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txbikergirl

3197 Posts


Posted - May 24 2015 :  4:58:39 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
need to pick all the brains of you nutty cow people ;> all ideas and comments are appreciated, i don't take offense at anything and appreciate experienced people sharing their knowledge.

this week lover boy has been chomping on the idea of attaching a milking parlor to our outdoor "summer kitchen". want to know if y'all have any suggestions for us in case we aren't thinking of something important. note that i have read MJ's milking parlor chapter (page 238!) a million times so am trying to incorporate everything.

the reason this is timely is that due to rain this year our outdoor summer kitchen (its a 30x30 covered patio with counter, sink, bbq, oven/stove, hot water, refrig, etc) is ahead of schedule since it is reachable with large equipment (seems like nothing else on the farm is). we have built the shelter and have all the kitchen stuff (thank you craigslist) but need to still pipe out all the electrical/water/gas and pour concrete. and that is the june project.

this means instead of using a corner of a barn to milk, for hardly any extra cost I could have a fully functional milking setup ready for Sally O'Mally when she arrives. Lover boy is piping for everything already, so if we pay for a bit more concrete, and additional wood/roofing to extend the shelter then i am a very lucky girl.

questions:
- can cows go up a ramp easily, or will they refuse? we have either a 1 foot or 2 foot drop from the concrete to the ground in the potential area so would pour a ramp for bovine/human ease.
- it would be 10x30 so considering using MJ's milking parlor on p 238, but only the top 10x20 portion - the "kitchenette" part and the milking area. NOT the bottom 10x20 outside washing area and pen. i could always wash outside "al fresco" before bringing her in, but do you see issues with this?
- without the "outside" area i am not sure where to bring the calf so momma can see her. since I will have 10x30 and MJ shows 10x20, should i just have the calf anywhere near momma in my extra 10x10 space, or will momma have issues with that? i am thinking a gate to put the calf in the corner of the 10x10 area would keep it close by but safe and away.
- do y'all have anything else you keep in the cleaner "kitchenette" area other than the cleaning supplies and feeding supplies? i will have all that there, but then the bonus to this setup is that i walk 5 feet and am in a really clean area to finish up my straining/bottling/etc in the summer kitchen. and i have a pantry area in the real house with a big sink and plenty of room to hang buckets/machines/etc to dry after sanitizing.
- we don't thermize, we are totally raw drinkers. would you bottle your milk and put it in the freezer to cool down for an hour before going to refrig or invest in a little ice maker to have a constant ready supply of ice to ice bath the milk?
- we'll have electrical, water, hot water, gas, concrete floor, and a drain in the middle of the floor, and hose spigots for cleanup.
- we'll put the "milking parlor" concrete a few inches below the summer kitchen concrete so that water and mess doesn't move from the milking parlor to the other area.
- we'll essentially have a 3 sided area, as the fourth wall (the 30' long outside wall) won't be enclosed the entire length. but any "open" wall would have a gate on it.
- keep in mind we are in the south, eastern texas. so while we have 3 months of "winter", we get snow about once per year that sticks for 10 hours if we are lucky... and normally have about 10-20 days where it stays 20-32 degrees all day. we do have LOTS of rain even in a dry year (normal year is 40"). so i am thinking that a well done 3.5 sided structure will be much better than a old airy barn with 4 sides.
- given i am milking 1-2 cows max i dont see smell as an issue this close to the summer kitchen/backyard. i'll clean and hose down anything each milking. and we have the chicken coop with 40+ chickens adjacent and there's no smell issue there...

this setup would be a luxury for me to start with and more than i imagined for years - but given the low pricetag its actually cheaper to do this than attempt a makeshift milking parlor in the barn. and then the barn bay just becomes the cow condo when they need more than the shelter in the pasture for birth, illness, extreme weather, etc..

Firefly Hollow Farm , our little farmstead. Farmgirl living in the green piney woods of East Texas on 23 acres with a few jerseys, too many chickens, a pair of pugs and my Texan hubby (aka "lover boy")

NellieBelle

11132 Posts


Posted - May 24 2015 :  6:07:46 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm afraid I can't be of much help. My set up is like they did years ago and probably won't change much. I milk in a barn, and carry everything to the house, where I carry it through the basement then up a flight of stairs to my kitchen to be cleaned and milk taken care of. So you are really going to save yourself a lot of unnecessary steps. Your plans and set up sound really wonderful. I'm sure others can be of more help with good suggestions. Good luck with everything Cindy. Sally O'Mally will be getting a nice milking parlor!

To laugh is human but to moo is bovine. Author Unknown
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maryjane

7001 Posts


Posted - May 24 2015 :  7:30:17 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Cindy,
I won't have time to respond to this until tomorrow, probably in the a.m. Great news! My little "parlor" is my special place, all mine. Whenever I give tours of the farm, it's the first place I take people. I love keeping it spotless clean, topped off with a bouquet of fresh flowers. It's my "kitchen" if that makes sense.

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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farmlife

1413 Posts


Posted - May 25 2015 :  06:13:39 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
It sounds lovely, Cindy! What a blessing to have all that at your fingertips as you milk. As far as a place for the calf goes, Elli really wanted Gus to be right with her after she calved. If she couldn't see him she made that really low mooing sound that mamas do and would move around to look for him. We just had him loose so he could be near her in the beginning. However, he has become quite the little pest as of late. He's very interested in my milking supplies and thinks that the bag of goodies I hang on the wall should be butted at every opportunity. He also decided he liked me a lot one day and tried to mount me as I was bent over milking.

Elli no longer worries about him, so I block off the entrance into the lean to and he has to stay out in the corral while I milk. He usually runs laps and tries to scare chickens. To make a long story short, it would be great to have a little pen to put the calf in so that he/she could be close by, but not have access to your equipment etc. I would think you would use it more right after calving than later on, so it wouldn't have to be huge. That way it wouldn't take up too much of your space.
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maryjane

7001 Posts


Posted - May 25 2015 :  09:52:44 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The changes I’d made to my Milking Parlor since it was in my book are:

1. I reversed the hinges on the spring-loaded saloon door hinges so the gate is hinged on the opposite side. Actually, the old hinges broke so it’s hung on regular ole hinges. When it was hinged the other way, it was more in the way. Now, it can go back against the wall when it’s open.

2. I installed better lighting and got rid of two of the hanging light bulbs (three total: sink area, milking area, calving pen). I found that when I was doing vet work like AI or giving a shot, I preferred lots of seeing power. So I installed a strip of florescent lights in the milking area and also outside in the calving pen.

3. In the calving pen, I put up what I thought was a temporary plywood wall one winter where I had gates going to the outside. The gates are still there but so is the plywood “temporary” wall attached on the inside of the gates on up to the roof. I really like having it enclosed. But that’s because we have winter. Although even in the summer, I like it.

4. I don’t mention it in the book but I do have a good-quality skylight over the sink area. The photo of the window doesn’t show what I have on it now—a cow guard! The girls who weren’t being milked kept coming over and sticking their head through the screen when the window was open. Presently, I have a piece of tin screwed to the outside that covers the lower third of the window. I can still attach a fan in the summer in the 8 inches that is screened but if you have cows milling around the outside, what’s going on inside is of great concern to them.

5. On the outside where I have the hydrant, you see four posts and some wire to keep them from messing with the hydrant. They persisted so now I have slats of wood attached to the posts. In other words, I have a serious fence around it that I have to reach through to turn the hydrant on and off.

Regarding the covered outside calving and washing area, I have found it to be as important as the parlor itself. It’s in use constantly. Also love that it separates into two areas. Right now, I use it to put little Ester in at night or when I bottle-feed her so the other girls can’t nose into our business. And recently she had a bout of scours and it was a nice place for me to isolate her and also pamper her. It’s easy to keep clean given I have a hose and spray nozzle. I put a bed of straw in the corner for her that she (and I) sleep on:) And it’s been a fabulous place for birthing. I pitch the soiled straw over the top of the outside gates and then haul it away with the tractor.

Like I said in the book, concrete is on my wish list but I’m fine with the black matting for now. Maybe someday I’ll get around to concrete. I’m sure I’d love it. If you have a drain in the middle, I would think you’d need some sort of garbage disposal running in it or else it would clog up fast. This is gross but I was told once that’s what a hospital surgery room has in the floor drain.

My cows have learned to walk up a ramp because that’s what’s on my stock trailer.

Smell and flies aren’t a problem if you keep the area clean and use fly predators in your manure piles. I mop my parlor every day after I milk and also spray off the outside area. My waste water keeps the immediate area outside the outside area fairly wet, hence, the wood chips to avoid mud and muck.

As far as cooling milk, I really did try to get straight-from-the-cow milk down to 40 degrees in two hours using a refrigerator. It doesn’t do it. You’ll need to ice-water bath it whether or not you heat treat. It isn’t just a health concern, it also helps the milk (and everything else you make from it) last longer. Sometimes, like if I go to town, the milk stays in the ice water bath (as described in my book) for several hours. If I have enough frozen water bottles in there, they keep it super cool, like if you milked in the morning and then went to work for the day. My ice chest/frozen water bottle method would work in that situation, especially for milk that hasn’t been heat-treated. Come home, pop it in the fridge, pop the bottles back into the freezer. 40 degrees in two hours and then maintained at around 36. It’s all about longevity.

Regarding separation anxiety after birth, they fuss like Keeley said, but grain is a strong distraction. I keep the door open to the parlor with the calf right outside so she knows it’s still close-by. With Sally, I had to walk her some distance away from her calf to milk her but I explained everything to her and she was fine. Once I was done and walking her back, she moved a tad faster and would start to moo as we approached the gate where her calf was, but she was fine with being led away. Every mother is different. I just don’t think you know on that first day what to expect but everyone eventually gets squared away it seems.

This will probably bring up other questions. I'm here!

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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maryjane

7001 Posts


Posted - May 25 2015 :  10:44:50 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Also, I did insulate mine and use one of those oil-filled space heaters to take the chill off in the winter and to keep the pipes from freezing.

I have the 4-gal hot water tank I mentioned in my book. I have it turned up all the way so I don't run out of hot water but I find it makes me nervous when my grandgirls are here helping me. At some point, I'll put in a bigger one in and turn the temp down.

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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txbikergirl

3197 Posts


Posted - May 25 2015 :  3:40:41 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
janet, keeley, mj - thanks. i really appreciate the time it takes to share your thoughts.

apparently lover boy doesn't remember our discussion about a drain in the concrete - he says it would all get clogged up and not work ;> so i am the clueless one there, but thanks for that info mj as it would never have occurred to me. i'll just mop and hose it all up to clean it.

we'll have an on-demand hot water heater, when we installed our propane tank this year we piped over to the summer kitchen specifically for that so i'll have a never ending supply of extremely hot water there.

due to everyone's comments i am rethinking the calf area and the outside second area. if i have the cow enter from the short 10' side instead of the long 30' side then i can actually have some fencing/panels out there to make a little corral area and perhaps the cleaning outside area.... it may actually work better that way anyway so my mind is in a whirl right now rethinking it.

and i may just work an ice maker into the area for the icebaths. would be an nice thing for the summer kitchen anyway, and we don't do many splurges (everything we do we do ourselves and we source second hand goods) so that might be a nice little extra. the reason we are doing the summer kitchen is that we spend 9 months outside, and the expense of remodeling an interior kitchen is so outrageous it is cheaper and worked out better in our lifestyle to have the outdoor kitchen.

thanks again, your experience is invaluable.

Firefly Hollow Farm , our little farmstead. Farmgirl living in the green piney woods of East Texas on 23 acres with a few jerseys, too many chickens, a pair of pugs and my Texan hubby (aka "lover boy")
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maryjane

7001 Posts


Posted - May 25 2015 :  3:53:43 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Cindy,
You don't need an icemaker unless you want one. Freeze some water bottles and you can reuse them hundreds of times and also use the freezer to store the cheeses you make, future steers, ice cream ...

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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NellieBelle

11132 Posts


Posted - May 26 2015 :  08:29:41 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Cindy, MaryJane, your parlors/kitchen areas are so exciting. Be sure and take photo's to share your Milk Cow Kitchen/milk parlor/barn with us. Love to see it. Charlene too. Can't wait to see the milk barn/parlor for Clover, Betsy and the goat clan. All your ideas and plans are all so inspiring.

To laugh is human but to moo is bovine. Author Unknown

Edited by - NellieBelle on May 26 2015 08:35:50 AM
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txbikergirl

3197 Posts


Posted - May 26 2015 :  6:11:46 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
janet, thanks! this is really exciting for me as i didn't expect it at all. just thought i would be milking in the barn bay with a makeshift setup and then walking up the little hill to the house with the milk. i LOVE the idea of leading Sally O'Mally to the backyard area and milking her there - its like bringing her into the house!

the gas man comes tomorrow to install the piping for the summer kitchen and milking area. just that fast and it starts to become a reality! once i have some photos i will post the progress. its one of those fits and starts things, doesn't go anywhere and then in one weekend will make huge leaps of progress.

Firefly Hollow Farm , our little farmstead. Farmgirl living in the green piney woods of East Texas on 23 acres with a few jerseys, too many chickens, a pair of pugs and my Texan hubby (aka "lover boy")
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txbikergirl

3197 Posts


Posted - May 26 2015 :  6:15:35 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
thanks MJ, i think the icemaker would be more for the ice cream we will make from the milk then the milk itself ;> ... but it would be a nice daily convenience to toss some of it into a cooler with water for the ice bath.

you are right, i just want it - there are other simple ways to accomplish the ice bath ;> but lover boy is thinking it is a bit overboard so there may have to be a compromise. heck, i am getting a proper milking area so i really don't need anything else - i'm happy as a cow in clover!

Firefly Hollow Farm , our little farmstead. Farmgirl living in the green piney woods of East Texas on 23 acres with a few jerseys, too many chickens, a pair of pugs and my Texan hubby (aka "lover boy")
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Mike

1667 Posts
Mike
Argyle WI
United States of America

Posted - May 26 2015 :  9:29:22 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thank you Maryjane for the good update on your milking area :) Our Wis health nazis are very big on drains and not having wash water running all over outside. Pumping or naturally draining to a collection/evaporation/treatment area are important design considerations they like to see well thought out BEFORE you build. Every state is a little or a lot different but these folks earn their keep by making sure that you know the rules. Utilize their services during design and avoid the heartbreak of tearing out expensive mistakes and starting over. These folks are easy to work with during design......they get a little testy if you build without at least asking for the applicable information.
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CloversMum

3486 Posts


Posted - May 27 2015 :  4:17:07 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The update is now printed out and inserted into my book!

And, good advice, Mike!

Loving life and family on our Idaho farm, Meadowlark Heritage Farm; A few Jersey cows; a few alpacas; a few more goats, and even more ducks and chickens
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txbikergirl

3197 Posts


Posted - May 27 2015 :  6:53:31 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Mike, is that because you sell milk? just wondering how strict your Wisconsin laws are - if they apply to personal farm use or just commercial enterprises?

Texas is pretty reasonable, as far as government oversight goes... but if we ever want a raw milk license to sell milk then we'll have to build a full milk parlor to specs quite different. so i have planned this small little parlor to be easily convertible to an outside bath/shower room as well ;>

Firefly Hollow Farm , our little farmstead. Farmgirl living in the green piney woods of East Texas on 23 acres with a few jerseys, too many chickens, a pair of pugs and my Texan hubby (aka "lover boy")
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txbikergirl

3197 Posts


Posted - May 30 2015 :  11:49:25 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
its a start... doesn't look like much now, but it will be 10x30 enclosed/covered with a 2' overhang on each side. lover boy just got the lumber this morning and is putting the post hole digger on the tractor now.

to the upper left you can see the field fence separating the backyard from the livestock, and off to the upper right you can't see it but we have a nice trail leading to pasture, barn, etc... slowly but surely the farmstead comes around.

we put the entire existing 30x30 structure up ourselves in april during a week of vacation at home, just rented a manlift and did it together. very rewarding, and economical.


Firefly Hollow Farm , our little farmstead. Farmgirl living in the green piney woods of East Texas on 23 acres with a few jerseys, too many chickens, a pair of pugs and my Texan hubby (aka "lover boy")
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maryjane

7001 Posts


Posted - May 30 2015 :  12:04:01 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Exciting indeed. Keep those photos coming. I devour them and love telling Sally about her new home in Texas Our Texas.

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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NellieBelle

11132 Posts


Posted - May 30 2015 :  1:13:08 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Very cool Cindy. Can't wait to see the progress. Looks nice. Another Family Milk Cow Farm. So happy for you, your husband and Sally O'Mally.

To laugh is human but to moo is bovine. Author Unknown
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txbikergirl

3197 Posts


Posted - May 30 2015 :  6:29:05 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
thank janet, i really appreciate the support. we aren't from farming families, although i grew up in "big ag", so a lot of people in our lives think we are off our rockers ;>

Firefly Hollow Farm , our little farmstead. Farmgirl living in the green piney woods of East Texas on 23 acres with a few jerseys, too many chickens, a pair of pugs and my Texan hubby (aka "lover boy")
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NellieBelle

11132 Posts


Posted - May 30 2015 :  6:48:10 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I know what you mean. People ask me all the time, "why in the world do you want to mess with milking a cow?" Family, friends and neighbors. I ask them, "What am I suppose to do, sit in a rocker and look out the window?" I know they think I'm off my rocker, and I am literally. "out of my rocker" I'm not going to sit around in my later years. I like doing things, learning new things. I truly believe you are going to enjoy your new milk cow and all that goes along with it.

To laugh is human but to moo is bovine. Author Unknown
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farmlife

1413 Posts


Posted - May 31 2015 :  8:34:51 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I am sure enjoying milking and all that goes with it. I made scones and clotted cream for social hour at church today. One of the ladies wouldn't try the clotted cream because "milk that comes from a cow is dirty." It was interesting to hear her take on it and one of the other ladies saying, "Keeley keeps it clean." I have never once talked with either one about my milking procedure. It was funny to hear both of their opinions. If cream that has been baked for 12 hours is dirty, then there sure wouldn't be anything that would get it clean. :)
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txbikergirl

3197 Posts


Posted - Jun 01 2015 :  06:01:29 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Keeley, i was starting to write how screwed up our society is with what we consider clean versus dirty... then i just erased it and decided to stay positive ;>

it is monday morning, it is June (!!), the summer on our farms is here for us to enjoy, and we can all appreciate the wonders of our lifestyle and have compassion for those that don't know better ;>

Firefly Hollow Farm , our little farmstead. Farmgirl living in the green piney woods of East Texas on 23 acres with a few jerseys, too many chickens, a pair of pugs and my Texan hubby (aka "lover boy")
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Sydney2015

1156 Posts


Posted - Jun 01 2015 :  07:12:44 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I think that setup sounds good!(When I will be milking AppleButter, I won't have a setup quite that ideal! Yours sounds amazing!)

A good laugh overcomes more difficulties and dissipates more dark clouds than any other one thing - Laura Ingalls Wilder

I live on a small farm of seventy acres called Green Forest Farm, with 10 horses, a donkey, 5 beef cows, 2 beef heifers, 3 Hereford heifers, around 60 chickens, 8 dogs, my amazing cow, AppleButter, and her little Jersey calf HoneyButter!
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Mike

1667 Posts
Mike
Argyle WI
United States of America

Posted - Jun 01 2015 :  07:48:49 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Keeley, is she one of the folks who think meat is made at the supermarket? I wonder what type of milk is clean for her, soy milk? Sheesh......
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farmlife

1413 Posts


Posted - Jun 01 2015 :  09:02:58 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I just found myself wondering where she thinks the milk in the store comes from. It must go right along with the meat made at the supermarket. :)
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txbikergirl

3197 Posts


Posted - Jun 01 2015 :  4:49:44 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
thanks sydney, missed you around here. just give yourself another 30 years and when you are my age you can build yourself a super-duper milking parlor!

the reality is you are so far ahead of me that you would be a welcome addition on the homestead to show us the ropes ;> glad things are going well for you.

Firefly Hollow Farm , our little farmstead. Farmgirl living in the green piney woods of East Texas on 23 acres with a few jerseys, too many chickens, a pair of pugs and my Texan hubby (aka "lover boy")
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Sydney2015

1156 Posts


Posted - Jun 01 2015 :  8:49:09 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks! Mine will be the stanchion in MaryJane's book, maybe in the barn, or I might build a small AppleButter shed for milking.

A good laugh overcomes more difficulties and dissipates more dark clouds than any other one thing - Laura Ingalls Wilder

I live on a small farm of seventy acres called Green Forest Farm, with 10 horses, a donkey, 5 beef cows, 2 beef heifers, 3 Hereford heifers, around 60 chickens, 8 dogs, my amazing cow, AppleButter, and her little Jersey calf HoneyButter!
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