We recently purchased Milking Bail from a local Estate Agent who contacted us after he pulled it from a hedge on a local farm.
For scrap value, we thought it would be a fantastic project to bring an old (and rare!) piece of history back to life and it really fits into our vision of traditional, low-impact farming. We intend to milk the cows outside for as long as we can throughout the year.
The story of this fantastic relic began in 1922 when a dairy farmer called Arthur Hosier invented The Milking Bail. This was around the time of the depression, when farmers were struggling alongside the country as a whole. The idea was to take the milking parlour straight to the cows in the fields!
Arthur started milking his herd on the Wiltshire downs, where the ground is chalky with shallow soil depth. This meant great drainage in bad weather and enabled Arthur to keep his cows outside for 12 months of the year.
We thought yes, why not! It’s far better for the cows as there is no walking them up and down tracks, which is notoriously bad for their feet. The cows will also spread their own manure across the pasture, great for the soil and we won’t have a need for a carting trailer.
We hope this will make for healthier cows, less mastitis and other disease meaning lower labour and veterinary costs without compromising the Herds health.
The Milk Bail needs a lot of work, welding and a paint job but we can see the potential!
It’s going to be very interesting once we have restored the old bail and start using it after all of the years it has laid forgotten about in that hedge! Our Shropshire land seems to hold a lot more water on the surface than the Arthur’s Wilshire Downs, so it may be quite a challenge but we are determined to incorporate this lost piece of history into our Micro Dairy!
More pictures to follow as we begin the restoration!