Clipping tails involves removing excess hair from a cow’s tail.

It is a practice done on most dairy farms in order to prevent contaminants from entering the milk tank.

It also makes it much easier for the person milking the cows and prevents any animal welfare issues that may occur due to the build-up of faeces on the tail.

Ahead of drying-off cows, one job that farmers should try and complete is clipping tails.

Clipping tails

Hygiene during the drying-off process is vital for it to be successful, particularly where selective dry cow therapy (SDCT) is being used.

Because the antibiotic is removed using SDCT, it is likely that the safety net has been removed too.

This means that if bacteria enters the cow’s teat during drying-off it will likely lead to an infection developing.

When clipping the tails, it may also be worthwhile to remove any dirt that may be around the hock or on the back legs.

For SDCT to work, surgical levels of hygiene are required on a farm or in a milking parlour and this is difficult to achieve.


On farms where SDCT is being used for the first time this year, farmers should have cows selected that may and may not be suitable.

When planning for drying-off cows it is a good idea to dry-off cows that are receiving the same treatment at the same time.

For example, five cows with similar calving dates that are only getting sealer should be dried off together.

Similarly, if there are five cows that are getting antibiotics at drying-off, these should be done together.

Farmers should avoid mixing cows as this will only make the process more confusing and possibly lead to mistakes.

There is no award for being the quickest at drying-off cows, so farmers should take their time with each cow and ensure that the job is done correctly.