Building the perfect Jersey cow shelter need not be a difficult venture. Dairy cows are not just for dairy farmers. People interested in self-sustaining lifestyles have realized the value of keeping a source of delicious milk products in their own backyards. Not just any dairy cow will do. Jerseys make the perfect addition to any small homestead. Most need between 2 and 5 acres of land to graze.
One of the other things cattle need to stay safe and healthy is adequate cover. We have a small, two-stall barn situated on 5 acres. It includes a covered portion for shade and a corral that connects to our land so our Jersey can come and go throughout the day to graze. If you have more than one cow, you will need to adjust your shelter size. Keep in mind that mini-Jerseys require less space.
Here is a quick-starter guide for building a Jersey cow shelter that is comfortable and secure.
Choosing the correct size for your shelter
Cows rest between 10 and 14 hours a day, spread out over five bouts. Dairy cow cubicles prevent excessive standing. Standing too long increases the risk for lameness. Recommended stall size for cows that weigh between 1300 and 1500 pounds is 48 inches wide and 9 feet long. This gives dairy cows ample space to get up and down and change positions during resting. Jerseys typically weigh between 800 and 1,100 pounds, so this sizing is more than adequate to meet their needs. You can even reduce it a bit to 44 inches wide and 7 feet long. Cows thrust their bodies forward slightly when rising, so it is important to make sure your Jersey has enough room to do so without injuring its head or neck. Need some ideas? This book is a great resource and offers several plans to fit within your budget.
Deciding between bedding options
There are several options for bedding. Freestall designs work best for Jerseys because they keep your cow from turning around in the stall, which prevents them from soiling their bedding. Freestalls are safe and comfortable for your Jersey. As a bonus, they are super easy to keep clean, reducing the amount of time you spend each day meeting your dairy cow’s basic needs. Ventilation is important for animals, especially cattle. It is perfectly acceptable to have shelters without solid walls. At the very least, you will need open-air features near the roofline.
Selecting pre-made jersey cow shelters
Building a shelter for your dairy cow is not everyone’s cup of tea. Paying contractors to build one for you might be outside your budget. A great alternative is buying a pre-built shed. This is the route we chose for our cow’s shelter, and we have been pleased with the quality. Dairy cattle shed kits come in all sizes and styles and price points. If you go with a pre-made shelter, make sure the company either installs it for you or provides clear instructions and requirements for installation.
Jersey cow shelter advice and other tips
Jersey Milk Cow is your one-stop shop for helpful tips about getting the most out of your dairy cows. Raising a Jersey cow is not that hard. Like most animals, they need food, shelter, and water to thrive. Want to be sure to get new tips and tricks from us the minute they go live? Take a few minutes to subscribe to our feed to get everything you need to be delivered directly to your inbox.
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