NOTE: All lumber is pressure-treated
Four 8' 4x4s
Fifteen 6' 2x6s
One 8' 2x6
Four 6' 2x4s
Two galvanized bolts with washers and nuts, 6" long
Galvanized nails (5+ lbs.) & screws, if desired
- The four corner posts are 8-foot 4x4s (all lumber is pressure-treated). You could definitely use shorter ones or cut them off to 7 feet.
- The floor supports are 6-foot 2x6s nailed inside the corner posts.
- The floor is made of 2x6s cut into 36" lengths. (You could use 12-footers cut into four pieces which is a bit cheaper and a bit more work, also requires a trailer to haul them home.)
- Six 2x6s made 12 floorboards. The floor area is 6' long and 36" wide.
- The floor is 7" high off the milking parlor floor.
- The two upper side braces (Herb's hand is resting on one) are nailed on the outside. They are 2x6s.
- The two lower side braces are nailed on the inside. The height is customized for me.
- The lintel brace is really a "header." It's nailed about 7' up, high enough for me to easily walk under.
- All the horizontal cross pieces at the head of the stanchion are 2x6s.
- The visible (inside) 2x6s are 36" long and are toe-nailed in between the corner posts.
- The outside (not visible) 2x6s are 42" long. They are cut from the one 8' 2x6. They are nailed on the far outside of the corner posts. These cross pieces are for structural support as well as to help hold the neck-catcher boards.
- The two neck-catcher boards are made from 2x4s and are 58" long.
- The two neck-catcher boards are held in place by the two 6" bolts, allowing them to pivot. Note that we put the smooth head of the bolt on the "cow side" of the stanchion. The parts that protrude is under the feed box so neither cow nor calf can get hurt on them.
- When the neck-catchers are moved in against the cow's neck, the two latches fold down on their hinges, holding the neck-catchers in place.
- The latch boards are made from scrap 2x4 lumber and are 10 and 3/4" long. They are attached with standard door hinges. I calculated them into the lumber list.
- The feed box is built from scrap lumber. If you use our list, you will probably need to buy extra lumber to build a feed box.
There is another angled brace above the lintel (header) brace where the cow enters, for a total of five angled braces.
- There is also a vertical nailer connecting a corner post to a rafter.
- We used scrap lumber for the braces, but I calculated their total length at about 12 feet of lumber, so I added one extra 12 foot 2x4 to the supply list.
The feed box is 22" x 23", sized to hold a large rubber feed tub. It is free-standing from the stanchion, although we built it so that the little piece of 2x4 you can see to the left of the lead rope rests on the horizontal support of the stanchion and also rests against the neck-catchers.
We pushed the feed box against the wall and moved the stanchion against it before nailing the stanchion to the ceiling.
It takes two of us to shift the stanchion, but it can be done with a fair amount of effort.
Here are some final dimensions:
- The milking parlor floor is 10'2" wide by 12'4" long.
- There are 43" of clearance on one side and 45" on the other.
- The stanchion is 22" from the wall and the feed box is in this space.
- There is a functional 33" width inside the stanchion for the cow. Siobhan enters this space with no problem now that she's used to there being food in there! If she should move too much from side to side, we can always add nailer boards on top of the side 2x6s to give her less room to move. However, Sara is wider than Siobhan and we want her to fit in here, too.
- The milking parlor floor is 10" high from the barnyard.
- The cow has 53" of space inside the milking parlor before she has to step up 7" into the stanchion.
- We can tie the calf to a corner post near the cow's head if desired, we can bring it around to nurse if needed to get her to let down, or we can leave it in the barnyard to the right of the side gate. The gate you see opened into the barnyard can swing around to close off the area next to the milking parlor.
I hope these plans are helpful for anyone considering building a milking parlor and stanchion for their Dexter (or similar-sized) cow. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in a comment. I receive notifications of any comments and try to answer them promptly. Feel free to link back to this post. If you'd like to use any of the photos, please be kind enough to ask my permission! These photos, the supply list, and the tutorial represent a LOT of work on my part in addition to Herb's labor building the stanchion and our custom adaptations to designs available on the internet! I'm willing to share and help others, but I'd like to receive credit (or blame) for our work!