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NellieBelle Posted - Jul 07 2014 : 10:57:43 AM
My Jersey Heifer will be calving very soon. I am looking for a "side rail", like is pictured in MaryJane Butter's new book, "Milk Cow Kitchen". This will be heifer's first time being milked and I would feel safer if I had a side rail in which I could use for flank rope or hobble. Any help or information is appreciated. Thank you!
25   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
maryjane Posted - Oct 28 2016 : 06:26:57 AM
I don't know of any on the market, Ginger.
GingerBKelly Posted - Oct 28 2016 : 06:21:53 AM
Oh and yes, it's really adorable to see the lovely comments about "lover boy" and Cindy. Your personalities shine and it's so sweet to read about. Yes, a color coordinated cape is an excellent idea. Go for it!
GingerBKelly Posted - Oct 27 2016 : 11:18:38 AM
Ohhhh....excellent. I just found this post, and the pdf of the side bar. Thank you, Mary Jane. We could really use a side bar. So I see that you had yours made. Nice! Do you know if there is any of these (side rails) on the market, somewhere?
CloversMum Posted - Feb 08 2016 : 7:51:36 PM
Cindy, it is so fun to see the love that is between you and your hubby! :) You guys sound like you have a lot of fun together!! Blessings upon blessings...
txbikergirl Posted - Feb 08 2016 : 4:25:08 PM
he he he. i'm not sure he'll like pink and yellow... but i AM sure he'd look good in tights to go with that cape, all super hero's gotta wear tights!
CloversMum Posted - Feb 08 2016 : 10:25:03 AM
Just make sure the cape coordinates with the stool cover and the rest of the milking parlor!
txbikergirl Posted - Feb 08 2016 : 08:47:07 AM
if you keep talking lover boy up like this mary jane i may just have to put a cape on the man! we have actually talked about stubbing out that one post, so great minds think alike. once we get the summer kitchen farther along we'll move back to the milking parlor and see what we want to do.
maryjane Posted - Feb 08 2016 : 06:25:22 AM
Shucky darn, Cindy. Anyway. You are too kind. Do you think you could build the stub wall out where the hinges attach? Bolt more wood to it? Maybe a couple of 4x4s drilled all the way through and then bolted together? Perhaps Wonder Boy, I mean Lover Boy has some ideas.

Andrea0509 Posted - Feb 07 2016 : 9:16:55 PM
Thanks Mary Jane for the advice on this!

Thanks for the perspective on safety/kicking Cindy. I agree, we definitely have to be aware of what our animals are doing when we work with them. The sweetest cow could easily kick at something like a nasty biting fly, and we need to be alert and on our game even when we think a kick couldn't happen.

Charlene, I will definitely post pictures :) I've loved seeing everyone else's side rails on here.
CloversMum Posted - Feb 07 2016 : 2:18:21 PM
Andrea, when you get your side rail constructed, we'd all love to see pictures. It is so great to see how everyone's set up works.
txbikergirl Posted - Feb 07 2016 : 11:42:28 AM
miss mary jane - NO apologies for all your help! you/I discussed shortening it thinking maybe we could improve things - it was a great idea that didn't necessarily do what we thought. it isn't a danger for us, i just wouldn't recommend it for others. we know our gal sally isn't a kicker so i don't think she'll do herself harm - and i am starting all the others off young so think they'll be fine in it too.

i think you are the only one mary jane that would bust your tail doing everything for everyone else then apologize for the one minor thing that wasn't perfect ;> i appreciate you!! you actually ordered, coordinated, picked up and paid for that siderail for me per our discussions - my goodness you did so much for us that we can never thank you enough.

yes andrea, her siderail is perfect and create it as is. i don't even look at it as "safety" from a kicking cow. sally is just about as perfect as she can be, and we are training elsa to be also. but how about that fly or two that gets in when you are milking and bites or annoys them at the imperfect time - and they don't mean to kick, just to get rid of the fly. i am never afraid my girls will kick me, i am concerned about the minor unrelated thing that happens at the wrong time with me in the way...
maryjane Posted - Feb 07 2016 : 03:21:01 AM
I wouldn't change the height or length, Andrea. The way is it in the drawings provided work fine for all sizes of cows, which is perfect. Mine also works for bringing in small heifers for training to get them ready and trained for milking. It even worked for my big girl Fanci.

Cindy, I can't remember the circumstances that led to yours being shorter. I remember getting measurements of your stock trailer thinking we might be able to make it work in there but then it wouldn't. If I'm the reason it's shorter, I apologize.
Andrea0509 Posted - Feb 05 2016 : 8:53:26 PM
Thanks ladies! I can't wait to have one to use not only for the daily milking routine, but also for the next several months before she's in milk, as a safe place to use for handling her. I currently don't have any place like that, not even a stall, so this will change everything drastically once it's up! Sydney, I'm feeling the same way with the kicking possibility with Percy. Although she's never kicked me before, she's a bit of a spitfire and having this rail gives me such a peace of mind!

Mary Jane, do you have any suggestions regarding height alterations?
Sydney2015 Posted - Feb 05 2016 : 8:10:50 PM
For sure, AppleButter also loves to kick(I wouldn't say loves but...). I don't want it take my chances with her.
CloversMum Posted - Feb 05 2016 : 8:05:48 PM
It was great to have, especially as we were newbies and I personally had never been around a cow. I also think it reminds me daily how important it is to be careful and wise around our animals.
Sydney2015 Posted - Feb 05 2016 : 6:37:02 PM
I agree, I will always hobble AppleButter. I love the design of the side rail. It seems so much safer than not having one.
CloversMum Posted - Feb 05 2016 : 5:33:39 PM
I'm not sure about the question regarding a miniature cow ... I'll let someone else chime in!

But we had ours made just like MaryJane's and the bar does not get in the way of hand milking. I feel so much safer with the side rail. Even when the cows are being good, if I pinch a teat or startle her, I don't want to get kicked. Safety is a priority. We also hobble the cows, no matter if they have never kicked or not. Safety first.
txbikergirl Posted - Feb 05 2016 : 5:30:53 PM

the siderail is AMAZING! I truly love it. mary jane has a mini cow and can speak to the siderail alterations for mini cows in general, but i'll speak to length.

sally is a "mid-size" (48.50 inches at the withers) and so we had the siderail length shortened a few inches, but not the height. i have to admit for sally the length should NOT have been shortened those inches. if you see the photo below, her back foot sits right at the rear wheel (its even worse than it looks). so on the hobble there isn't even room to connect the other cuff - so we just attached a rope to the cuff and put a bolt in the wall and attach it there. but the real issue is that with her rear foot right on the wheel, she has twice hit her dew claws and chipped one. not bad, but enough for me to think about. i can tell you that i would keep the length of the siderail the same no matter the cow, as i don't think the length is a big issue. then you have more options in the future.

for me, i would use this same siderail length for mini's as well.

with regard to sydney's hand milking, the only thing i think about is leaning into the cow to make contact. lover boy is taller than i and it works better for him to lean in as his shoulder fits between the two horizontal rails - me not so much. so i can lean into her rear leg, but not as easily. but since i use the udderly ez milker i tend to sit back and rub her pregnant belly during milking so it works for me ;> does everyone sit and talk to their cow's baby belly?

Sydney2015 Posted - Feb 05 2016 : 4:06:54 PM
Thanks for bringing this up, Andrea! I have been wondering about this. Does anyone know how well it works for hand-milking? I might want to make it higher so the bar doesn't get in the way. It will be in my future milking parlor(it is hopefully going to be completed in the next year).
Andrea0509 Posted - Feb 05 2016 : 11:47:02 AM
I've been reading up on everyone's input regarding Mary Jane's side rail design. I'm planning on having one made for Percy. I'm wondering about the size on the plans Mary Jane posted. She's a mini, 41" tall. I don't ever plan on having a large cow on our little farm (with 2 acres, small animals are pretty much a must around here!), so I'm wondering what you'd all think the measurements should be for the height. Should I shorten it some? And are there any other adjustments in length or anything else that should be considered? Thank you!
Ron Posted - Oct 23 2014 : 8:49:40 PM
I don't know about a pioneer, maybe an idiot but I didn't know any better at the time. No water close by. Can't get anyone to come out here with a trencher or backhoe. Last winter was something hauling water pails about 100 yards for the cows. Some of the extreme cold and windy days there was no good way to do it. The sled kept blowing over in the wind even with four pails on it. Best part was I loved it!
CloversMum Posted - Oct 23 2014 : 8:44:25 PM
Thank you Ron. You sound like a true pioneer! Although I guess you'd need to be milking by the light from a lantern, instead of headlights! :-) Your converted equipment shed sounds similar to what MaryJane started with...a converted single-car garage, I think she said in her book. I am grateful to have a water faucet close by so keeping fresh, thawed water should be easier this hauling water buckets (as long as the faucet itself doesn't freeze!). Another dream is to have one of those bar-bar A horse waterers that MaryJane talks about in her book.
Ron Posted - Oct 23 2014 : 8:27:13 PM
Well Charlene it beats my place hands down. Used to just have a lean to on the prairie and milk out in the open by headlights in the winter. Now we are using a converted equipment shed with gravel floor. I clean out the heavy stuff two times a day and the entire place twice a year on a good year. Most put down lime after it is clean we use a little diatomaceous earth and then the clean bedding.

Your place looks real nice to me! At least our animals do not walk or bed in their droppings and always have dry bedding out of the wind and fresh food and water. Three times a day on the water in winter. It freezes pretty fast and can't power a tank heater on solar.
CloversMum Posted - Oct 23 2014 : 8:18:37 PM
Thanks, guys! I am definitely partial to my Clover. And, yes our shelter is dry and positioned just right so the wind doesn't blow into it during the wintertime...quite snug, actually. However, there is no power nor a concrete floor...all in good time, though.
Ron Posted - Oct 23 2014 : 2:42:09 PM
That is about a nice looking cow as well. Sure love that Jersey look.