Getting cows into parlor

Help Support CattleToday:

novaman

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 21, 2005
Messages
1,741
Reaction score
1
Location
North Dakota
I have just recently quit feeding grain in the parlor and switched to feeding it in a TMR. I was just wondering if anyone has done the same and if so are there any tricks that you used to get the cows to come into the parlor? I am having one heck of a lot of trouble as the girls have no motivation to come in anymore. I also have stalls that the cows enter individually so once I get them into the parlor I then have to fight to get each cow into her stall. My nutritionist recommended putting small lick tubs in where the grain used to go so I did but that hasn't worked as well as I hoped. Some cows lick on them but most seem stuck on the fact that there is no grain they show no interest in the molasses. This is frustrating for me as it takes forever to get through milking and its more stressful on the cows. Any tips or tricks would be welcomed. Thanks!
 

milkmaid

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 8, 2004
Messages
5,295
Reaction score
0
Location
Idaho
We tried going to a TMR once.

Double 6 herringbone, and no crowd gate in the holding pen. We didn't have problems with the heifers that calved after we went to a TMR since they never knew what they were missing, but the older cows sure did.

Went back to feeding grain in the barn after a few months. :p
 

dun

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 28, 2003
Messages
47,334
Reaction score
11
Location
MO Ozarks
One dairy that used to feed grain in the parlor quit and set it up so that water is running through the old grain feeding devices/containers/troughs/whatever you want to call them. I have absolutely no idea why it works, but it does. Maybe the running water sound, maybe the water is cooler, don;t know.
 

TexasBred

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 15, 2007
Messages
30,774
Reaction score
277
Location
Heart of Texas
dun":1j1r1uuz said:
One dairy that used to feed grain in the parlor quit and set it up so that water is running through the old grain feeding devices/containers/troughs/whatever you want to call them. I have absolutely no idea why it works, but it does. Maybe the running water sound, maybe the water is cooler, don;t know.

dun, I've seen that as well. Works better down in here in Texas because the cattle come into the bard very hot and thirsty. Only other dairy I know of that quit feeding in the barn and went to a TMR simply bought a few tons of very fine ground corn and let the feed system drop a pound or so into the feeder with each new barn of cows. Cows won't eat much of it but will keep coming into the barn just knowing something is there. If you remove all the feeders then one of the milkers usually has to go out and push the cattle into the barn. Not hard but just one more trip "out and back in" everytime a side of the bar emptied.
 

GMN

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 7, 2005
Messages
3,322
Reaction score
7
Location
southwest, MO
Cows are creatures of habit, I can't imagine they are going to like not getting their grain in the barn, you surely have your hands full with that transition. Good luck.

Gail
 

milkmaid

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 8, 2004
Messages
5,295
Reaction score
0
Location
Idaho
TexasBred":2wkhtrzn said:
dun":2wkhtrzn said:
One dairy that used to feed grain in the parlor quit and set it up so that water is running through the old grain feeding devices/containers/troughs/whatever you want to call them. I have absolutely no idea why it works, but it does. Maybe the running water sound, maybe the water is cooler, don;t know.

dun, I've seen that as well. Works better down in here in Texas because the cattle come into the bard very hot and thirsty. Only other dairy I know of that quit feeding in the barn and went to a TMR simply bought a few tons of very fine ground corn and let the feed system drop a pound or so into the feeder with each new barn of cows. Cows won't eat much of it but will keep coming into the barn just knowing something is there. If you remove all the feeders then one of the milkers usually has to go out and push the cattle into the barn. Not hard but just one more trip "out and back in" everytime a side of the bar emptied.

So there's water running through the old grain bins? How would one prevent the water from being contaminated by manure?
 

TexasBred

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 15, 2007
Messages
30,774
Reaction score
277
Location
Heart of Texas
MM...the water trough or former grain drops are in front of the cow....the manure is on the other end. :lol: :lol: Only thing that gets manure on it is the poor guy or lady doing the milking. :mad:
 

dun

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 28, 2003
Messages
47,334
Reaction score
11
Location
MO Ozarks
TexasBred":qn7fcxt9 said:
Only thing that gets manure on it is the poor guy or lady doing the milking. :mad:
And the walls and the ceiling and your coffee and ......................
 

milkmaid

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 8, 2004
Messages
5,295
Reaction score
0
Location
Idaho
TexasBred":25rvx903 said:
MM...the water trough or former grain drops are in front of the cow....the manure is on the other end. :lol: :lol: Only thing that gets manure on it is the poor guy or lady doing the milking. :mad:

:p Yes and no. Would depend on your setup, I suppose.

Here's looking up 'our' parlor from one of the entrances out of the holding pen.


Every now and again we get a nutcase that decides she can't stand up straight and starts scrambling, or a new heifer that does her best to climb over the cow in front of her... and we get cow feet in the grain bin. At least when there's just grain it's easy to hop up there afterwards and clean the bin out.
 

TexasBred

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 15, 2007
Messages
30,774
Reaction score
277
Location
Heart of Texas
Wow, that looks familiar and brings back old memories..not like my barn but did milk in one like that for a couple of years. Looks good and clean (except for the leftover feed in the feeders ;-) )
 

bigbull338

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 28, 2005
Messages
16,565
Reaction score
0
Location
texas
the best way to get the cows in the barn is to bribb them with 2lbs of feed.an maybe not feed the TMR till after the morning an evening milking.that will teach them they go through the barn an then get to eat their TMR.
 
OP
novaman

novaman

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 21, 2005
Messages
1,741
Reaction score
1
Location
North Dakota
Everybody I talk to claims they will slowly get used to the fact that there is no grain in the parlor. They won't necessarily come in on their own but they won't be as resistant to going through. I have a crowding gate, but it hasn't worked for a few years. Been trying to figure out what's wrong with it and get it back into operation. It has a charger on it. Do you think by getting the crowding gate going this will get them into the parlor or will they just scurry around until they get under and eventually behind the gate? My hopes are that it will get at least some of them up to the door and come into the parlor. I guess I can live with having to jump out of the pit to push a few in the stalls but it would be nice to not have to walk through the manure in the holding area for each and every cow. Lately the cows really seem to like licking on the flaxlic tubs in each stall but it doesn't seem to be enough incentive for them. I thought about having a few pounds of grain in each stall but I discontinued the conveyor system in the barn and have since converted the bin so I can fill the TMR wagon from it so it really wouldn't work to be doing both at the same time. I'm beginning to get used to milking this way. At first it really tested my patience but I'm learning to accept that the cows will be how they will be. I know it does them much better to not have that slug of grain at one time so I'm trying to do all I can to get them transitioned smoothly.
 

milkmaid

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 8, 2004
Messages
5,295
Reaction score
0
Location
Idaho
TB -- I like it clean. In fact, I really like the walls white and boss doesn't mind me putting in some extra time to keep them that way. ;-) Did you actually empty out (and clean?) the feeders after each milking?? that sounds like a majorly big job. :eek:

novaman -- I think we fed a TMR for about 6 months, more or less. Cows got a bit better about it toward the last few months, but still were much more difficult to get inside than when we fed grain in the barn. It was easiest when we had two people milking as one could retrieve cows while the other took care of things inside.
 

TexasBred

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 15, 2007
Messages
30,774
Reaction score
277
Location
Heart of Texas
milkmaid":2pr1oare said:
TB -- I like it clean. In fact, I really like the walls white and boss doesn't mind me putting in some extra time to keep them that way. ;-) Did you actually empty out (and clean?) the feeders after each milking?? that sounds like a majorly big job. :eek:

novaman -- I think we fed a TMR for about 6 months, more or less. Cows got a bit better about it toward the last few months, but still were much more difficult to get inside than when we fed grain in the barn. It was easiest when we had two people milking as one could retrieve cows while the other took care of things inside.

Milkmaid..I didn't for a while but the darn inspectors require it now and you never know when they'll drop in and write you a violation.

The cattle will adapt to the "no feed" situation pretty quickly but you'll always have to go out and get many of them and push them into the barn. Sometimes somthing as simple as a little salt brick in each feeder helps. Bet they'll be more settled without the feed tho and you'll get away from that "slug feeding". Butterfat should go up considerably.
 

milkmaid

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 8, 2004
Messages
5,295
Reaction score
0
Location
Idaho
TB -- I don't think there's even a box on our inspection form that covers grain bins; I'll have to check tomorrow. Never had an issue with it before.
 

TexasBred

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 15, 2007
Messages
30,774
Reaction score
277
Location
Heart of Texas
milkmaid":1dl3euwy said:
TB -- I don't think there's even a box on our inspection form that covers grain bins; I'll have to check tomorrow. Never had an issue with it before.

MM..there may not be...he can add it at the bottom. ;-) For years noone paid any attention to it down this way either but not that way now. Never was told why they made a big deal out of it other than it might draw flies.
 

GMN

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 7, 2005
Messages
3,322
Reaction score
7
Location
southwest, MO
TexasBred":10audihd said:
milkmaid":10audihd said:
TB -- I like it clean. In fact, I really like the walls white and boss doesn't mind me putting in some extra time to keep them that way. ;-) Did you actually empty out (and clean?) the feeders after each milking?? that sounds like a majorly big job. :eek:

novaman -- I think we fed a TMR for about 6 months, more or less. Cows got a bit better about it toward the last few months, but still were much more difficult to get inside than when we fed grain in the barn. It was easiest when we had two people milking as one could retrieve cows while the other took care of things inside.

Milkmaid..I didn't for a while but the darn inspectors require it now and you never know when they'll drop in and write you a violation.

.


Our inspectrors are pretty slack, only time I think anyone would have to worry about grain in the feeders, left over, is with the federal guys, and thats once in so many years, no big deal. I d not think grain left over in the feeders is a violation, just a part of milking.Seems the most issues are with cleanliness, and flies in the summer time. I guess every state is different but I figure these state inspectors work for us, not against us, and are more than willing to work with you, if you follow the advice they give.

Also as far as pushing the cows in the barn, I would think that would cause them a fair amount of stress, which would cause milking problems, poor letdown, etc.. which I'm sure we all know causes a whole slew of other issues. I say make the cows happy and comfortable and they will return the same to you.

GMN
 
OP
novaman

novaman

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 21, 2005
Messages
1,741
Reaction score
1
Location
North Dakota
GMN":2az2vplq said:
TexasBred":2az2vplq said:
milkmaid":2az2vplq said:
TB -- I like it clean. In fact, I really like the walls white and boss doesn't mind me putting in some extra time to keep them that way. ;-) Did you actually empty out (and clean?) the feeders after each milking?? that sounds like a majorly big job. :eek:

novaman -- I think we fed a TMR for about 6 months, more or less. Cows got a bit better about it toward the last few months, but still were much more difficult to get inside than when we fed grain in the barn. It was easiest when we had two people milking as one could retrieve cows while the other took care of things inside.

Milkmaid..I didn't for a while but the darn inspectors require it now and you never know when they'll drop in and write you a violation.

.


Our inspectrors are pretty slack, only time I think anyone would have to worry about grain in the feeders, left over, is with the federal guys, and thats once in so many years, no big deal. I d not think grain left over in the feeders is a violation, just a part of milking.Seems the most issues are with cleanliness, and flies in the summer time. I guess every state is different but I figure these state inspectors work for us, not against us, and are more than willing to work with you, if you follow the advice they give.

Also as far as pushing the cows in the barn, I would think that would cause them a fair amount of stress, which would cause milking problems, poor letdown, etc.. which I'm sure we all know causes a whole slew of other issues. I say make the cows happy and comfortable and they will return the same to you.

GMN
I couldn't agree more with making the cows happy and comfortable. You don't seem to like the idea of having to push cows in the barn. Obviously I don't either but I do what I must. I'm just curious as to what you suggest as an alternative. I'm guessing you are suggesting grain in the parlor. I guess my thoughts are that grain in the barn makes it easier and more convenient for the milker while the cows are suffering from the slug feeding of grain. It would be difficult to say whether the stress of being pushed in the barn is greater than the effects of acute acidosis or the like. My feeling is that the cows are becoming used to being pushed into the barn and are learning to deal with it. I want to make the cows happy but it isn't even natural for a cow to eat while being milked. Watch a cow with calf at side. Typically the cow is not eating but merely standing idly while the calf sucks or milks, if you will, the cow. It would be nice to have a way to motivate cows in some way other than through their stomachs.
 

TexasBred

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 15, 2007
Messages
30,774
Reaction score
277
Location
Heart of Texas
Actually after a short while you're cows will look more relaxed standing in the barn ruminating and letting the milk down than being preoccupied with getting all the feed she can inhale during the short time she is in the barn. You WILL see that they stand more still and relaxed once they adjust. Keep that TMR flowing. You'll be $$$$ ahead. :)
 
Top