The Wrangler ticks all the boxes for health and safety, cow comfort and staff efficiency, says Owl Farm manager Tom Buckley.
Buckley, who has managed the 450-cow farm at St Peter’s School in Cambridge for 18 months, has had a Race Wrangler on farm since June 2016 and says it has changed the way staff view the “unattractive” job of treating lame cows.
“The Wrangler doesn’t claim to cure lameness but it makes treating lame cows far easier,” he said.
“Last season, the farm had 76 lame cows out of the herd of 440, and this year that number has reduced to 52 – and ten of those were maintenance trims.
“Having the Wrangler on farm has given us the opportunity to deal with these animals quickly and safely.”
Before they purchased a Wrangler, Owl Farm staff used the common but inefficient method of putting the cow in a head bail and tying her foot to the race to treat her hoof.
As farmers know, this method can cause cows to feel unsteady and distressed, and injury to the cow as a result is not uncommon.
“With the Wrangler, treating a lame cow is no longer a dangerous job,” Buckley said. “Cows are calm going in, and the belly straps really help them feel steady and comfortable while the job is being done. It’s just safer for everyone - cows and staff.”
Buckley said after having a Wrangler at his disposal at Owl Farm, and one at his previous job, he would never be without a Wrangler in the future.
“There should be no question about making the comparably small investment in something that speeds the job up while getting the job done easier, and earlier… you’re not waiting until there is a mob of ten cows to do, and the first cow has been lame for four weeks already,” he said.
“As soon as you see a cow limping you can give her a trim up or block and she’s back in the herd as quickly as possible – and that’s the aim.”