Cost effective shelter

Help Support CattleToday:

WAnabee

Member
Joined
Aug 20, 2021
Messages
11
Reaction score
11
Hello All,

First time posting to CT. Been reading and learning for awhile, lots of good information and experience on here it seems so I thought I would ask:

What are some of the pros and cons of different winter shelters that people have used?

I live in the PNW and receive 49 inches of rain mostly between oct-april. Would really like to figure out a cost effective way to keep cattle out of the mud. Here are some options I am considering:
Build/lease free stall barn
Build deep pack hoop building
Buy/lease timbered property

My feeling is that the cattle won't be able to pay for any of these options, but it's been raining for about 5 weeks straight it seems and is getting me thinking.

Thanks!
 

Buck Randall

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 5, 2019
Messages
1,841
Reaction score
1,671
I have Angus, with the exception of one Galloway.
They don't need much for shelter. I wouldn't recommend anything with enclosed sides. Hoop barns don't ventilate well enough for cattle, in my experience. Free stalls would be a disaster for beef cows.
 
OP
W

WAnabee

Member
Joined
Aug 20, 2021
Messages
11
Reaction score
11
They don't need much for shelter. I wouldn't recommend anything with enclosed sides. Hoop barns don't ventilate well enough for cattle, in my experience. Free stalls would be a disaster for beef cows.
I think I agree on the enclosed sides. Seems like maybe added cost for reduced ventilation. What would be the drawbacks of free stalls for beef cows?
 

Buck Randall

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 5, 2019
Messages
1,841
Reaction score
1,671
I think I agree on the enclosed sides. Seems like maybe added cost for reduced ventilation. What would be the drawbacks of free stalls for beef cows?
They're more work to maintain, cows who weren't raised in them as heifers often refuse to use them, and cows that don't use them properly will either injure themselves or damage the stalls.
 

J+ Cattle

Well-known member
Joined
May 21, 2006
Messages
471
Reaction score
564
Location
North Texas
If the cows are going to graze any from Oct. - Apr. they're going to have to leave the shelter and get muddy. My concern would be giving the cows a clean place for calving. Calving on grass is fine but calving in the mud seems to come with some problems like navel infections.
You should probably listen to others that are in your area because I'm a long way from the PNW.
 
OP
W

WAnabee

Member
Joined
Aug 20, 2021
Messages
11
Reaction score
11
They're more work to maintain, cows who weren't raised in them as heifers often refuse to use them, and cows that don't use them properly will either injure themselves or damage the stalls.
That all makes sense. There are a lot of vacant dairy barns in my area is why I was considering trying to lease one if it penciled out.
 
OP
W

WAnabee

Member
Joined
Aug 20, 2021
Messages
11
Reaction score
11
If the cows are going to graze any from Oct. - Apr. they're going to have to leave the shelter and get muddy. My concern would be giving the cows a clean place for calving. Calving on grass is fine but calving in the mud seems to come with some problems like navel infections.
You should probably listen to others that are in your area because I'm a long way from the PNW.
On a GOOD year I will graze up to December, put on a sacrifice lot and feed hay on a slab, grazing periodically on turnips or grass if the ground is solid enough. On a GOOD year I will also be back on pasture by mid April and don't calve until late April/ early May. Reason being as you stated, calving in the mud is awful. Used to calve in March and it just wasn't worth it to me.
 

Buck Randall

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 5, 2019
Messages
1,841
Reaction score
1,671
That all makes sense. There are a lot of vacant dairy barns in my area is why I was considering trying to lease one if it penciled out.
That makes sense. I know people who have removed the stall dividers and used the buildings successfully for beef animals.
 

TCRanch

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 10, 2015
Messages
6,088
Reaction score
2,315
Location
Winfield, KS
I'm a long way from PNW but still get wet, cold, muddy, brutal weather. Primarily Angus with Angus/Hereford and a couple Angus/Simm. All pastures have either a livestock shelter or barn, but they prefer the woods - and high ground when it's muddy. They really only seem to go in the shelters when it's a full-out blizzard.
 

Named'em Tamed'em

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 8, 2012
Messages
2,159
Reaction score
1,398
Location
Wet-side Washington St.
I'm from Kitsap County and I agree with TC, when the weather sucks they would rather be by the tree line. I did have a cow that enjoyed a horse stall. What County are you in.
 
OP
W

WAnabee

Member
Joined
Aug 20, 2021
Messages
11
Reaction score
11
I'm from Kitsap County and I agree with TC, when the weather sucks they would rather be by the tree line. I did have a cow that enjoyed a horse stall. What County are you in.
I'm in Skagit county. I really like the idea of a shelter that appreciates in value theoretically so the woods idea sounds great in that regard at least, and I know cows do prefer it and it's probably healthier I imagine.
 
Last edited:

Rancher

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 2, 2011
Messages
147
Reaction score
122
Location
Pleasant Valley, 30mi east of Fairbanks.
It's gonna be 40 below zero or more here for next few days, no mud but frozen hard snow and ground. My Angus live outside all winter long, no trees just plenty of old round bales for bedding. In late March up here it's calving time and it can be wet, windy, and muddy. We watch them and when within a day I put her in barn for 3 days to give calf a warm up, then out they go. Haven't lost a one in several yrs knock on wood. If wind is severe I open up a bit into tree area and they really like that. March can be 30 below or 50 above, never a year the same.
 

pnw-farmer

Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2020
Messages
7
Reaction score
14
Location
S. W. Washington
I am in Lewis co. I use a carport open on sides mainly to keep hay feeder under. But I use pole peelings/hog fuel to control mud in my sacrifice area mainly around hay feeders and out 20 feet or so to give them a place to lay down out of most of the mud. There will always be mud in the PNW.
 

Dave

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 12, 2004
Messages
10,699
Reaction score
2,976
Location
Baker County, Oregon
I lived in the Chehalis valley for a lot of years. I built a loafing shed that had two sides. The south and west sides which was the direction most of the weather came from. I added a small layer of what ever bedding to the loafing shed once a week. I poured concrete out from the feed bunk about 24 feet. Put a roof over the the feed bunk. It was 12 feet out on the cows side and 5 feet over the bunk side. Once a week I scraped the manure off the concrete into a bunk at the end of the slab.
 
OP
W

WAnabee

Member
Joined
Aug 20, 2021
Messages
11
Reaction score
11
It's gonna be 40 below zero or more here for next few days, no mud but frozen hard snow and ground. My Angus live outside all winter long, no trees just plenty of old round bales for bedding. In late March up here it's calving time and it can be wet, windy, and muddy. We watch them and when within a day I put her in barn for 3 days to give calf a warm up, then out they go. Haven't lost a one in several yrs knock on wood. If wind is severe I open up a bit into tree area and they really like that. March can be 30 below or 50 above, never a year the same.
Brrr. That's a different type of cold. I experienced 40 below once in my life and I don't know how an animal can withstand it but they do, pretty amazing. I think 34 degrees and rain/sleet is kinda hard on them also because they get wet and lose a lot of insulation. 30 degrees would be ok with me.
 

FullCircleWVa

Active member
Joined
Nov 25, 2021
Messages
34
Reaction score
113
Location
Weston, WV
I’m central WV, we don’t get bad winters, maybe in the teens and in January/early Feb we might dip to single digits before a front pushes in. I wanted a working facility and a loafing barn/somewhere to store a couple days worth of squares to keep me running back to hay barn while also getting the cattle out of inclimate weather this fall/winter (mostly the cold rains that come early Decmeber). Here is what my dad and I came up with. 16x30. I’m fortunate that my work lets me get hotel points and I use them in form of Lowe’s gift cards.
 

FullCircleWVa

Active member
Joined
Nov 25, 2021
Messages
34
Reaction score
113
Location
Weston, WV
I’m central WV, we don’t get bad winters, maybe in the teens and in January/early Feb we might dip to single digits before a front pushes in. I wanted a working facility and a loafing barn/somewhere to store a couple days worth of squares to keep me running back to hay barn while also getting the cattle out of inclimate weather this fall/winter (mostly the cold rains that come early Decmeber). Here is what my dad and I came up with. 16x30. There is a catch pen and small corral with a headchute. I’m fortunate that my work lets me get hotel points and I use them in form of Lowe’s gift cards.3F5C5A29-4CE3-4A48-BFB2-F923BB49AEFA.jpeg
 
Last edited:

Latest posts

Top