A milking stanchion

AND so he built a milking stanchion. Because no self respecting body, except for the odd cow, wanted to be out in the gardens or the fields yesterday. The wind was horrible. Later in the morning the rain cleared out and back came Mistress Wind and she was in a Howler of a mood. Sending us all scuttling for cover.  So John took cover in the barn – my barn – and built us a milking stanchion. Stanchion is a French word I think. Stand is probably a more American word?

pig hut

Meanwhile- the weather was so grim that I thought I had lost the kunekune but they were both tucked up in the back of their hut. Snug – and grumpy at being bothered by me crawling into the hut and peering over their straw bale wall to see if everything was alright.  “Of course everything is bloody alright,” Timatanga Moana grumbled, muttering on about the damn cold wind and can you please get that damn ugly slobbery dog out of my bedroom.  (You can tell they come from New Zealand stock). I looked back to find Boo peering politely over my shoulder. He looked at me and I looked at him and lifting our paws lightly we both backed out  – not wanting to tangle with a grumpy pig.

“She is looking awfully fat.” whispered  Boo as we both moved in tandem, in reverse, on all fours, out of the hut.

“I don’t know why,” I said, “I never give her any grain.”

“I can hear you..!”  Tima called out to us. “I am right here you know!”

“Snort.” said TonTon. Who was very sensibly waiting three steps back from the door of the Kunekune hut moving even further back to let our bottoms out.


You see John  had the day off, because of all the rain, so he set to and remade the hay feeder in the milking shed  into a milking stanchion.  (I realise now how spoilt I was with Daisy in her good days before she got sick. She would just stand in the milking shed, I did not even need to chain her up.   Though there must have been a training period. But I can’t remember  it).


The Stanchion (or Stand) is a gap that the cow puts her head through, with two upright bars on either side of her neck, one of which will slide across and close around her so she can comfortably eat and move her head about, but she cannot back up.  Remarkably this made a great deal of difference to Lady A. Once secured she began to eat her sunflower and oat treats. And each time she lifted her foot to kick, (only four times this session) I sung “Lift.” and John lifted her tail in warning and she put her foot back down. Then I  sung”Down.” and he relaxed.  Each of these directives was told in the same sing song voice I use to talk to the cow.  It would probably sound quite bonkers to the outsider. But all she is learning is repercussions. She kicks – her tail is lifted by some unseen force. Foot down  – tail down.

(On the right of the screen -above- will be the goats milking platform but we do not need to worry about building this stanchion and platform until this coming winter- first things first). “First things first.” is such a sensible saying, don’t you think?

This is not an overnight fix. Lady A is in training now.  It takes a good two or three weeks to train a cow sometimes longer so she and I can work as a team without Our John the reluctant policeman.   Cows are not dogs, they are not terribly clever, so if we do the same thing in the same order every evening we will develop our understanding.  I am determined that Lady and I will work together. Her udder is lovely.  Her calf is lovely.  We will work it out. We have time.  Milking season has only just begun!


Mr Flowers is such a calm peacock. No eggs yet though.  Soon maybe?

I hope you have a lovely day.

Love your friend on the farm, (and everybody needs a friend with a farm! So do not hesitate to set up a time to visit – you are one of The Fellowship of the Farmy after all!).

love celi



41 Comments on “A milking stanchion

  1. Morning Ms Celi – yes it was cold yesterday and that wind – I thought winter was back! I wore my winter coat to walk out and get the mail and the furnace was on in the house!! I had to laugh about you checking the Kunes!!! And Boo over your shoulder and Ton close by – now that would’ve been the photo shot of the rear of the year!!!!!! John is quite the Guy!! Keep him around for awhile!!!

  2. Celi, I would be over in a heartbeat to visit if I could but alas the oceans are just a little too big.
    Have a beautiful day and happy cow training.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  3. The image in my head of you and Boo backing out of Tima’s bedroom has me laughing as I start my day. Thanks, Miss C! xo

  4. Wouldn’t miss my visit for anything, ever. Hope you have a calm sunny day today. Aaah Daisy, all the future cows will have biiig hooves to fill 🙂 Laura

  5. First things first: stanchion in English meanis support, for which the French is étançon. or a cattle stanchion is “étai montant”. There you are.

    I’m glad Lady A is settling down and getting educated. We can’t have her kicking our Celie!

    Sorry you’re having such attrocious weather. I’ll refrain from describing how gorgeous it is here just now!

    ViV xox

  6. Slow, sure, repetition certainly sounds like the way to do the milking Celi! She’ll ‘get with the program’ by and by! xo

  7. Tail up, tail down…that intrigues me…why should it make a difference to a cow…don’t they like their bottoms exposed to the air.
    Talking of bottoms. I bet it was a hilarious sight with your bottom and Boo’s bottom reversing from the Kunekune house….shame there was nobody there to take a picture…..
    Thank you once again for the absolutely wonderful tale of the Farmy…if I lived in USA I would definitely come on a visit….I might not be much good at work due to age but I could easily give all the animals a cuddle
    Have a great day…and if by some chance the raindrops should fall upon you , think of them as gift from Heaven ( we had hailstones today followed by sunshine)

  8. My dad always had the radio on in the barn during milking time. For some reason, in the back of my mind, I am remembering that cows like music, that it soothes them.

  9. I may have missed it-Are you keeping Lady A? Sounds like you have worked it out! And I love the Kune story, is there a similar saying about letting sleeping pigs lie?

  10. I’m so glad Lady A is willing to learn! Everyone will be the better for it, including her.

  11. Poor John….. I hope the Lady remains a Lady and doesn’t have an ‘accident’ when her tail is lifted. 😦

    Mr Flower is so dang handsome!!!!

  12. Just yesterday after reading your post about milking Lady A, I wondered why you don’t have a stanchion for milking and, voila!, now you have. I hope she takes to the training soon. Enjoy all that lovely milk.


  13. Good morning, Ms C. 🙂
    stanchion — I had to look it up because I always thought it was simply a post, and it appears it is that but also has a second definition of “a restraining device fitted loosely around the neck of a cow to confine it to its stall.” You learn something new every day 🙂
    And you’re correct, it comes from the Old French ‘estanchon’, probably from ‘estance’, the act of standing upright. Seems it’s a Middle English word, from the Old French with likely Latin roots — so in other words, it’s a word that’s been around for longer than even my lifetime.

    About music and cows, there are a number of videos at http://www.youtube.com about music loving cows —
    here is one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXKDu6cdXLI
    Even one about how cows love accordian music… hehehe Does this border on thinking like a cow? If so, then I guess Audrey’s Dad had that ability 🙂

    Perhaps it would be wise to caution Boo that his comments re Tima’s broad backside may not be good for his health…. lol You did it again, early morning chuckles here, for which you deserve a medal! And may your day be a great one too…. Mame

  14. John is so good to take time for what you need. I love the conversation of the farm animals… and how gorgeous is Mr. Flowers? I mean really! Perhaps his style and flamboyance will catch on and the others will spiff up a tad. Oh, not that they need to by any means, but my he is so handsome! Eye candy, if that’s appropriate! 😀

  15. Let’s hope that Tima and Tane snuggled together out of the wind in their piggy palace will get Ideas. I’m pining for a litter of kunekunes to adore! And you do have a treasure of a husband, who builds you useful things and is willing to stand at the business end of a cow and do tail lifting on demand… One day, one day, I’ll come and see it all for myself!

  16. Could there be a logical reason why Tima looks like she’s gaining weight? Hmm. And Mr. Flowers looks electric!

  17. I would love t o visit, but it is such a long way away. But never say never. The mental picture of you peering over the hay at the little pigs with boo peering over your shoulder and Tima and Tane staring back in disgust made me laugh 😊 x

  18. I have an image of hotel room Do Not Disturb sign on the kune kunes’ hut… interesting very interesting. We watched #5 of the Lord of the Rings series last weekend and there were some very large kune kunes being ridden to war, I think.
    My grandparents’ dairy had stalls and stanchions. My Pa hand milked and I think used a leg rope on difficult cows.

  19. It seems the stanchion barns here in Wi. are disappearing in favor of the milking parlor. Also in an attempt to save the farmer’s knees! Today we had the howling wind too, a mile out on my walk it started sleeting sideways! Even the dogs were happy to see my John in his truck to the rescue! I have gone out and put clay pots over the top of some of my more tender perennials, I may have been too enthusiastic in removing their mulch! When I milk the goats for my friend (by hand) it’s a race to finish up before they finish their food. They may be in a stanchion but they can still dance!

  20. It would be lovely to visit, maybe someday. I’d love to meet all the animals on the Farmy and you Celi. That would be a treat. I hope Tima and Tane will forgive your checking on them. Try something soothing in the way of music for Lady A. My dad used to sing to his brother-in-law’s cows when he milked, he sang to the horses too when they were in the barn – lucky beasts, he had a superb basso profundo and perfect pitch.

  21. You have perhaps the single most hilarious set of followers I think I’ve ever come across! What a witty and good humored bunch they are 🙂 . I HAD to hit follow after seeing this “back and forth.” What a joy!

  22. I adore your blog…wonderful to read each day as the morning light comes up! Here’s a recipe for your book:

    Walnutty Buttermilk Waffles

    2 eggs

    2 cups buttermilk

    2 cups al purpose flour

    1 teaspoon baking soda

    2 teaspoons baking powder

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts

    1/3 cup (5 Tablespoons) melted butter

    Beat eggs well, add dry ingredients and beat til smooth, stir in melted butter til well mixed.

    Bake in waffle iron til golden brown. Serve with your favorite waffle condiments. Yum

  23. Love the stanchion. I’m surprised you didn’t have one before but I suppose it wasn’t necessary. A cow who lets you milk her unrestrained is a special cow indeed. I use a stanchion for my goats and couldn’t do without it. One tip, if your cows begin to move about like it’s too tight, I cut out a section on either side of the head brace, just where their necks fit through, so it was not so tight on their necks but still held their heads well. Everyone seems happier. Happy milking.

  24. I loved the conversation between you, the dog and the pigs. I’m grinning at that sweet exchange. Men are fixers. If you have a problem, they want to fix it. If they don’t see a problem, you don’t fix what ain’t broke. Man thinking.

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