Two British inventors have moo-ved into a new market after launching a range of footwear – for COWS.
Robert Todd, a professional cattle hoof trimmer, designed the Croc-like slip-ons in a bid to tackle lameness in cattle caused by ulcers and bruising.
They feature flexible soles made from beech and oak and are colour-coded by size.
The shoes can be fitted in minutes using a special adhesive called ‘Moo-Tac’ and cows can wear them for up to eight weeks while their hooves recover.
Lameness is one of the biggest problems facing modern dairy herds and the ‘Moover’ shoes have already proved a hit across the world.
Robert and his business partner Mike Brimble have been approached by retailers in 42 countries since going on sale this year.
They make the patented, fully biodegradable shoes in Dorset, where they both live, and mostly use local materials, including beech and oak trees for the wooden soles.
Robert, 40, said: “I wanted an easier system that every man could use. Herdsmen had told me that the wooden blocks they were using would fall off after two steps.
“I just wanted to create something that would work when blocking lame cows.
“I have been really surprised by the feedback to our shoes, and the offer of other companies taking on the licence, including Europe’s biggest veterinary firm.
“But it would be nice to keep a handle on things and keep everything local as much as possible.”
The company, Moowell, has also launched Moo-Tac which changes colour to show when it is at the right temperature for the shoe to be fitted.
Prices start from £3.20 per shoe and come in yellow, red, green and blue.
Project manager Mike, 43, had no background in farming but has seen the real need for the product since he and Robert started developing the product two years ago.
“Lameness has become a bigger issue due to bigger herds and less grazing, as well as superfoods being added to diets to aid milk production,” he said.
“And with the cows standing on concrete for long periods of time they can get bad bruising and other foot problems.
“The two main ways to help them have previously been to put a block of wood on the opposite foot to alleviate pressure on the bad one, or put hard plastic shoes on.
“But the blocks of wood came off too easily and the hard plastic shoes stayed on for too long and buckled the hooves.
“So we have created a hybrid version of the two and the feedback has been amazing.”
Prince Philip gave the pair a special Innovation Merit Award at the National Livestock Event in July and top vets have shown their support for the Moowell concept.
The shoes are designed to fall off themselves and rot down to avoid contaminating slurry pits.
They are currently stocked in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA and several European countries.