How Much Barn?

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by Old John, Aug 27, 2004.

  1. Old John

    Old John Well-Known Member Supporter

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    May 27, 2004
    Location:
    Indiana
    Hi Y'all,

    Well, things are moving along, out here on Hummingbird Hill.
    But it looks like it'll be Spring before I can get things together
    to get me a couple or three bred Heifers & a feeder-calf to feed
    out. I'll have fence up by then.

    Now, How much "Barn" am I going to need for Galloway cattle?
    I know they are s'posed to be hardier than most of the other
    Breeds. Angus are also s'posed to be pretty hardy too, though.
    We're talking about both breeds.

    Would a three-sided shed type shelter, facing Southwest be
    enough? With maybe covered storage, at the end for hay?
    Maybe a 24'x36', 3-side, on a slab?
    We live in SW Indiana.They say Zone 5, but feels like zone 6 to me.
    Would we have to have a separate shelter set aside, for calving?
    I have to have an idea how much dollars I'm going to have laid-by
    to get it done.

    It might be a moot point by Spring, though. DSW is lobbying for a
    horse to ride around on, for which we would need a "real barn".
    I keep telling her an ATV would be more fun, and you don't
    have to clean up after them. Gasoline is easier to buy & store than
    hay. But, I can tell she's getting her heart & her head, set on horses
    too. So I know where it's going. Need a old draft horse, to carry my
    250#, hunnh.

    I AM going to have me some beef cows though!
     
  2. Allan Mistler

    Allan Mistler Just a simple man

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    Jun 1, 2004
    Location:
    Central New Hampshire
    John,
    Can't say I've ever been in Indiana, but up here in central New Hampshire I've raised Angus, Hereford and Holstein. We only have about two acres of pasture and I try to keep my cow bred each fall so that come Spring she'll calf out and that Fall the previous calf (at 16-18 mos) will go in the freezer. I started out with two holstein 4-H steers since they were very inexpensive ($150 ea) and I wanted to start preparing the newly cleared pasture area immediately. It also inspired me to put up the electric fence ($100 incl. charger) even before all the trees were cleared and motivated me to build the barn ($2,500 w/elec). I have a separate hay storage area for 300 square bales of hay each year ($3 ea) so I built the pole barn 16 x 24 feet and single story with a dug well and hand pump inside. It's more than enough room for the constant two head of cattle since they only spend serious storms in there. I placed a five foot long covered hay & grain feeder (built for about $100) in the pasture so unless they need a drink of water, they're outside.
    This avoids serious stall cleaning chores and provides a continual source of beef for our family. The cost from birth to freezer works out to $1.67/lb and there's not very much labor involved in cows.
    We prefer the Angus flavor but the Hereford are more personable if you like to spend time working with your breeding cow as we do. One point should be noted - we hand raise each calf thereby creating a relationship that allows for ease of handling in the future. This avoids having to provide alot more equipment come slaughter or breeding time. Besides, they're just plain old fun to work with in the woods!
     

  3. Wanda

    Wanda Well-Known Member

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    For what it's worth we have had cows that never saw the inside of a barn for a year at a time :cool: These cows had rolling timber land to shelter in and to break the wind. If cattle are fed well and can get out of the wind they can take a lot of cold! I am located due west of Indy so it is a little cooler than you are. The only ill results we saw were some frosted ears on really early calves :eek: Now I just put the bull in a little later and don't have to worry.
    Mr Wanda
    Mike
     
  4. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I live in the northern part of Indiana. We don't have hills high enough to slow down the wind. My beef cows were outside 24 hours every day of the year. There was some trees that they spent the winter nights on the east side of for some wind protection. I baled corn stalks in round bales. These were spread out where they spent the night each morning. They would eat about half of them during the day and sleep on the rest that night. Most of the calves came in March and April. Some come close to freezing before the cow got them licked dry and sucking. A little three sided shed would be very good for hay and a windbreak. Up here the open side works best facing east. If you have any trees or hills, any kind of cow that don't have her ribs showing can make it. Having the calves in warm weather makes it easier for you and the calf. Not to mention the poor old cow.
     
  5. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

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    I have to go with Uncle and Mike. The only time my cows go in a barn is so I can run them through the chute for shots, worming, etc.

    We have hills and trees for them to get out of the wind. They also can lay alongside the hay rings (that's where the little calves hang out).

    I usually have some feeder calves in the feedlot, which is flat and has no shelter. I put out round bales of straw for them to lay on when it's really cold. By spring, I have quite the mountian (hence the only name I could ever think of for my farm...manure mountain!), but the manure and straw compost under there and make quite the toasty bed for them.

    If things get muddy during calving, I will throw some straw bales out for the girls to calve on too. They are confined to relatively small space during the winter so it does get nasty sometimes. If they had all the pasture to calve, I wouldn't worry about it as they would find themselves a good spot (usually...there's always gotta be one that thinks it's a good idea to have a calf right next to the feedbunk where all the manure collects).

    I also do not store hay in anything. It is in large round bales and they are left in the field until needed. We do try to line them up on the edges, mostly so we don't get stuck trying to get them out in snow, mud, etc.

    Save your money to buy more cows! Or get that horse (talk about a money pit!)

    Jena
     
  6. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Jena, I had good luck using the round bales of corn stolks in the winter mud. The twine strings rot off the bottom by Christmas. I have two prongs that stick out in front of the loader and slip under the bales. They held together until I started bouncing the loader up and down. The stalks would dribble out the bottom between the prongs making a string of stalks about 80 feet long. Saved a lot of hay and made a nice bed that night. After three or four days of muddy weather they would have them tromped into the mud.
     
  7. bdfarmer

    bdfarmer Member

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    Aug 19, 2004
    Location:
    Hawaii
    Dear Old John and Friends,

    I think making decisions regarding "barn" design and construction can be approached from many angles such as climate (your cattle's needs) and what you're raising cattle for (your needs). Anyway, here's another perspective.

    It's interesting to be only 19.5 degrees from the equater with a nearly entirely different set of parameters to consider than y'all. Even at our 2,000 ft elevation the coldest it EVER gets on this edge on Mana Loa (the active volcano) is in the low 50's F in the wee hours of a "winter" morn. Our challenge isn't cold, but the rainy season. We can get rain daily for months, often massive amounts too. It's not uncommon to have up to 2 inches fall in less than a 24 hour period, day after day. On more than one occassion I've seen 7-10 inches fall in a few hours. A few years ago in Hilo (other side of the island and the wettest city in the US) they had over 36 inches in 24 hours. Talk about gully washers. Luckily the bulk of the rains in our little bit of paradise (up from Kealakekua Bay, where Captain Cook "landed") fall in the cooler part of the day (afternoons and nights). The ascending morning suns in the summer (slightly longer days) warm the Pacific and moist air rises up the mountain in the mornings. The air cools as it gets higher up and also the day cools (sun descends) which in turn falls back down the mountain dropping its condensed moisture (buckets of rain). Of course living cow hides and hooves don't fair well in constant wet and swampy muck.

    So I've constructed a sheet-metal rooved structure with rail sides, 10 ft wide and 60 ft long (we only have five head) to put them up at night (and milking and storage). This accomplishes a number of things. Gets them out of over 50% of a s__t load of rain and allows me to collect about 50% of their s__t (we're biodynamic/organic farmers) for composting for our gardens. I call my girls the farm's Nutrient Enrichment Program (the primary reason for having them).

    As they're mixed breed (Holstein/Charlaise with some introduction of Angus in a couple) handling twice daily (in and out of the stables) serves a couple more purposes, primarily milking. Our farm also is associated with a children's school where the kids come up on a regular basis, thus having "cows" that are pets from being handled (even brushed and haltered) twice a day are a real plus. Another advantage is being able to call them back when they go AWOL (away without leave). We only have poly-ribbon electric fencing on our ten acres. It occasionally goes down, mostly due to those massive rains. It's easy to hop or walk through anyway if you're a grass eater bored with a tired paddock and haven't been rotated to another one in as timely a fashion as you'd like.

    I don't have to hay for feed, but need a whole bunch af stable litter for all these nightly containments. Thus cutting and drying our grasses (which can easily grow over 10 ft if left unchecked) is a priority as a fertility/biomass management strategy. The draw back of course is the rains wreak havoc with cutting and drying. So I'm trying to get more "haying" done during the dry season. Unfortunately I have yet to be able to successfully keep our little ancient derelict of a tractor running long enough to put up enough "hay" to get us through the WET summers.

    Another bummer about this system is horn flies. Unlike temperate climates we have zero downtime for these or any other bugger you can think of. They of course abound in the wet season as they can breed just about anywhere they want to, especially in stable bedding! Being BD and organic our pest control options are limited. Hawaii doesn't permit the importing of the predatory wasps due to an appropriate, yet somewhat overdue, concern of what is referred to as, Invasion of Allien Species.

    Anyway, just another angle.

    Aloha, Farmer Phyl
     
  8. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hi Farmer Phyl
    Sounds like you need fly jackets for your cows. No I never seen any. They do have face covers made from screen to keep the flys off the horses face, How about making something like a horse blanket out of plastic screen to put on your cows. Maybe not - LOL _ UNK
     
  9. vtfarma

    vtfarma Well-Known Member

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    VT
    We are in VT - even on the coldest days of winter our cows stay out by choice. We raise Charolais, Simmental and Hereford. They go in in the spring some of the time when it is windy and rainy. The bulk of the rainy days they head for the trees. It has to be pretty raw to find them in there. This totals maybe a week out of the year.
     
  10. Old John

    Old John Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Location:
    Indiana
    Hi Y'all,

    Uncle Will, Mike, Jena, Wanda, Allen, Vtfarmer, Hawaii,
    & everyone, thanks loads, for the info.
    We'll prolly go with the 50/80 sq. haybales. Easier to handle,
    less equip. to buy.
    I mostly wants cattle to eat some of this grass, I'm mowing.
    We are getting there. but I'm not in a rush
    We go a buncha brush piles ground up yesterday.
    I just want a nice "place".
    More to cut today.
    Talk more later. Thanx again.