Proper hoof care management during dry period is crucial so that the cow can recover and replenish body condition.
Why is balanced hoof so important:
A few days before calving, cows are usually first moved to a close up pen for monitoring and then moved to a freshening pen once calving starts. These changes will cause the animals to stand more often, putting more stress on its feet.
After calving, cows are moved again and introduced to a new pen. Here, they must establish social order and adjust to a different ration and undergo more hormone changes as lactation starts and hard work begins.
While all these adds stress to the cow, most can get through this rough time without incident or major negative impact so as long as proper hoof care is applied during this time.
Proactively prevent lameness during dry period:
With all these changes occurring in the cow's feet, it is important for us to consider how can we use the dry period to prevent severe lameness or injury.
Dry period should be a time for the cow to relax and recover in a place which offers comfortable and dry stalls.
There are several factors to address when considering stall comfort like bedding, neck rail height and so on.
Clean and dry conditions is a priority as moisture breeds bacteria.
Air quality is also important for the cows as low quality air will cause the cow to breathe heavily, thus less likely to lie down and relax.
Starting out with the right hoof
One of the most important ways to prevent lameness from occurring during dry period is a well balanced, functional hoof trim.
When done right, a proper trim will relieve any bruised areas of the hoofs, providing an inspection to ensure there are not any underlying problems and allowing ample time to repair serious issues that might be present during dry period.
Sometimes, it takes more than one time through the chute for the cow to be ready to start a new lactation.
Even as light hoof problem will cause the cows to be less productive during lactation and increase the chances of the cow being on the cull list.
Take advantage of the dry period for cows to recover and prepare to put their best "hoof" forward.
In conclusion, dry cow hoof care has the potential to set a cow up for a successful, productive lactation.