Goat stanchions for commercial milking

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Sponsors Peterson Metal Products, LLC
Team Name Billy Goats Gruff
Duration Summer 2019 - Fall 2019
Faculty Adviser
  • Dr. Matthew Swenson
  • Jacob Miller
  • Dale Peterson / Peterson Metal Products, LLC
Team Members
  • John Bulow
  • Bryce Jensen
  • Luke Johnson
  • Skylar Ovnicek

The goal of the project is to produce a well engineered design for commercial grade goat milking stanchions. The design will then be produced in the form of a well documented engineering drawing package with manufacturing and installation instructions for the convenience of client and their customers.

Problem Definition[edit]


Dairy goat farming is one of the fastest growing agricultural movements in the United States. Dairy goat herds have risen by %61 percent over the last decade. However, with the rise in popularity there is a problem for U.S based farmers. There currently is limited commercial grade milk stanchion manufactures in the United States and these products being produced are either single goat stanchions or high numbered stanchion systems. This is fine for huge scale operations or the hobby farmer but there is currently no option for the farmer looking to grow their business. For this reason many American dairy goat farmers have been forced to acquire their farming equipment either from Canada or European and Middle Eastern countries. Having local customer needs along with the growing popularity of dairy goat farming, our client desires to be able to produces commercial grade goat milking stanchions that will be suitable for a wide variety of farming types.


  • Detailed engineering drawing package with manufacturing and installation instructions.
  • Scaled 3D model for classroom and snapshot presentations.
  • Specifications[edit]

  • The total system shall weigh no more than 200 lbs.
  • The goats must be able to self in a single file line and self-sort into the pens without the opportunity of skipping any sections.
  • It must be possible to release all goats simultaneously such that they can exit their pens in less than 30 seconds.
  • The doors to each pen must close automatically after the goats are released.
  • The goats must not be able to steal food from adjacent food troughs. </li?
  • The goats must not be able to escape.
  • There shall be no gaps in the flooring or walls where animal appendages could get stuck or pinched.
  • The design shall be able to carry a static load of 1000 lbs per two goat sections.
  • The height of the device will be optimal for reaching the goat’s udders
  • The main device consists of the self-acting doors that divide the animals, the exit gate that also contains the feed holders, and all the bars that hold the goats in place.
  • The Elevation Stand is the device that holds the main device a set distance off of the ground for farmers that plan on using the device as a standalone system. The elevation device must be sturdy and able to resist the elements if located outdoors.
  • Given the amount of use indicated by the goat farmer our team met with, each goat stanchion will need to be opened and closed about 500 times a season (roughly a 7-month period). With this in mind, we believe that our system should be expected to last 90000 cycles for each stanchion, which allows for the different milking periods of other small dairy animals.
  • Early Design Considerations[edit]

    Image Description
    Angle iron frame with HDPE insert for stand floor and bolt on bracing
    at the bottom.
    Sheet metal stand with section view showing weld on supports underneath.
    Expanded metal ramp with hinge attachment to self level ramp with ground.
    John GateFrontViewClosed.JPG
    Feed gate system with manual lever and gravity rotating feed boxes to
    avoid spilling leftover feed.
    Recommended system for Design Review 1. Expanded metal entry ramp.
    Sheet metal base and exit ramp. HDPE stall dividers and gate doors.
    Recommended system in use with additional two modules attached.

    Current Design[edit]

    Image Description
    Square tubing base with adjustable legs, expanded metal flooring
    and foot brackets to bolt to flooring or stake into the ground. The stand
    was expanded to have an additional loading and exiting area incorporated into the platform.
    Ramps made from expanded metal and bent sheet metal with tab and pocket connection
    allowing multiple ramps to be placed at varying positions around the stand.
    Stand and Ramps.JPG
    Example of entrance and exit ramp attached to pockets on opposite sides
    of the base stand.
    StallsAndGates Open.JPG
    Updated feed gate and stalls allows goats of varying sizes to enter feeding area with
    angled head restraints. Manual and automated lift system possible with addition of
    linear actuator to the gate lift bracket. HDPE stall doors and dividers keep goats from
    interacting during milking process.
    Current system as of Snapshot 2.
    Design with goats.JPG
    Current system showing goat interaction.

    Project Learning[edit]

    After being assigned this project the team’s first goal was to become more familiar with dairy goats and dairy goat farming. Dairy goat farming is one of the fastest growing agricultural movements in the United States. Herds grew by 61% between 2007 and 2017 according to the Washington Post. The major difference with dairy goats from other dairy animals is their wide range of sizes. Ranging anywhere from 20-35 inches tall and between 80-140 lbs. This makes farming equipment more difficult as it needs to be adjustable to accommodate many different sizes. The majority of our questions were answer from a group trip down to Leadore, Idaho to meet with our client. After arriving in Leadore we were able to tour the Peterson Metal Products shop to get an inventory list of their machines and what manufacturing processes we could use in the stanchion design. From there we traveled up to Salmon, Idaho to meet with Randal and Carol Stoker, a dairy sheep farmer in the area and owners of Mountain Valley Farmstead. On the farmstead we got to observe a homemade stanchion design Randal had developed in order to milk his sheep. Tour of Mountain Valley Farmstead Sheep Dairy Farm: Milking Parlor: The milking parlor was in a barn and consisted of a 3 ft deep concrete pit with rows of stanchions on each side. The stanchions were constructed from steel pipe which was bolted to the concrete floor. The stanchions had a railed walkway leading to four pens. Holding Pens: Each pen was equipped with a wooden door covering its entrance and a feeding trough blocking the end. The doors overlapped one another so they could only be opened sequentially beginning with the furthest door. Feeding Troughs: Above the feeding troughs hung flexible tubes attached to feed dispensers. The dispensers were filled by a large pipe with an auger supplying feed from a grain bin located in the loft above the milking parlor. The feed troughs were mounted to a gate which could swing upward to release the sheep after milking. Design Considerations Based on Observations: Stand: Most customers are unlikely to have a pit to use for stanchions sitting at ground level; however, stands and ramps could easily be sold separately. This would allow customers to more easily adapt the system to fit their existing facilities. Feeding system: Manually filling feed troughs before each milking could be a major inconvenience for farmers working with a large herd of goats. An automatic feed dispensing system could be a desirable feature for many farmers. Many customers may not have a loft to place their feed storage above their milking parlor so we will consider alternative feeding mechanisms. Dividers: The farmer had problems with goats stealing food from one another. We will solve this problem by including dividers between feed troughs. Doors: The overlapping door system which is used in nearly all commercial milking stanchions is a simple and efficient way to ensure all pens are filled.

    Final Design[edit]


    Design Validation Plan

    Team Members[edit]

    John headshot.jpg

    Major: Mechanical Engineering
    Hometown: Boise,ID
    Responsibility: Budget Managment

    Bryce headshot.jpeg

    Major: Mechanical Engineering
    Hometown: Nikiski, AK
    Responsibility: Client Contact

    Luke headshot.jpeg

    Major: Mechanical Engineering
    Responsibility: Record Keeper


    Major: Mechanical Engineering
    Responsibility: Agenda Management

    Additional Documentation[edit]

    Project Schedule

    Product Requirements Document