Straw Sheds

1938 Harold Collingsworth Farm

1938 Harold Collingsworth Farm

In this photo young heifer calves, just weaned, are growing up to be replacements eventually for their mothers.

Up thru the 30s-40s every dairy farmer had straw sheds.  These were made by putting up posts with boards or hog wire stretched over them, and then blowing straw from a thrashing machine over the top. This created a very  comfy three sided animal shelter during the winter months.  Cheap and easily recycled after use.  It could be renewed every season.

These sheds  could be used for any farm animal, so you might see a pig pen with one end a shed, a cow shed, a calf sh086 straw shedsed, or a horse shed.

These very ubiquitous sheds disappeared when farmers turned to combining instead of using a thrashing machine — there being little straw to blow over a shed. It also declined with baling.  However, at first, farmers might use bales as wind breaks around sheds made from sheet metal roofing instead of straw.

As farming in Payette Valley gradually gave up dairying, and turned to more and more row crops these sheds along with other accoutrements of dairying vanished into history.

In my youth they were a favorite place.  A place where cows could bed down out of the wind and rain, and a place so comfy that it took considerable effort to roust them out in order to go into barn for milking.  The straw also made perfect nesting for sparrows which dug arm long burrows where they made their nests.


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