Tethering a Milk Cow Full-Time

bubba1358

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Anyone do it? Can't afford the fence, and I have heard that this is common practice for family milk cows, particularly in underdeveloped countries. I have plenty of trees to tie to, including cedar which can be cut into posts and installed at tethering intervals. I have my donkey on a half tether, half fenced system now, depending on what areas need mowed. :p

Curious to know of anyone's experience with a milk cow. I'm thinking Jersey. A tethering system would mean I *could* start with a cow in the spring. ::excited!::

Thanks in advance for sharing!
 

woodsie

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um ya...that was my thought too...I would tether her for the day to eat the places that needed mowing and put her in the fenced pasture for night....well let's say it took 30 seconds for the old girl to have herself tied up in knots, twisted and laying on the ground with eyes bulging as if to say "What the #*$!". Needless to say I think it takes some practice with a young nimble calf...do NOT try it with a 5 year old retired dairy cow! :rolleyes:
 

bubba1358

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LOL! I can imagine the look on her face.

Yeah, I plan to start young. There are several folks round here who sell 18-month cows who are either pregnant or ready, so there would be a training period to be sure. Maybe even younger, for a better price and more training time. Good to know though - can't teach an old cow new tricks!
 

bubba1358

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woodsie - did you use a rope or chain? I'm researching this elsewhere, and it seems that chains tangle less than rope. Also, would loosely securing a chain around a tree, with a few inches of slack, prevent it from tangling when the cow walks around in circles? It would probably rub the bark raw, so I'd need to protect the tree, I know. But if a thick chain swivels at the halter by the cow, and is loose around a tree trunk, but secure on both sides, would that prevent knotting and winding?

The wheels are also turning, and I'm thinking in the middle of the field I could concrete in cedar posts about 2' high, do the same loose chain thing, and drill into the post to stand in a beach umbrella for shade. I'd move this from post to post. Thoughts?
 

woodsie

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I used a lunge line (I am not a horse person, but I think that is what they are called)....basically a long fabric leash. It was definitely too long, but even with me tying it to a tree on a high up branch she managed to tangle herself all up. I guess if you kept it short enough so it couldn't touch the ground it might work....just too much moving her for this busy mama though. Cows eat a LOT but prefer not super long grass so you would need to move the tether a few times a day at least if it were only 6 feet or so.

I had tried to tether a goat sometimes and had a big mess of tangles too but wasn't as concerned about injuries with them. When you have an 800 pound animal getting tangled and falling it is a little more serious, plus the investment. I know that in developing countries they do it all the time so I am sure it is possible but I think training and not having the leash too long is key.

I like the idea of a light chain, might try that with a couple goats on some maples stumps that keep sending out suckers!

As for the beach umbrella, cows are big animals and I think you might find that a beach umbrella is not close to big enough to provide adequate shade. I find my Jersey to be very lazy in the sun and will make sure she is fully in the shade, usually laying down in the heat. I have tall weeds in the back of her pasture that she enjoys laying in or she seeks out shade in her shelter, however they take up a lot more space when they are laying down then when they are standing up....I need to build a bigger shelter as her butt sticks out when she is laying down, a barn/shelter is in the works for winter but it is kind of a makeshift shelter for now. Under the trees is definitely a better idea...could work with the chain track around a tree perhaps.

You will need some sort of shelter for night, storms and milking....trust me, milking in the rain really sucks, for both of you. We rarely get rain but it is a big pain to find a try spot.
 

bubba1358

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I'd go 15-20 feet at least, planning on one to two times a day moving, at milking time (right before or after, but as part of the dance). Hey, if I'm out there squeezing her unmentionables for 20 minutes, what's an extra 1 to walk to the next trunk?

woodsie said:
As for the beach umbrella, cows are big animals and I think you might find that a beach umbrella is not close to big enough to provide adequate shade.
I was afraid of that. The intention was for it to double as shade and water protection in the rain during milk time and nap time. I'll need to rethink that one....thanks for the injection of realism. I need that sometimes. :p
 

violetsky888

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My husband, a non-animal person decided to, "Walk the Cow" daily to let her eat the out of pasture overgrown areas. He started doing things like walking the jersey by the pool up wooden stairs and
across wooden decking, not to mention tying her to trees. He doesn't like getting advice from me, so I thought the cow would teach him a lesson when her started treating her like a dog. As it turns out the dumb cow decided nothing was
amiss, and never panicked and untangled herself when she crossed the rope and happily walked through anything and everything when she figured out he was moving her around to better pasture.
I think whether you can tie an animal to a tree safely probably depends on the nature of the animal. A cow that panics first and thinks about things second would probably not be a good candidate for tying. I'd try tying your cow
to a tire first in a good grazing spot first and watch her. I'd never tie an animal for long unless you're nearby outside working.
 

treeclimber233

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I think the best way to train her for tying out is to get a fairly heavy piece of chain at least the length of her body attached to a rope and tied to a post with a quick release knot. That way the chain will lay on the ground so she wont get tangled around her back feet when she turns around. That is most likely where she will get tangled on the rope. AND STAY OUT THERE WITH HER FOR THE FIRST SEVERAL DAYS.(not shouting. Just emphasizing) That way if she gets into trouble you will be there to help her. And actually the longer the rope is the less likely she will be to get tangled. And tie the rope at ground level not up high. You want the rope to lay on the ground. When I was younger I staked my ponies out to graze a lot and that is what worked best for me. Also make sure the chain and rope is large enough not to get stuck in the crack of the hoof. That is a problem with my goats now. They step on the rope and it gets stuck in the hoof crack. While it doesn't seem to bother them it looks uncomfortable to me.(mental note to get bigger rope for goats)
 

Azriel

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I wouldn't use a heavy chain, when I was a child we tied our bull with a halter and chain and the halter rubbed him raw from him pulling on the chain and he was moved 4 times a day.
I would get the cow used to an electric fence. Get the easy step in posts the rope type electric fence and a solar fencer, easy to move every day or 2 and much safer than tying.
 

Latestarter

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Greetings and welcome to BYH George, from NE TX! So glad you joined us. Yeah, this thread is what's referred to as a zombie thread. You just resurrected it from a 4.5 year snooze :) There's a wealth of info, knowledge and experience shared in the multitude of threads. Browse around and see what interesting stuff you can find. By all means post away when the desire strikes you, especially if you have questions (provide as much detail/info as possible and pictures truly help)... With all the great folks here, generally someone will respond in no time at all. Please consider taking a minute to visit the new member's thread and introduce yourself so folks can welcome you properly. https://www.backyardherds.com/forums/new-member-introductions.17/ Hope you'll make yourself at home!

Oh, also, please put at least your general location in your profile. It could be very important if/when you ask for or offer help or advice. You know, climate issues and such. I recommend at least your state as most folks won't be able to figure out where if you put anything more specific (county, town, street, etc) by itself. Old folks like me will never remember & look there first. To add it, mouse hover over Account top right and a drop down will appear. Click on Personal Details and scan down. You'll see the spot for Location. Then go to the bottom and save changes. Thanks! Hope you enjoy the site!
 
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