9 Oct 2020

Feet First

From Country Life, 9:40 pm on 9 October 2020

Draining abscesses on cows hoofs may be a mucky job but Johan Buys loves it.

"When I get rid of that I can get rid of the pain," he says.

Johan is known as 'The Hoofman' and spends his days tending cows' hoofs, curing lameness.

He says it's hugely satisfying watching a cow that limped in for treatment, leave for the paddock pain-free.

A cow's diet can make her susceptible to lameness, some cows have a genetic predisposition to bad feet and Johan says cows are not designed to walk on concrete.

He says farmers who know their animals well don't need to see a limping cow to know she is in pain.

"Once the cow starts to wobble - mate you're too late. You've missed the bus. You can still help that cow but I feel, for a good stockman, you should've picked that up 48 hours prior to the problem."

Lameness is primarily an animal health issue but can impact on milk production and on a cow's ability to get in-calf.