Retrofitting an old barn.. It is actually enjoyable..

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by JeffNY, Jan 9, 2005.

  1. JeffNY

    JeffNY Seeking Type

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    Well starting last Monday we started to rip out the old stuff that worked when Stanchions were common, and when the cows were small. I have got to say, for a small barn (compared to others), there was a lot of metal. The pictures ive posted are actually after we did tear a little into it, but IMO it is what it would look like in the old days when the dividers were installed, etc. The barn above can fit 7000 bales, a cement silo (was a wooden silo wayyyy back) is on the south end. The first picture is facing south. The gutter is also an old design, 14.5-15" wide, vs one at our other farm that is 18" wide. The stall is 56" long, however with good ol gutter grates we will fix that problem! The best part of this, when it is all done, it will be good for the cows, will be easy to work around, and will be 10x stronger/better than before. Stanchions don't allow for lunge room, and a cow typically needs 24" of lunge room (it does range, but thats the norm). The fact the Holsteins now adays are bigger, and even Jerseys are bigger than years ago. Our neighbor has the old genetics, they are about as big as our Herefords. After looking at the holsteins ive seen, it is amazing the difference in size. The vet we use did say they are bigger and he said "get Jerseys". Thing is, I don't think he figured in the gutter grates, that gives a nice 72" platform which is bigger than others ive seen. Without further typing here are the pictures.


    [​IMG]
    This is facing south as said above, those dividers are gone now, and the stanchions are gone, it looks better without those already :).
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    Down a little further, towards the south end, all of the metal in that picture, that is in the pile is outside waiting for a nice day to head to the dump.
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    This is looking north, notice the difference in the curb, that was added in after the northern end of the barn. In fact the southern end of this barn was moved from a place up the road from here a LONG time ago, not sure if you can see in the pictures but those are railroad tracks for some of the supports.
    [​IMG]
    This is looking north, on the east side of the barn. Those dividers aren't going anywhere as of yet, deciding what I am going to do with that part. It might be a spot to set hay, or straw when I begin milking so I don't have to throw hay down every day.


    I will have more pics and post them here, ill take pics before the Stanchion mounts are cut to size for the new dividers. Then ill include pics with the dividers in, and the tie rail. Then the grates, then rubber mats, and to finish it off. Water bowls and water line. I am not using the tie rail as the water line. Anyone ive talked with says its not a good idea, as that line could break by chance, then you have a flood! Besides, makes it easier to keep things seperate..


    Jeff
     
  2. dosthouhavemilk

    dosthouhavemilk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    All those lovely stanchions are going to a dump?! :eek: Wish you lived closer...we could probably make use of most fo them. Some of our current stanchions have seen better days.
    I cannot believe all those dividers were still standing. In our barn there is one still in place and another one that is barely hanging on and simply stops Sandy from going into the stanchion next to hers. :rolleyes: Other than that they are long gone.
    When my grandfather redid our current barn he made the platforms five feet long. Much longer than anything anyone had for their cows back then. Thank goodness! Our cows (Jerseys and Jersey/Norwegian red crosses)are much much bigger now and some of them are barely fitting in them. Which is one of the reasons we want only 14-16 cows in the barn in winter. They have more space to lay and lunge. We have four empty stalls and four cows coming in at the end of this month. :no: Too full and makes for unhappy cows and humans.
    Our cows don't generally have much trouble getting up with the stanchions. But most of the stanchions are not secured at the bottom any more. There are also a couple of cows who are simply tied...and one who isn't even tied.

    Quite the undertaking you have been doing there!
     

  3. DaleK

    DaleK Well-Known Member

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    That looks pretty much like the middle part of our barn did 30 years ago. I think your vet was right about the Jerseys, it may SEEM like gutter grates will add length to the stalls but then the manure ends up behind the gutter and you have to push it all under the grates constantly or it'll be backing up onto the grate and onto the cows. Plus it doesn't look like there's much height difference from the walk to the platform so you'll probably have to lift the grates everytime you push manure in.
    I don't know of anybody here who doesn't put the water in the neckrail anymore. You usually use a 2" pipe, so there's no way it's breaking. We've had ours in for 10 years now for 3/4 of our stalls and the waterlines have never broken, although the other stalls that still have separate lines break every 2-3 months and flood the barn even though we replace all those pipes every 2 years.
    How are you going to ventilate it? It looks like there are only a handful of small fans there, which is going to make it hard to keep pneumonia out in the winter. It looks like it would be nice to tunnel ventilate if both ends are free but it sounds like the silo is outside one end? That would foul that idea up.
     
  4. JeffNY

    JeffNY Seeking Type

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    dosthouhavemilk,



    No no, the dividers, and the old metal etc is going to the dump. The Stanchions however are going in a vaccant house at one of the farms, im keeping those incase anyone needs any. They are in decent shape actually, rusted but still strong. The length of the stall is just under 5', however I was in a barn with some rather large Holsteins and their platform was 10" longer than mine, and I didn't see any down in the gutter, was surprised. The dividers are in there, and no amount of bending will break them. Cutting through the bottom of them is nasty, metal is quite strong. Some of them seemed to be added later, and are junk.


    Dalek,


    When this barn had 50 animals they never had any troubles, plenty of air got in the barn. There is a fan, but its dead, it died a long time ago and will be replaced. I will likely add two fans on that end. The fan is on the silo end, but you can't see it due to a board covering up the hole (gets rid of drafts). The amount of animals in there will be far less than 50. It will be 17, 14 one side, 3 remaining on the other down on the southeastern end. So there will be enough to give warmth for the nasty pipe freezing days, and not tooo many on days when its warm. Besides, if its toooo warm there will be some additional barn fans etc. That barn down below is warmer without cows during the winter, and cooler in the summer than outside. The grates will have a 5" drop, which leaves a decent space to push the manure under the grate. Grate removal will be when I need to fix a link. However even if I decide to get rid of the rubber over the grate idea, it leaves me with tons of room, and the manure will go through the grate. With the cows we had in the barn in the springs for calving, the manure content isn't all that bad. But these guys will be going outside during the day (unless its 0 out), and be inside at night, unless its tooo darn warm in the late summer and spring. But in this barn if it was tooo stuffy, you could have a fan at one end, one at the other and have a flow of air through the entire length of the barn. Either way, the barn according to a guy that worked here wayyy back when there was 50 animals, it was a very comfortable barn to work in. But 50 animals vs 17, big difference. Not only that, the room they will have will reduce other problems.



    Jeff
     
  5. dosthouhavemilk

    dosthouhavemilk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Heh, all you need are a couple of very stubborn cows for those dividers....lol :haha: At least that is what did in the dividers here. They do seem like they would be pretty tough to break loose. Barn looks similar to ours. Though we have space and windows on either side of our silo, so air flow isn't a big problem, except around back in the winter. It is a bank barn and works well when it comes to temperatures.
    That first photo looks pretty much like the school farm's bank side, without all the dividers. But the ceiling and support system looks just about identical. The feed alley is bigger and the manger on the other side is newer and they put self latching head gates on the opposite side of the stanchions.

    Quite fascinating how similar they really are considering the distance between them.
     
  6. JeffNY

    JeffNY Seeking Type

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    Well back in the day, which was before our time! They all thought alike, and to bad that same thinking is gone. That thinking is, build it heavy, build it strong so it lasts! These barns are beasts compare to the new 4x4 and 6x6 supported barns. The beams outlast treated lumber it seems. The trees they used are far and few between now adays, and the fact the beams are so huge. Those boys back then must of had a decent back, even with the techniques involved.


    The ventilation on the southern end is actually quite nice. There will be after im done, two fans vs one. On the side where the silo is, there are two windows that open in for air. The chute will be closed up, but the north end has two windows, and those im going to hinge so I can open them for air flow on warmmmmm spring days. It does breathe nice, and the fact the hay acts as feed and insulation up above, it helps! The grain bin is also built into the barn, its wood. I was talking with a grain supplier, and he said thats good because he reduces moisture. Not only that, the grain bin is under a hay mow, so no moisture. I am going to modify the grain chute so it opens easier. The metal is rusted, old and doesn't slide, and my mother said they had problems with it before, getting it shut.

    But those dividers, sure they all mess up, but the neck rail will be supported by the main supports as well. I am after strength, and no cob job in this barn. Ive seen what an animal can do when it wants out, had one last spring (she was high strung) go through the side of the barn. No we didn't ship her, she is calm now (calf did her some good).


    Here are pics after the dividers are gone.. Yes, it was fun doing this, ha! Nothing like metal smell..


    [​IMG]
    I tried something different, so the lighting was better. I am not sure if you can see, but the old barn fan is wayyyy down there.

    [​IMG]
    Cleaned up, and IMO it looks 10x better already, and I haven't even started! I love starting with fresh, it allows me to open up a can of whoop ass on it, and customize awaY!. These cows are going to be some happy bovine.



    Jeff
     
  7. Valmai

    Valmai Well-Known Member

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    JeffNY Thanks for posting those pictures. We dont house our cows over here and I was lost when you guys started talking barns etc. So this is where your cows will live in winter? Do you put down bedding? Is there enough room for them to lie down? Will you put in new dividers? Do you chain/tie the cows into the stalls or do they just hang out where ever their fancy takes them? Is the milking shed attached? Sorry for all the questions but this is all new to me.
     
  8. petefarms

    petefarms Well-Known Member

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    jeffny, just curious as to what part or ny you live in, upstate, east, west?
     
  9. DaleK

    DaleK Well-Known Member

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    What did you end up doing for dividers Jeff? I've never seen stanchion frames bent at the top like that, they look good enough that you could probably have just cut them off, welded plates on and turned them sideways to use as your dividers.
     
  10. JeffNY

    JeffNY Seeking Type

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    Valmai,



    To answer your questions in order.


    So this is where your cows will live in winter?: No, this is the milking barn, from June to August they will be out in pasture 24 hours a day. When they are milking, they will stay in at night to control their feed intake then. Then they will go outside during the day IF its not super cold where my barn cools down and pipes freeze. However the basic regime is, out during the day, in at 3:30, milked at 5pm and 5am. They would be outside between 8am and 3:30pm. This gives them excercise, and allows me to situate the barn for the evening. With 17, its going to be easy to lay down feed.

    Do you put down bedding?: Yes, the mats act as a cushion over the cement, it also reduces bacteria, etc. However, the bedding needed is reduced quite a bit. Say you would normaly put down a foot of bedding, you can reduce that by 75%. The bedding goes from comfort, to soaking moisture, etc..

    Is there enough room for them to lie down?: Yes, 66" from the curb to the center of the gutter grate is more than what most barns have. That is 5 1/2 feet. There is a grate over the gutter, and it will prevent them from stepping down, it gets rid of the worry of stepped on teats. Also they will have 6' of side to side room (holsteins), with the Jersey's getting 48". So they will have a ton of room.

    Will you put in new dividers?: Yep! In fact I am having them custom made for my needs, they will look something like this.

    [​IMG]

    3" square tube, with a thick wall. The divider will be welded to the square tube (Divider is a cut down free stall divider). The small loop towards the manger will hold the water bowls, and the tie rail. The main support will be bolted to the supper pole in place, then cement will be put inside the entire support. So in other words, the support will be beyond strong.

    Do you chain/tie the cows into the stalls or do they just hang out where ever their fancy takes them?: This is a tie stall configuration, the old design was stanchion and stanchions do not allow for lunge room. The cow would therefor strain, and not get up with ease. The roaming around is usually in a freestall barn. The cows are let in, they lay down wherever they please.

    Is the milking shed attached?: Yes, the old old old picture shows they used to have the milk house away from the barn. But they got smarter, and rebuilt one that is part of the barn. There is only one entrance from the front, and it is through the milk house. The milk house is easy access from the road, it is only 50 yards from the road, so its quite easy for the truck to back in, etc.

    It is one hell of a setup, you could literally close every door of the barn, and not have to leave to get feed, because the hay is above, silo is attached. I've seen other setups, but this seems kinda rare (whoever set things up, was thinking :).


    petefarms,


    I live east of Saratoga Springs, about 15 minutes east, and about 10 minutes or less from the VT border.


    Dalek,


    The divider daigram is above, and it was a decent price. Custom made, it will cost me $90 a piece. Funny part, more metal but costs less. I think that has to do with the fabrication process being simple, all welded vs, hole drilling, more bending etc.



    But man I can't wait till its done, not because of the work, but I like a nice clean finished product. It will be hopefully by March 1st, as far as the majority of it. I also need it for the herefords when we give them their rabbies vaccine. I reallllly could have used it now, had a cow crack her hoof, because of a darn hay feeder (metal bend up, and got her). Let me tell ya, don't get feeders with those fence like grates on the bottom, they dont finish them right, and are dangerous. She I hope will be fine, small herd and we don't give up easy. Worse of all, it happened when I needed that pen! For the holsteins that came Sunday.


    Jeff
     
  11. Valmai

    Valmai Well-Known Member

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    Okay, now I may appear a little dense but.... So they walk in in the evening get chained in (with plenty of room so they can stand or lay down) facing inwards? The center isle will be where the feed is? The milking cups would hang from the ceiling 'sort of' above the grate? You would have a restraining bar or chain across the back? Looks like you would have to get down on your knees to put the cups on?
    Or am I totally barking up the wrong tree?? :no:
     
  12. DaleK

    DaleK Well-Known Member

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    Jeff whatever you do don't put cement in the support posts. It will just trap moisture inside and between that and the lime it will rust them from the inside out.

    We moved a bunch of 5" round posts in the barn that had been in for 20 years. Half had cement in them. The empty ones were still solid but as we were setting the cemented ones down they all shattered, the steel was rusted out to the point where you could stick your finger through it. I was just glad we hadn't tried putting hay in the mow over them for a while.
     
  13. JeffNY

    JeffNY Seeking Type

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    The main supports in the barn have cement in them, and they are still quite strong. Where they had dividers, you can see the cement.

    Valmai,


    So they walk in in the evening get chained in (with plenty of room so they can stand or lay down) facing inwards?: Yes, this barn is configurated like that, they face each other.

    The center isle will be where the feed is?: Yes

    The milking cups would hang from the ceiling 'sort of' above the grate?: Well the milker itself will be a portable milker, there will be a vaccum line that will be used for the dumping station. The dumping station is a device that you pour the milk into, and it sucks it back to the tank. I am not going to install a milk line, because a small herd doesn't justify the extra electric cost, water, etc for 17 animals initally.


    You would have a restraining bar or chain across the back?: No, but if you did you could be in for some major problems, cow could stumble on it, get caught up etc. They don't exist to my knowledge behind animals. The gutter grates keep them from stepping into the gutter, and gives more room.

    Looks like you would have to get down on your knees to put the cups on?: No, in order to put the milker on the cow, you bend down. You could get on one knee, the mattresses ill be using are soft, so your knees would thank you.

    Or am I totally barking up the wrong tree??: Naaa, if I can help someone I will..


    Jeff