Friday, May 13, 2011

2011 Projects-Phase 2: The Patio!

Arrival of the feed bunks! Another muddy day!

So much rain meant Jon had to work in the rain a lot! Dedicated to get the job done!

Finished project!  Happy Cows! Success!
Since late March, we have been working diligently to start and finish our second project for 2011.  We wanted to do this project last November, but thanks to our lovely Minnesota winters, we were greeting with snow a little too early.  Late March we started moving dirt, poured concrete in April, laid the bunks in place in April, welded gates & fencing in April and let the cows out for their first night on the patio just before May began!  Our patio was inspired by a visit at a fellow dairy farmer's farm, Laura Daniels of Wisconsin.  Laura had a patio on her farm for her Jersey cows to roam out to, which allowed her to add more eating space for her cows.  BRILLIANT IDEA!  We saw this idea in October, and wanted to add it immediately, but there were some hoops to jump through...all dairy farmers have to do some serious planning before a project, even a smaller one like this.

First we started to lay out the "floor plan".  We then contacted the local county office to visit with our County Feedlot Inspector.  Our inspector came to the farm for a visit in November to check the site, overview our plans and give the "go-ahead" to start.  The primary concern for the county, with outdoor feeding, is manure run off.  We designed the patio with curbs and bumpers which keep the manure from running away, even in a heavy rain storm.  Next we contacted local contractors to bid the project and worked with our banker to secure financing.  So...why did we add this patio?!?!?! 

Easy!  We have more heifers calving each month, and we have a very low cull rate (percent of cows removed from the herd via sale), therefore each month our herd grows with additional cows-the result of excellent animal care!  Our growing herd had plenty of space in our bedded pack barn for laying down, resting and sleeping, but as we add cows the amount of feed bunk space got lower and lower.  We managed around this by pushing up feed frequently each day, as well as feeding twice a day.  The cows never ran out of feed, but the competition for feed increased.  Research recommends 24 inches of space per we added the patio.  The patio also allowed the cows to go outside to enjoy the sun and get a little exercise.  They enjoy the sun shining in on the south side of our curtain barn, but this was an added bonus!  Even on a rainy day, there's at least a couple standing out there!  Check out the pictures of the progress that got us to our final goal!  Ultimately, the new Patio allows us to continue the excellent care our cows get everyday!


  1. This is a very nice patio. I and my family live on a tiny farm (14 acres) in SC. We have had one cow (well, actually two but...that's a longer story), but we really deal with just goats right now. Cows take more space and fencing than we can afford right now. But I love cows - my sister and I both do - and I'd love to have a dairy. I'm glad I found your blog - it's a nice inside view of things! Thanks! May Jesus bless you!

  2. April: Thanks so much! I am glad you found my blog as well! If you have a question about anything please ask! God bless another cow lover!

  3. I like your farm. As my sister mentioned, we both love cattle. We love livestock, and caring for them well has always been our aim. It makes me so happy to see that you love yours too. :) May Jesus Christ bless your efforts, friends!

  4. Carra: May God Bless you as well! Thank you for reading, we definitely LOVE our cows here!


I write this blog to share my passion for my cows and farming, please be respectful of that. I reserve the right to delete those comments which portray hate, call names, and are out right disrespectful. If you have an honest question, I will respond, to explain what we do on our farm, why we do it and how we do it. Please read with an open mind. My time to blog is short, as most of our days are spent caring for our beloved cows. Thank you!