Monday, May 27, 2013

Matties Hooves

Well Mattie is due to have her calf any time now and she just looks so uncomfortable.
Her udders are so full, I am afraid when the calf comes they will almost touch the ground.
One thing is sure, on that day I am milking that poor girl totally out!

Mattie, of all the girls has hooves that grow the fastest. I have been wondering what to do to help her for a while now.

Normally we take the cows out to a guy in Stonewall who grinds their hooves down. Cows are not like
horses, they don't have those big strong hips, and they simply can not lift their back hooves for long periods.
So cows get put in lift  machines and their hooves are ground with a sort of sander thing.( this is a photo of the method used)

Now, as you can imagine this whole routine is traumatizing and I just could not see  having this done to Mattie in her condition, but she really needed help. She was walking funny and her "toes" were crossing over.. not good.

I originally thought I would just wait till her calf was born. The thing about that is how freaked out she would be to get in the trailer and leave her calf behind.

So... I decided to give it a try myself.
 First thing was to put her in the stanchion...

and get her to stand on a piece of ply wood.

My son helped for a while until he lost his patience with her. She just wasn't able to lift her hoof for long even with us helping her.. besides this particular son is a real hot head.
Eventually I sent him inside and worked at it myself.

I had to work from the top and she was good. Like she understood I was helping her.
I used a chisel and mallet and bit by bit "shaved" each hoof .

For the record, a cow's hoof is incredibly strong, like super hard wood....

I also cut what I could from the side and between the toes.....

All told the whole process took around 2 hours and my arms were very ,very sore.

I am pleased with the results and have decided to do their hooves from now on. I will do them a little at a time...

One girl down 2 more to go...

I never realized cows needed their hooves trimmed, until I got some....
they do.

A fun fact: when the covered wagons crossed through this country the oxen ( which is any cattle) pulling the wagons wore shoes. Since cow hooves are split the shoes were 2 pieces. When the oxen needed re shoeing along the way the people had to dig a sort of trench and push the oxen onto their side in order to do the shoeing.

Ok ,we are ready for the baby now.

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