Trimming your calf’s hooves is an important part of animal care. It can also impact your success in the long run. Proper care for your calf and its hooves will ensure that your calf stays healthy and sound during its show season.


Why is hoof trimming so important?

As your calf grows, its hooves grow with it. Unlike commercial cattle, show cattle aren’t given much opportunity to wear their hooves down. This means that the hooves can grow long and become uncomfortable for your calf.

Hoof trimming can prevent this. Hoof trimming is an important component of owning show cattle and can greatly impact show ring success. 

Check out the blog “Down on the Farm” to see each step of a hoof trim.


Who can trim your calf’s hooves?

There are many ways you can get in touch with a hoof trimmer. You can ask others for a referral. Your Ag teacher, county extension agent, or an experienced show family may have a hoof trimmer they suggest. Your breeder may also have a recommendation. It’s important to remember that most hoof trimmers prefer to work on a group of cattle rather than just one head. It may be beneficial to coordinate with other individuals at your school, in your 4-H group, or other show families.

Your vet is also a source for hoof-trimming advice. Many vets can complete this task for you if they have a roll-over hydraulic chute. Our vet keeps extensive records on each of our show animals, and we prefer him to do the hoof trimming as well. We find it handy to keep all the health records in one place. This makes it convenient when it comes time to get health papers since he is very familiar with each animal.

Ultimately, when selecting a hoof trimmer you should be sure it is an individual you can trust.


When should you get your calf’s hooves trimmed?

How often and when you get your calf’s hooves trimmed will vary greatly depending on the calf and how much maintenance it requires. Most hoof trimmers will recommend you get your calf’s hooves trimmed two to three times during your show season. If you notice that your calf’s hooves are getting longer, it may be a good idea to reach out to your hoof trimmer. You can discuss if a hoof trimming is necessary.

When planning on when to trim your calf’s hooves, you should consider your show schedule. Hoof trimming can sometimes make a calf’s feet tender and susceptible to bruising from large stones or other debris. Since some calves may have more tender feet than others, you should always try to trim your calf’s feet at least two weeks before a show. This will prevent any bruising that could lead to limping on show day.

You should also take special consideration when planning hoof trimming for bred heifers. Many hoof trimmers will advise against trimming hooves on a recently bred or heavy bred heifer. By communicating with your hoof trimmer, you can make the best choice for your animal and determine if hoof trimming is advisable.


What problems do hoof trimming solve?

While hoof trimming is used to maintain the health of your calf’s feet, it can also be used to prevent and solve certain problems. If your calf toes in or toes out, a hoof trimmer can trim the hooves in a way that may lessen the problem. Also, because a hoof trimmer has the unique ability to see all angles of your calf’s hooves, he or she may be able to identify problems you may not have noticed.

If you have concerns about your calf’s feet or its structure, it may be wise to ask your hoof trimmer for advice. While hoof trimming can’t solve all your problems, it can lessen the effects of some. It can also help you gain insight on how to fix others.


Trimming your calf’s hooves is a large part of caring for show cattle and will ultimately impact how you do in the show ring. As you plan for your upcoming show season, remember to find the hoof trimmer that best works for you and the schedule that will work best for your calf. Your calf will be sounder, and you will be more successful on show day because of it.


Want more tips to keep your show cattle in optimal condition? Check out all our posts at Silver Barn Cattle.


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