Saturday, August 25, 2007

Milking stanchion

Even though one of our Irish Dexter cows, Cherry Blossom, has been in milk since her calf was born in mid-April I have not been milking her. She moved here to the farm when the calf was only two weeks old and she was not happy about the change of environment. It was at least a month before I could go into the pasture or barn stall with her without a shovel or a stick to keep the peace. She was awful to the other cow and donkeys too. I felt it was best not to stress her with trying to milk her for the first time under those conditions.

Well, her calf is near 5 months old now and Cherry Blossom has calmed down a lot. She is still boss cow of the pasture. She will eat treats out of my hand and I can touch her on both sides and over her back. But, these all must be on her terms. If I am late with a meal she trys to toss me about still. But, she is much better overall and I am willing to attempt to get some milk from her. I will not try such a feat with her until I get a proper milking stanchion on which to restrain her first though.

So, today I read through my books on the family cow and did some online research on milking stanchions (very little on cow stanchions but lots on goats) and came up with a design that I think will work well and that we should be able to build from the scrap lumber we have lying about the farm. We salvaged a lot of true 2x4 oak boards out of the "goat barn" when we stripping it of excess lumber to make it lighter to move out of the pasture.

Neil was going to start on the project today but a thunder storm rolled in for the afternoon so we put the project off until next weekend. So, hopefully soon I will try my hand again at milking a cow. If all goes well I will be making butter and cheese here soon!

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