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Hoof Trimming Basics

This complementary guide to hoof trimming basics will tell you more about how to effectively use a cow hoof trimmer from Trim-Tec. Our high-quality cattle hoof trimming discs and cattle hoof trimmer kits can help you keep your cattle healthier and happier, and this guide can give you the basics on how to get it done. Read through our guide then place an order in our online store for the cattle hoof trimmer gear you need today. 

Hoof Trimming Basics

In order to avoid abnormal wear and therefore the possibility of lameness in cows, functional claw trimming is necessary regardless of the housing conditions, whether in straw yards, in wet conditions or housed on concrete surfaces. With the growth rate at the heel being greater than it is at the toe, overtime the situation can create an unstable foot as the shape screenshot-5.pngof the sole changes.

It is important to note, that while correctly trimmed claws, done at least once a year, have been shown to extend the longevity of a herd by up to a year, milk production will be hampered for up to two days; a result of upsetting the cow’s feeding routine. It is also important that trimming should not be done near milking areas and handlers should never perform the trimming of claws. The work should always be done by professionals in order to protect the claw health of the herd itself. The following are just the basic techniques of cow trimming but further information should be researched and followed when addressing specific issues.

Preventative Claw Trimming

Step 1

The front, or dorsal surface, of a hind claw, should measure approximately 7.5 centimeters (or 3 inches) in length from the coronary band to the apex of the claw.  With hoof pincers, the technique calls for the wall of the medial claw to be cut straight at the tip of the toe leaving a square end. The thickness of the toe is to be left 5-7 mm. The sole of the toe should not give under pressure. If so, the sole is too thin. Hoof trimming tools such as the hoof knife should always be held with the hand behind.

Step 2

Then cut the outside claw to match . The sole should be trimmed flat from front to back and should be .25 inch thick at the toe. Avoid removing the horn from the heel of the inside hind claw. When trimming front feet, start with outer claw first.

Step 3

Shape the the slope of the sole with the innermost back portion sloping towards the center of the claws. Be careful to avoid excessive cupping as it reduces the weight-bearing surface area.

Step 4

Now begin any therapeutic trimming in regards to lesions. Lesions are generally found in the outer claw of the hind leg. In order for the inner claw to bear more weight and therefore, allowing the outer claw to rest, leave the apical region the same thickness of the inner claw. If still unable to bear weight, support the inner claw with a block or cowslip.

Step 5

Paying special attention to save as much as possible of the posterior part of the inner claw, remove the loose horn and trim down all hard ridges. Do not dig into the claw to remove the loose horn and avoid bleeding.

Claw Trimming Equipment

The hoof trimming tools needed to perform the above techniques are available from Trim-tec. Made of titanium our hoof trimming blades are manufactured to last without distortion or failing.

These wheel blades cause less fatigue than traditional aluminum wheels. Other tools required for proper trimming include one-bladed hoof knives, hoof pincers and claw cutters.

The Dutch Hoof Trimming Method

The Dutch 5 Step Method of claw trimming is utilized so that the weight-bearing of the claws is set as upright as possible by restoring the angle of the claws. This is so that the weight is bore over both claws equally. This method is recognized as the internationally accepted approach to effective claw trimming according to the National Animal Disease Information Service (NADIS)screenshot-6.png

Routine Trimming Steps

1. Trim toe length to approximately 7.5 cm

2. Match the lateral claw to same length

3. Make a slope in the soles.

Curative Trimming

4. For damaged claws (usually the outer) lower the claw so that the weight in now transferred to       the healthy claw. If needed, apply a block.

5. Remove loose horn and trim down hard ridges.