We built a do it yourself homemade milking stanchion for our family cow. In this post we will show you how it all started

Note: This blog post has been broken down into several parts to help with the load times, this project is picture intensive.

You can see the stanchion “in action” on our milking barn page at  http://thepossumridgefarms.com/home/the-milking-barn/

Materials listing for part one of this blog

Qty 4  4X4X8 pressure treated posts (all wood utilized in this project was pressure treated)

Qty 1  2X6X8 pressure treated wood

Qty 1  farmer in training

Qty 1  Box 3 inch deck screws and a few nails

Tools Required:

Hammer

Post hole digger

Shovel

level

Drill (corded or cordless)

Spud Bar ( if you have concrete for soil)

 

When considering building a milking stanchion for a cow you need to look at your site selection, stanchion type, breed of cows to be milked, building materials available and realistic utilization expectations, so do your research before attempting to build your own. Also please keep in mind the weight of a full grown cow can be well over a thousand pounds, so skimping on lumber, fasteners or anything else is not advised.  After looking at numerous stanchions online and in person we elected to build a raised stanchion that would out live my generation, add some level of comfort to the milking process for us and the cows and of course keep the cow somewhat contained while milking. After measuring the building and then a cow or two (which was interesting all in itself) it appeared that our former fodder/small equipment building was a little short but could be modified for our needs.  After researching all the considerations with a basic plan in mind, myself, my wife, grandson and granddaughter started the process. We proceeded to move everything out of that area of the barn and started construction ( thanks to Jonathan for helping move the coke machine, wow was it heavy). So now our task was to make a small barn into a milking parlor for not only the cows but our goat herd too. The pictures below are from the early stages of the project:

As you can plainly see in the pictures it had been raining for it seemed like months but we were mostly inside so it did not slow the process too much.

We dug 4 holes with a post hole digger. 2 holes along the wall of the building and 2 holes parallel to the first ones center to center 38 inches apart in one direction  and 8 feet apart in the other. The holes were about 2 feet deep, squared and leveled in both directions before adding the dirt back to the hole. This is a critical step so I will repeat make sure your posts are square and level, if they are even slightly off it will create issues later in the project.

You can put concrete in the hole instead of dirt but with the clay soil there in Tennessee it wasn’t necessary (wet dirt here sets up like concrete).

My “assistant” added an 8 foot 2X6 to the posts and filled in the holes. The height of the 2X6 brace will be the substructure height of the stanchion plus the decking material utilized

The entire assembly was screwed together for added stability

In our next post we will build the complete stanchion substructure.

Stay tuned and see you down at the barn

The fresh air, the animals & the hard work all appealed to me. I have no idea why.

I wanted chickens when I was 7. Nope my mom was deathly scared of birds of all kinds thanks to a rooster on her grandparents farm.

I went with my grandpa to visit some of his family on their farm and wanted to stay with them for a week, nope. They didn’t really want some little girl around underfoot.

The test I took in Jr High said I should either be a teacher or farmer.  (By the way I grew up in the city.)

After I graduated High School I attended a small Technical College and most of my classes were in the Agriculture Building. THAT is where I met my future.

 

My future husband with the same passion to live on a farm.

We dreamed of a quiet place away from everything and everyone. Our own little slice of heaven.

 

We were able to purchase a small home and an acre of land in Tennessee in 1987. And so it began………………..

One day while talking to some people they asked me what is a typical day like while working on the farm and how much exercise is it? Never really thought about how much exercise there was involved so I decided to check my steps and see if I could relate farm work to the number of steps taken. The goal was to measure the steps and give an approximation of my activities taken for reference.

  1. Morning run (light day)
  2. Check the chickens and open the barn so they can free range
  3. Check cows and goats
  4. Morning feeding for the ducks, guineas, bucks, the bull and roosters
  5. Check and feed the goat kids
  6. Morning milking
  7. Tractor work
  8. Plant Sweet potatoes
  9. Plant tomatoes
  10. Light carpentry on new barn
  11. Troubleshoot and repair the electric fence
  12. Collect eggs (duck and chicken)
  13. Install tomato cages around my new tomato plants
  14. Cut the grass around the grape vines
  15. Feed and water the chickens
  16. Evening feeding of the goat kids
  17. Evening feeding for the ducks, guineas, goat bucks, the bull and roosters
  18. Evening milking
  19. Final walk through of the main barns
  20. Close up the free range ducks and chickens for the night
  21. Dinner (Finally!!!)

These are just the high points there are really too many things to list or even remember. As the seasons change the activities will change but as of May 2018 this is pretty much a typical day. So the question is how many steps??

The day started at 3:03 AM and ended at about 9:00 PM

Total steps: 22,480

Seems like a pretty good workout to me

Until next time, see you down at the barn

The Bovine Test

Date: 30 April 2018;

Location: Not exactly Cape Canaveral

Mission: Equipment Viability

Are we really going to do this?

With the clock counting down to zero all the work we had done was about to be tested.

I suppose there was really no doubt in my mind that it would hold, but what if it didn’t? I have to admit I was a little nervous and the grand-kids were way, way nervous.

Being a true professional she (Mabel) was the only one who really didn’t seem phased by the whole experience. We had stress checked, pulled, pushed and jumped on this thing and it didn’t move in the slightest, but now it was time for the big test,  1000+ pounds of pure bovine strength and stamina.  What was the worst thing that could actually happen? (okay maybe the loss of life, property destruction, fires, riots, political unrest and at my age maybe a major coronary event) Sink or swim it was going to happen RIGHT NOW!!!

The hatch opened.  You could hear a pin drop from all around the barnyard as cows, goats and chickens watched this historic event. She moved forward and stepped onto the landing. I am sure to her it felt like Neil Armstrong stepping on the moon for the first time, we were all holding our breath. She proceeded to move slightly forward stopped and appeared to be inspecting our work. After meeting her approval she slowly moved into the middle of the channel where her food bowl was waiting.

Milk for everyone!!  Mission accomplished!!!!

My recollection might be “slightly” embellished In case you haven’t figured this out but after a couple of months working on our new raised cow stanchion everything worked as advertised and Mable was providing fresh milk. Not only to little Bobby, but for us as well.

After researching homemade cow stanchions I found the internet lacking a good set of instructions for building a raised stanchion, so I decided to build my own. In future postings I will be providing pictures of how I built the one we are using. However I will not be providing a step by step instruction set on construction like our goat stanchion plans released several years ago. This is a big project and requires much thought, space, planning and occasionally a little math (those of you under 35 may have problems in this area). I am looking forward to showing you our home built stanchion, how we use it and maybe even answering a few questions so you can build your own. As with everything in life there is no warranty on anything shown on this website or that you can successfully build one…. But we did it (we as in myself, my wife the boss, my 12 year old grandson farmer in training and my 7 year old working on 29 granddaughter)

As always, if you are one of those people who is accident prone, not comfortable working with basic hand/farm tools, have little or no common sense and or have spent any time as an elected official in our nation’s capital. Please step away from the device you are reading this on and purchase a stanchion as necessary from a retailer of your choice.

Until next time, see you down at the barn

I grew up in small town America a long time ago when grandma having a little food stored around the house was normal and nobody really expected help in an emergency except from family or neighbors. We have dealt with earthquakes, tornadoes, ice storms, flooding and even a hurricane named Elvis (a local weather event in Memphis Tennessee). After having a major ice storm and cut off from the rest of the world for a couple weeks we decided to see what we could do better surviving the next little problem life would throw at us. The information contained here is more or less a journal of our adventures (past and ongoing) into self-sufficiency and homesteading. By documenting much of our experience we also hope future generations can gain some of the knowledge we depart should the need actually arise to live a completely self-sufficient lifestyle.

There are vast homesteading resources found on the internet, some of which is very good. We are not the new kids on the block, the information you find here is time tested and how we have been doing it for the past 30 plus years. If you want to know how to raise and grow your own food this is the place.

 

Enjoy our blog, see you down at the barn