Saturday, October 12, 2013

My Milk Parlor: Adaptations for a Smaller Cow

Not too many homesteaders who dream of having a family cow will be blessed with a beautiful milk parlor.  Back in the late 70s and early 80s, my parents ran a commercial dairy.  Then they found out that my dad was allergic to cow dander and hay, and shut it down.  The parlor has been sitting empty all these years, just yearning for another cow to grace its presence.

Then I decided that the farm needed some milk cows again!  Definitely didn't want to go the commercial dairy route.  I wanted raw milk for home consumption.  Thankfully the parlor works great for that--even after 20 years of no use or care.

Now when I go out to milk in the morning, I have a wonderful concrete stanchion (actually three of them!) for the cows.  I am able to sit at a stool and have the girls at a comfortable height.  This has been really important with Epie, our short-legged Dexter.

Here is a picture of the parlor after I milked this morning:

A hose, good water pressure and a few minutes later, I have it all cleaned up again.

You may be wondering why in the world I have a tire tied up to the stanchion.  Did you notice it?  Well, these stanchions were built for Holstein milk cows.  I have Dexters, which are quite a bit smaller.  The tire forces the cow over towards my side, and keeps me from having to reach way in to reach.  My Grandpa Bill came up with that idea, and I'm really grateful for it!

The 2X4 tied under the metal is also to help with size.  I was worried that Epie might be able to escape.  I didn't want her to fall off the raised platform.  So we tied up a board.  It also makes a good place to rest my tired head while I'm doing the morning milking.

A resized stanchion with a tire, bailing twine and an old board.  I love it!  We're all for inexpensive fixes around here.  Especially if they reuse something.  

What are some creative, inexpensive solutions you've rigged up?

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