Items you will need
Plastic or paper cup
Try to determine the cause of the crack, especially if several cows have cracked hooves. These are often a sign of a dietary deficiency, or can be caused by other problems such as illness.
Healthy hooves are important for having healthy cattle. Cracked hooves are fairly common, but can be a health concern depending on the size and cause of the crack. In addition, cracks can indicate problems in a cow's diet, genetic makeup or overall health. Large cracks should be treated quickly to prevent complications, such as disease or lameness of the cow in advanced stages. Repairing a hoof is not particularly difficult and can significantly improve the health of your cow if done correctly.
Examine the hoof. If the tissue around the crack is red, full of pus, crusty, swollen, seems painful, oozes thick or colored liquid or smells strongly like cheese, take the cow to a vet, as these are all signs of infection. While a cow is often able to heal on its own, a serious infection can lead to lameness.
Dry the hoof thoroughly; a drying agent may be helpful for this step. (see Reference 3)
Remove any foreign matter from the crack. A number of tools are suitable for this: hoof knifes, rasps or tools for sanding or small rotary tools. The most suitable tool for the job is one that is easy for you to use but does not cause pain or further damage to the cow. Ensure that the crack is clean and smooth.
Mix the hoof acrylic in a plastic or paper cup according to the instructions on the package.
Fill the crack with hoof acrylic using a craft stick or similar small, disposable tool.
Wait for the acrylic to dry. Drying times will vary depending on the brand and the outside temperature and humidity.
Sand the repair with a rasp.
- Oregon Feed and Grain Association Inc.: Hoof Cracks; Mike Mehren, Ph.D.
- University of Florida IFAS Extension: Hoof Wall Cracks in Cattle; Jan K. Shearer
- AABP Fact Sheet: Vertical Wall Cracks
- Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs: Healthy Hooves Help Dairy Cows' Milk Production
- Barn World Farm and Ranch Superstore: HOOF-it Acrylic Hoof Repair 2 Pack
- Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images