When you think of a barn do you think little, red, and cute? Or maybe big, and open with a little less of the quaintness factor? Truth is farmers choose their barns for all sorts of reasons and preferences. We have what is called a “free stall” barn, big and open with rows of stalls where the cows may pick and choose their favorite spots to relax. Over the years it has been remodeled and updated to provide our ladies with high quality, spacious, and the cleanest comfort possible.
Free stall barns feature large open sides to give our cows plenty of ventilation year-round. There are large fans on either side of the barn for added ventilation to keep the air fresh and the heat down. There are also retractable curtains down both open sides of the building that can be utilized to protect the cows from the rain and snow. Here in Washington, we have plenty of rain (snow is pretty rare), but for the most part our temperatures are decently even keel, making this type of barn great for us!
This is one of ladies making a face for Erica Dewaard’s camera while relaxing in one of our free stalls! These stalls are bedded with super clean and comfortable sand. We used to use sawdust back in the day, but switched over to sand because it’s more sanitary for the cows to lay in. There is also better traction with sand than with sawdust.
Free stall barns give the cows the freedom to walk around, get a snack, or lay down and relax whenever they please. We have done a lot of research and tried different configurations when it comes to arranging the barns, this is the style our cows seem to like best!