Editor, Thank you for publishing Ladd Siebert’s observations on foot trimming.

I’m 79 years old and have been milking all of my life. In the growing season, our cows are on pasture. When trimmers with portable chutes come along we let different ones do foot trimming for us with varying results. Sometimes it would take a week and a half for some cows to get back to a normal gait.

The “last straw” was when we had eight or nine cows trimmed one time and everyone immediately developed a bad gait or limp. It took two weeks for them to recover.

After that we decided to try our luck at it. What I had observed was they were using rotary grinders and trying to make platform or flat-bottom feet on the cows. If we had a cow with long tabs, we sedated her in a box stall and studied her foot and compared it with feet on a cow that travelled well.

Every cow that traveled well had that slight slope under the foot towards the center exactly like Ladd Siebert’s illustration of him holding up the foot up and also the diagram showing the natural angle compared to the altered or flat foot.


The flat-bottom seems like good theory, but it doesn’t quite work out. Before domestication I guess the cow with the best feet lived longer and transmitted some of that to more offspring.

I felt I had to write after reading some of the criticism of Ladd Siebert. What I read was actual observation not opinion or theory.

William F. Schrage
Dairy Producer
Greenville, Illinois