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5 Things I can’t do without: Mark Ready

Peggy Coffeen Published on 26 September 2014

Mark Ready has been trimming feet on Saskatchewan dairies for more than 20 years.

His hoof-trimming career started out on beef cattle and dairy show cows, but it since has evolved to serve the larger dairy herds near his home in Martensville. These days, Ready spends most of his time on dairies with 200 cows or more.

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Ready sat down with Progressive Dairyman Editor Peggy Coffeen to reflect on the tools he relies upon as a hoof health professional.

Mark Ready

1. Chute
When Ready purchased a Riley Built trimming chute about five years ago, it was a welcomed improvement. “It’s safer for me and the cow,” he says, noting that his previous method was very labour-intensive and hands-on, often putting him in harm’s way.

“I used to use ‘Mark’ power, but now I use hydraulic power,” he jokes.

He has customized the chute to meet his needs with a few upgrades and modifications.

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2. Family
Ready’s wife, Leslie, and his four children have grown to understand and support the demands of the hoof-trimming trade.

The two eldest in particular have been accompanying him on jobs “since they were babies.” Samantha, now 20 years old, is currently working for him.

3. Gate system
Keeping cows calm and directing cow flow are a couple of reasons why Ready values the system of gates he sets up around his chute.

“When I work with cows, I build archways, alleyways and a door that cows stand behind as they wait to come into the chute,” he explains. “As the cow stands there, she seems to settle herself down.”

Ideally, he adds, lining up two or three cows in a row has this calming effect. “It helps in convincing the cows that going into the chute is actually good for them,” he says.

4. Equipment upgrades
Further improvements to the tools of his trade make Ready’s job safer and more efficient. He now has a hydraulic door on his chute to prevent cows from backing over him.

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5. Hoof Trimmers Association
Ready also benefits from the network of fellow hoof trimmers that he has established through the Hoof Trimmers Association, which has connected him with his peers around the country and across the border.

“That’s how I got my chute and how I got started,” he says. “My friend from Minnesota, Vic Larson, is the one that got me doing modernizations that make my job easier.”

He also enjoys learning from the association’s conferences and bringing that information back to his dairy farmer clients. PD

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