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Milking Parlor Advice — The Grow Network Community
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Milking Parlor Advice

Megan VenturellaMegan Venturella Posts: 409 ✭✭✭✭

I bought a Guernsey cross, and she calves in March. I’m trying to use this time to get to know her and prepare. I thought I would want to milk in the barn, but the pasture is just far enough away that I think it would be easier in the long run to build a mobile milking parlor. I’m considering purchasing the new Joel Salatin book for $90 (!!) because there are plans in it to build one, but I thought I’d put it out there n case anyone has brilliant suggestions or ideas.

It doesn’t get terribly cold here, but it may snow once or twice a year and the snow melts the next day. So the more I think about it, the more it makes sense to leave them on pasture. I think. ?


  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 3,874 admin

    Leaving them on pasture is fine. Ours are always out. We will be hitting -31°C with a windchill of at least -40 tonight. The cows are still out. Our cows don't freeze their teats. Some will at that temperature. It is about good breeding (for extra hair growth on the udder), and good feed.

    You will want to make sure that she has a windbreak and always has access to food & water and some bedding.

    I had never heard of a mobile milking parlor (so I looked it up). Our first cow would have never gone into one. She needed a day to inspect any changes (like even nailing 1 new little board in) before she would consider entering. A permanent place to milk was very important in her case.

    I would suggest that instead, just put up a simple uninsulated shed with no floor. Put a roof, walls of course, a window to both ends that opens for a cross breeze in summer, a place for the feed for the cow to eat while milking, and a way to secure her neck. We have a chain around the cow's neck that allows for a little movement. We clip this to another at the feed area for milking.

    The shed (ours is 12×12) should have a place for you to move around freely beside the cow. We have a platform above to hold a little straw. We have a gate beside the cows head to make a pen to bring a newborn calf in. It makes a new mom much more comfortable to have her calf close by while milking. It keeps her more calm. You need either a gutter or some way to allow manure & pee to collect for ease of cleaning, or have it sloped away for drainage. Straw should always be put at the back end of the cow. It makes it easier to clean up if this is done first.

    We have some cement pig slats as the floor at this point, but are considering rubber stall mats for over those. For years, it was just a dirt floor.

    We have a people door on one end (to outside the pasture) and a cow door (a dutch door style) going into the pasture on the other. We make little changes here & there.

    This set up would probably be cheaper in the long run.

    Now if you are selling milk, you may have very specific guidelines to follow that would require a more elaborate set up.

    I can send pictures at some point of what ours is like, if you'd like. We keep it simple. Some people may think that it is too basic, but it has worked for us.

  • Megan VenturellaMegan Venturella Posts: 409 ✭✭✭✭

    @LaurieLovesLearning Thank you, all of that is so valuable! I would love to see some pictures to get a good idea of what works for you. I may take a few pictures if I can to show you where I’m thinking and you can tell me if I’m being realistic. My thought is to build it in January and spend February giving her treats in it to get her accustomed to it.

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 3,874 admin

    @Megan Venturella I pm'd you some barn pictures with some info.

  • Megan VenturellaMegan Venturella Posts: 409 ✭✭✭✭
  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 3,874 admin

    Just an additional comment. Make sure that whatever/wherever you build, that it isn't in a place where water will run through or to.

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