Hi all, we are about to start building a seperate shelter for the milk cow.What I am hoping for is room for a calf pen for overnights away from momma, a stanchion built so she is eating her grain looking at her calf.So I have a few questions.What is the comfortable ( and minimum ) size of calf pen to keep it in overnight until weaning?as I will be doing milk sharing with the calf it will stay on as long as possible.( Which is? ).I want to also make it that the cow can hang out in there on the other side of the box stall.How much space does she need?How high does the divider need to be?I was going to build the stanchion along the wall, then I realized I would only have access to her from one side, so now we will build it in the middle for full access.If there are any great tips out there, that would be handy please let me know.I am hoping we can build this right, instead of always regreting not having something a certain way.Thanx for any great tips, I know you all have them, things that make your life a little easier. Liz
1 milk cow Bernie(Jersey/Angus) 1 horse 3 mules 350 some odd sheep and counting( Dorpers & Katahdins) 3 N.Z.rabbits 11 hens 5 dogs 1 cat 2 kids 1 hubby( one is enouph !!)
I'd recommend you use movable panels to set up your calf pen (like a sheep lambing jug). That way you can remove it when it's not in use, and can get the panels completely out of the way for thorough muck outs when needed (baby calves make a LOT of muck for their size). When I was raising baby calves, I used pallets to make their pens, so the dimensions depended on the size pallets available. A pen one pallet wide (3 1/2 to 4 feet- I'd use the widest I had available) by 2 pallets long (6 to 7 feet) was plenty big enough for a baby calf, water bucket, feed and a hay net (gotta be careful with these- even tied up at their shoulder height, they sometimes managed to be in the thing when I'd come out to the barn.) They can stay in this for several months if neccesary. I found out the hard way that bottle/bucket babies did best for me if they were separated from each other and activity was very limited when they were very young. Best of luck.
Bernie, we have about 2 feet on either side of the stanchion, which is workable but I wouldn't want it any less than that. Think "hallway". Most hallways run about 3 feet wide, so that should be plenty. Also, you can use a walkway as one side and combine spaces. Or put the stanchion up against the cattle panels on one side, so that you still have (limited) access to that side, and baby is kept nice and close. Usually you get used to milking on one side anyhow.
the zillas: me, hubby, two beautiful kids
some barn cats
lots of laying hens
Geneva, 4 year old Jersey
assorted calves and steer
I milked from one side only. Limited space dictated that; I had a big box stall with calf pens set up along one side(with pallets), leaving a narrow section straight in from the door. My girl could get in out of the weather, sun, etc. and had just enough room to turn to get out. At milking time, I'd tie her in that front corner, so she couldn't go forward (or back much), and she couldn't shift away from me on the other side. Unless you have very short arms, you will probably find it easier ans faster to milk from just one side- no time lost moving around and getting settled on the other side. I got down on my knees and tucked my head into her flank (just in front of her knee- inhibits forward movement with that foot, and you can feel it coming when she tries to put that foot in the bucket, and snatch it out of the way, usually in time to save the milk!). I didn't have any kind of milking stool, and with the space limitations, and a bad leg, it was the easiest and most comfortable position for me. Actually turned out to be excellent therapy- kind of like yoga, I imagine. Limbered me up in ways I hadn't been in years!
I still had enough room to work on my cow's other side anytime it was necessary.
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This book is intended as an inspirational manual for keeping a family milk cow. A lifetime of practical experience has been bound into one volume. Practical advice for the everyday and procedures for cow emergencies. Plus, answers to FAQ's like, 'Should you get a cow?' and 'How Much Space do I need?'