Automatic Hoof Trimmer

Pigs Using Automatic Hoof Trimmer

Well, actually I would call it an automatic nail trimmer instead of hoof trimmer but the idea is the same. I don’t want to be trimming 32,000 pig nails a year. It is just not a good use of my time. Some things can be automated saving labor and time.

Long, long ago on a mountain here in Vermont there was a farmer (yours truly) who had to trim his sheep feet. While trimming said hooves he through to himself, there has got to be a better way. Perhaps the sheep could be doing this job themselves.

Later the farmer got pigs. Pigs multiply a lot faster than sheep and before you could say kumquat the farmer had a lot of hooves to be a trimming.

Being the observant sort he noticed that he didn’t need to trim hooves in the warm season, just in the cold of winter. Did lower temperatures cause hooves to grow faster? Perhaps like hair? Hmm…

But no, after a bit of study the clever farmer figured out that in the winter the livestock are walking up high on the snow pack where there aren’t any rocks and during the summer months the livestock tread on the rough granite of Vermont’s mountains. In the process of rock hopping they were wearing down their hooves! The same effect can be seen on wolf claws and the studs of vehicle tires which also get longer in the winter.

So, said farmer put rocks around the winter waterers and whey troughs. Presto! The animals trimmed their own hooves year round! This saved the farmer a lot of time allowing him to get into all sorts of trouble tilting government national animal ID systems and building an on-farm butcher shop.

And the moral of this story is not to let technology free up labor too much because as we all know, idle hands are the devil’s workshop.

But, it all turned out okay in the end as the USDA backed down, twice, and then the butcher shop built up too. Meanwhile the pigs and sheep trimmed their own hooves using the handy rocks and ignored the whole political scene. Baa…

Outdoors: 71°F/59°F Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 74°F/68°F

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About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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9 Responses to Automatic Hoof Trimmer

  1. Farmerbob1 says:

    This reminds me of something I heard about elephants who were raised in captivity. In the wild, elephants lean to rub their toes back and forth against rock to wear their nails down. If they do not learn this from other elephants when they are young, they apparently have a great deal of difficulty being taught to do so by humans. Elephants that do practice the behavior are typically wild-born, and captured at a older juvenile or young adult age.

    This is why captive born elephants normally need nail care, even if they have plenty of exposed rock or concrete that they walk on.

  2. Hi thinking about getting some (2) Brookshire pigs and a large black much acres do i need? And can you tell me about the mini watermelon?

  3. Steve says:

    Great idea walter.
    Thanks for all your insight on hogs.
    I have a question for you.
    Have you ever seen any correspondence with lunar phases and breeding of sows? We just had a high producing sow have a litter of 3. She was breed on the new moon. This is her 5th litter, she had numbers between 11 (first litter) to 17 (4th litter). We also noticed that she has lost a large amount of hair while pregnant and was on new land with lots of hardwood and less pasture than before. Looking for some insight on why she only had 3. We also skipped 1 cycle so she could recover from the 14 baby’s, the 17 litter.

    • I’ve seen no correlation between lunar phase and breeding. My many years of birth records suggest no correlation.

      The hair lost is seasonal. Very common to see blow off of a coat and then the new coat for the coming winter starts in.

  4. Alli says:

    What would you recommend to use in replace of granite if you don’t have access to a supply of it like you do back there?

  5. KPatterson says:

    How far back does your rock path go? What would you advise for an effective hoof-trimming distance for a rock/gravel/stone path to someplace pigs regularly go?

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