Milking stanchion design

When we moved from Washington to Virginia, we had to sell our milk cow because she had given birth and was lactating so couldn’t be transported.  In addition, the cost to transport her was nearly the cost of a new cow.

The milking stallWhen we arrived, one of the first things we wanted was fresh milk and eggs.  To get ready, we had to make another milking stanchion in a stall near the house and fence in a field with good grass and water.  This time around, we had a couple of improvements I wanted to make based on our experiences hand milking a cow the past 3 years.

At Julie’s request, we built the stanchion in the middle of the stack instead of the corner so it would be possible for two people to milk at the same time – one on each side of the cow.  The second change was to make it a little stronger as once Belle had ripped it out of the wall and it had hung around her neck like a giant wooden necklace. 

The milking stall The final change was to put in a better way to latch the stanchion closed as my temporary solution last time was to use a piece of bailing twine tied in a loop around the two boards.  My plan was to drill a hole in the top of the pivot board and put a heavy wire through it so that it the loop could drop over the fixed board holding it in place.  Then I saw a clever solution at the farm where we bought our new milk cow that just had a piece of 2×4 hinged so that it would fall down and block the vertical board from opening.  You can see this detail in the top right corner of the stanchion.  After using it for a week now, it is a much better solution than the bailing twine!

Other notes on the design.  We had a stack of 4′ long 2"x4" that had been left behind.  These and a box of wood screws with a battery operated drill with a screw driver bit made building this stanchion very inexpensive and very easy.  I put it all together with no screws to just see how I wanted the bracing.  Once I was happy with the design, I screwed it together right in place.  I had to cut off a couple of the braces that at the face and the block that keeps the stanchion closed but that was it.

The metal trash cans hold the 50# bags of grain and a bag of a seaweed based mineral supplement.  There is a black rubber tub on the floor just below the open part of the stanchion (you have to look closely in the picture).  I just  scoop her grain from the bag in the trash can right into the rubber tub and then sprinkle the sea weed on to of the grain and let her in.

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One Response to Milking stanchion design

  1. Darcy Menard says:

    I too, designed and modified our stanchion based on experience and trial-and-error. From what I can see, our designs are very similar. We started with a floor, but removed it because our cow was slipping too much on it. We use a bolt and nut to keep the stanchion closed–same principle but slightly different approach. I like the simplicity of your latch. One other thing we started with but soon removed were the unnecessary side rails. Here’s some pictures, if anyone’s interested in seeing:

    http://stumblinghomestead.com/blog/2010/09/building-and-rebuilding-a-milking-stanchion/

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