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CloversMum

3486 Posts


Posted - Mar 25 2014 :  9:46:36 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Okay, so what are the top three necessary things to have to make life easier with a family cow? Obviously, easy watering, feed, and shelter...I mean, beyond that...what makes your life easier in caring for your family cow? What kind of milking stanchion? What sort of barn layout? Etc. Any advice, or thoughts?

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

maryjane

7001 Posts


Posted - Mar 27 2014 :  07:25:34 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
This was a HUGE question I had when I got started. Initially I used my wood shed to milk my cow in. Cold in the winter! I'm sure everyone has stories along those lines, like the woman last week who told us she was keeping her baby chicks in her bathtub and wondered how long that would work. Two months? she asked. Now that could be a theme for a children's book:)

I do have layouts and photos of my feed bunk/open shed and milking parlor in my book that's coming out in a couple of months (not soon enough for your question). My milking parlor is essentially a converted single-car garage with shed roof attached to one side. I'll try to snap a photo today.

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

3486 Posts


Posted - Mar 30 2014 :  9:04:45 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I am so looking forward to your new book, MaryJane! It will be great to be able to see samples of layouts and photos of your set-up. I laughed when I read about the woman who was keeping her chicks in her tub...below is a photo of my own chicks! The photo is proof when I knew I needed a bigger brooder, preferably out of my mud room! And, I do agree that it would make a delightful children's book!!


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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maryjane

7001 Posts


Posted - Apr 01 2014 :  12:51:10 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
That chick figured out how to roost right away! Now we know where the saying, she flew the coop comes from.
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CloversMum

3486 Posts


Posted - Apr 03 2014 :  1:26:38 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yes, our chicks are now in a giant brooder (made out of plywood) in our garage...they are getting big and I'm slowly lowering the temperature by raising the heat lamp a few inches every week. Soon, they'll be big enough to transition outside with the rest of the flock. My Amber Whites have matured and grown the fastest so we'll see if they are the first to start laying.


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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maryjane

7001 Posts


Posted - Apr 11 2014 :  2:38:28 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Are your chickens out yet? It's been so wonderfully warm the last couple of days. I've finally all of my cattle to pasture. They kicked up their heels and ran around like crazy. It was wonderful to see.
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CloversMum

3486 Posts


Posted - Apr 11 2014 :  10:07:10 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Funny you should ask! I have been thinking all week about getting our chicks out of the garage and out into the barnyard! Our plan tomorrow is to clean out our little outside coop, disinfect it, and then move our half-grown chicks into their new outside abode! I had to wait until a Saturday work day to get my little hens out in the wonderful sunshine! Cannot wait to see them explore their new world!

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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CloversMum

3486 Posts


Posted - Apr 22 2014 :  12:04:58 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Our chicks successfully made the move to the big outdoors! However, the wind and rain have come so I am not opening the coop door today. They are still only 8 weeks old. Their little outside area can be closed off which is nice so the other chickens who are out on pasture can get to know them through the fence when its sunny. It was funny to watch them gather the courage to set foot outside over the weekend and master the ramp from their chicken door out to the ground.

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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maryjane

7001 Posts


Posted - Apr 24 2014 :  09:29:04 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
My cows, especially the calves, have an involved play group that involves my chickens. Hide and seek. It's fun to watch. Who needs reality TV when you live on a farm?!

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

3486 Posts


Posted - Apr 24 2014 :  8:36:27 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Who needs any TV when you live on a farm? We have reality shows, comedy, drama, and documentaries right outside our kitchen door. I was laughing at my chickens who kept running different directions (all in a group) depending on the frequently changing weather today! We couldn't always figure out what made them run a certain way. But my Clover just stood out in her pasture chewing her cud...she has a very nice shelter to go into but still chooses to brave the weather most of the time.

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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hudsonsinaf

56 Posts


Posted - Jun 03 2014 :  08:41:06 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I seriously had to laugh about the woman who kept her chicks in her tub. Why? Because we kept our six chicks in our garden tub in the master bathroom for about two months! We were afraid if we kept them in a brooder anywhere else in our house, our german shepherd (she's about 18 mo) would have eaten them. So our bathroom was the only safe place. It was definitely... errr... interesting!!! We ended up having to pin a netting to the front of it so that they wouldn't go all over the bathroom!
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CloversMum

3486 Posts


Posted - Jun 04 2014 :  10:26:40 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Okay...so you are the one who should write a children's book! What fun stories and adventures you could share! I drove into the garage today and realized that for the first time in a couple of months, I don't have any more chicks or new goat kids in my garage greeting me or any farm critter in our mudroom either! It was eerily quiet...

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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hudsonsinaf

56 Posts


Posted - Jun 05 2014 :  06:17:30 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote


Here are five of the six chicks when they were in our bathtub. It doesn't look like I took a picture of the netting. Oh it was so interesting!!!!

Our garage gets super HOT down here - there doesn't seem to be any insulation in it, and the temperatures and humidity are something else! Why did you keep the new goat kids in the garage?
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CloversMum

3486 Posts


Posted - Jun 08 2014 :  10:06:50 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
We kept our goat kids in our garage for a couple of reasons. First, we separate our goat kids from their mamas at birth and bottle feed. It was the way I was taught and it seems to work well so the babies bond extremely well with us and we have no weaning issues. However, one of these years I would like to leave the babies with the mama and see how things work out. The next reason to keep them in the garage is that we don't have a complete barn built yet! :-) So no other place for new babies. Our extra-large garage works well as a barn substitute. We started one but a wind storm last winter set us back significantly...a big disappointment, but I try not to dwell on it. Lastly, I am lazy and love to be able to mosey on out to the garage first thing in the morning or late at night in my slippers for a bottle feeding! I guess houses in Europe use to be built where the barn was attached to the house...a smart idea, I am beginning to think! After the goat kids are several weeks old, then they are transitioned down to our goat pasture and goat sheds. Someday I do hope we are able to finish a barn and then my late night or early morning feeds will require something more than warm, fuzzy, cozy slippers!

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 - Jun 24 2014 :  7:55:57 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Cloversmum, do you "bring your cows in" at night? Trying to be more pioneer like it never occurred to me we would have to do that, but my hubby has gotten into all the once a day milking sites this week and now believes we need to have a place to keep momma and her calf each night to keep them safe.

I am not going to discourage Lover Boy from building me a place for cow safekeeping, but I really thought all I needed was a guard donkey with them and they would be fine in the electric fencing (we have barbed wire permanent backbone and will break into intense grazing pastures with electric fencing) . I also want to keep it simple, and natural for the animals.

We have coyotes around here, but all the beef cattle neighbors don't have issues. We are in East Texas so don't see much bears or wild cats, maybe a mountain lion or two here and there. We do have a ton of feral hogs, but they mostly attack perfect pastures not cows.


quote:
Originally posted by CloversMum

Okay, so what are the top three necessary things to have to make life easier with a family cow? Obviously, easy watering, feed, and shelter...I mean, beyond that...what makes your life easier in caring for your family cow? What kind of milking stanchion? What sort of barn layout? Etc. Any advice, or thoughts?

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maryjane

7001 Posts


Posted - Jun 25 2014 :  07:58:45 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
In my experience, cows and bulls love a shelter to bed down in at night, even if it's a lean-to. Our winters are such that they need a shelter that's closed in on four sides. It doesn't need a door that opens and closes like a chicken coop does for keeping out predators, but something to stop freezing rain and blizzard-y snow storms so they can maintain their body temp. What are your winters like there? And summers? My cattle like to lay in the sun during the day in the summer even when it seems to me like they'd be better off in the shade of their shelter or a tree. But at night, they always prefer their shelters. You do have to muck a shelter out on a daily basis. I put down those livestock pads (as described in my book) and then straw on top of those. With the pads, the straw isn't picking up moisture from the ground and things stay drier.

Whenever I put down a fresh bale of straw (because you take some out every day when you muck), my calves love to jump into it and bound up and down like a deer while making the most hilarious sound. It's like bringing home a trampoline for them. It's adorable. I always take the time to stand and watch their antics because soon enough they'll grow out of it. It's like a kitten playing.

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

3486 Posts


Posted - Jun 25 2014 :  8:35:22 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
We have a simple shelter and Clover has access to it whenever she wants to bed down in it. At the moment, we don't shut her in at night...but that might change after she has a calf in a year or so. At the moment, some pigs are fenced in a section of her shelter (Clover still has plenty of her own space) and Clover seems to really like their company. She plays with them through the fence! And, Clover appears to enjoy the hot sun as much as MaryJane's cattle! She will lay in the hot, hot sun even though she has shade to enjoy.

A guard donkey sounds interesting...can you tell me more about having a guard donkey?

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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CloversMum

3486 Posts


Posted - Jul 31 2014 :  7:00:39 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I was reading through part of "Milk Cow Kitchen" this afternoon and found a must-have item for Clover...the Bar Bar A automatic waterer. MaryJane said that she put it on her birthday wish list and I'm thinking I am going to do the same! I am constantly rinsing out all the algae growing in her water tank and keeping it thawed in the winter is truly a hassle. It appears as this particular waterer solves both problems! I'd like one for my goats, too! :-)

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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maryjane

7001 Posts


Posted - Aug 01 2014 :  08:29:48 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
We're about to install three more BarBarA waterers. We have major plumbing and electrical projects happening this summer. Our farm is torn apart! We're adding a new septic system and expanding our water lines to include winterized lines going to each of our B&B units to include 3 RV set-ups (replacing summer-only water lines), as well as new underground electrical lines. We have piles of dusty dirt everywhere! Ugh. I know what I'll be doing this weekend--plumbing.

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

3486 Posts


Posted - Aug 04 2014 :  9:38:05 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Piles of dusty dirt will be well worth it! How exciting to see more projects completed! How did it all go this past weekend?

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

Edited by - CloversMum on Aug 04 2014 9:38:58 PM
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