ALMONTE — An Eastern Ontario man was serious about getting into the hoof trimming business. So serious that when he got married he and his wife set out on their honeymoon to St. Thomas in Western Ontario so he could take a hoof trimming course.
John Kelly, of Almonte, said his new wife was very supportive of the idea. That was about 15 years ago. They now have six children — with a seventh due in May — and Kelly trims hooves full time. He spent the first seven years trimming hooves part time, slowly building up the clientele until he could turn it into a full-time gig. Now he keeps busy five days a week, visiting barns across Eastern Ontario.
Kelly averages about 12 cows in an hour, thanks to a portable machine he bought in Pennsylvania about six years ago. The Tuffy Tilt Table — crudely speaking a metal-bar cow container attached to a trailer — is designed to safely tilt a cow into a horizontal position. Kelly then ties down the cow’s legs to prevent it from injuring itself or him.
Cows need to have their hooves trimmed twice a year. Some farmers prefer to have Kelly do the whole herd at once, leading to several days of work in the same barn. Other farmers do it piecemeal, getting 10-20 cows done once every couple of weeks. He charges $15 per cow.
Kelly’s record is 130 cows in a day. He averages about 65.