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Best On-Farm Fixes: Movable stainless steel footbath

Progressive Dairyman Editor Peggy Coffeen Published on 11 September 2014

stainless steel dairy cow footbath

Pagel’s Ponderosa
John Pagel, owner | Chris Szydel, herd manager
Casco, Wisconsin



Maintaining hoof health during the dry period can be a challenge on many dairies, but at Pagel’s Ponderosa, a movable, homemade stainless-steel footbath ensures that all cows are covered.

At the 5,000-cow dairy in northeast Wisconsin, owner John Pagel recognized that cows in the dry pens didn’t make a regular visit through a footbath like their lactating herdmates.

“It’s always a challenge with dry cows because they aren’t going through a footbath on the way to the milking parlor,” Pagel says.

Setting up a footbath just for dry cow traffic was cumbersome. Flimsy plastic or rubber baths were awkward to move from one location to the next, and running cows through them required an assortment of gates.

Pagel and his herd manager, Chris Szydel, drew up plans for a footbath to better fit their needs and worked with a custom-fabricator to bring the design to life. They built the unit to last, using stainless steel to stand up against the harshness of copper sulfate.


The bottom is lined with rubber, and there is a drain on the back end for removing the solution. The heavy-duty footbath is designed to move easily from one location to the next using a pallet fork.

According to Szydel, the footbath is 10 feet long by 3 feet wide and runs 8 inches deep. It features a built-in gate on one side with two hinged gates attached. The gates can be folded or unfolded to direct cow flow. The footbath and the gates were sized to fit an alley up to 10 feet wide.

“When it is not in use, we just fold the gates one behind the other and store it,” Pagel adds.

The footbath is working out well for the dairy’s dry cows, which are walked through it on a weekly basis. Pagel and Szydel are pleased, too, with the ease of use.

“You can put this footbath wherever you need it,” Pagel says. “It’s all one unit, and it comes all ready to go.” PD peggy coffeen

Peggy Coffeen
Progressive Dairyman