during the summer months can save you a lot of stress – and money – when the winter comes. Some of these practices are really simple, and others may take some consideration, but an investment in the health of your animals will pay off several times over.

Our top summer hoof care management tips include:

1. Mobility Scoring. Learning to identify hoof problems at an early stage can make a big difference to your outcomes and ensuring that your team have the expertise to do this will save you money and protect your herd. A rollover crate can transform the way you carry out maintenance checks, enabling the task to be managed single-handedly and reducing stress for the animal and the operator.

2. Consider nutrition and feeding. Your cow feed schedule should be managed carefully to ensure optimum health in your herd and hoof health is closely related to dietary considerations. Cows on a grass-based diet may need an additional source of fibre.

3. Infrastructure. Good roadways are key. Make sure cows have a good surface to walk on and minimise standing time at gates/road crossings etc. Standing and grazing in damp conditions can be harmful to hoof health, leading to hoof rot and infections, and this is more likely to happen in very wet or muddy pastures where animals spend a long time standing. Adapting your setup to ensure that the ground is well drained and that cows can spend most of their time lying down is the best way to improve the outdoor environment for your animals and can help to protect their hooves all year round.

Benefits of Summer Hoof Care

Getting your hoof care strategy right over the summer means you are more likely to have healthy animals during the wetter seasons. The risk of lameness is reduced, and therefore the chances of successful breeding and increased milk yields are higher. In Ireland, cows tend to spend more time grazing outside and many farmers are aware of the benefits of having well maintained, roadways.

Well maintained hooves are also better for sustainable land management practices, causing less damage to grazing pastures and reducing soil compaction as well as preventing infectious diseases from spreading and protecting the ecosystem in your local area. The benefits of good hoof care practices are numerous and will improve quality of life for your cows as well as streamlining your working setup.

Make hoof maintenance easy with HoofCare Direct

The best way to prevent hoof health issues is with a regular hoof care routine that quickly identifies and treats problems. Here at HoofCare Direct, we have an excellent range of products to help you take care of your herd and we will always be happy to show you how much difference the Inspect4 Mobile Hoof Trimming Crate and the Inspect4 Fixed Hoof Trimming Crate can make to your practice. Contact us today to find out more!

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