Cattle feeder

Cattle feeder

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The calf feeder is a box-shaped container. However, its design has some differences, depending on the purpose of the feed. Feeders for compound feed are made as a single trough. For hay, lattice nurseries made of wooden slats or metal rods are used.

Features of cattle feeders

A container for feeding cattle is installed during the arrangement of the stall. Calves are given free-flowing feed and hay. A feeder of a specific design is used for each type of food. Fresh grass or dry hay is poured into the nursery. While eating, the calves scatter the food, trample it with their hooves. For economical use of hay, rectangular nurseries are made lattice. Calves take only the necessary amount of food through the cells, and the excess remains in the trough. Whole containers are used for wet mash. Deep plastic buckets are popular in home barns. They are hung on the stall.

The feeder should not only be convenient for the calves, but also take up a minimum of space. The most popular are the structures of the corner or hinged type. Manufacturers offer a huge selection of models. It is important to note that feeders for different animals are different. For cattle, a nursery of the following sizes is suitable:

  • the optimal length varies from 100 to 120 cm;
  • bottom width about 35-40 cm;
  • comfortable board height 70-75 cm.

Despite the wide variety of factory products, many owners create do-it-yourself cattle feeders from wood or metal. The advantage of home-made nurseries is individual sizes. Another plus is the possibility of improving the design. Craftsmen have come up with models with removable grilles, folding walls. Collapsible nursery for cattle is easy to maintain. They are easier to clean, wash, dry in the sun.

Types of feeders for cows and calves

All feeders for young calves and adult cattle differ in the type of feed and place of installation. Nurseries are used for hay and loose mash, and they are installed in a stall or in a pasture.

Cattle feeders for hay

The hay nursery has a lattice structure. The stable model is usually rectangular in shape. It often resembles an inverted cone. The cattle feeding tank is equipped with a grid. Calves will draw hay through the windows from the twigs. The slatted creche in the stall is suspended to maximize space savings. The design does not interfere with the calves, allows access to hay at any time, is easy to maintain, and serves for many years.

Even when cattle is grazed in pasture, the calves may lack grass. The deficiency is made up with hay. However, you cannot simply pile it on the ground. The cattle will trample the hay into the ground. The solution to the problem is the installation of pasture feeding tanks. They similarly have a lattice structure, but oversized. They are given a round or conical shape, which improves the convenience of collective use. The size is calculated to fit a roll of hay. The calves will gradually pull out the dried grass. The roll in the conical container settles as it is eaten. Feed is always available for cattle, and the owner does not need to frequently replenish the nursery with hay.

Feeders for compound feed and grain

For bulk feed in the form of mash, grain, compound feed, nurseries are made in a single container. Buckets and rectangular boxes are hung in the stall for the calves. Collective troughs of great length are placed on the pasture. Sometimes the containers are covered with a grate on top so that the cattle does not rake out the grain. However, cows often get stuck between the rods and injure their heads. The best option is considered to be without the lattice. However, the demand for it arises when an adult cattle is kept with calves.

Young animals may not get food. Calves are given separate troughs with restrictive gratings, only narrow cells are made. Only the small head of the calf crawls between the bars. An adult animal does not get to food.

Advice! It is more convenient to use automatic feeders for free-flowing dry mixes or grain.

Requirements for feeders

The structure of the cattle feeder for hay or grain is simple. However, a number of requirements are imposed on the nursery, and they must comply with them.

Pasture feeders

If it becomes necessary to use a feeder on a pasture, a site is equipped for its installation. Hay and wet feed are given in separate nurseries. The following requirements are imposed on cattle pasture feeders:

  • strength and functionality of the structure;
  • a container for feeding cattle should not pose a hazard;
  • collective creches require large capacity;
  • be sure to have devices to prevent the loss of feed;
  • manger should be easy to transport, install, maintain.

For dry compound feed or grain in the pasture, it is more efficient to install auto feeders. They carry out automatic feeding of bulk feed, provide the necessary rate for each calf, eliminate the likelihood of losses.

A feeder is in demand for hay at a time when there is a shortage of fresh grass on the pasture. The nursery is set up spacious, preferably cone-shaped, only upside down. This design works on the principle of an auto-feeder. The bale of hay will gradually slide down the sloping walls as the calves eat it.

Stall feeders

On farms, cattle in a stall is serviced manually or automatically with special equipment. Depending on this, the type of stall feeder is chosen. In addition, the number of calves and the way they are kept are taken into account.

The following requirements are imposed on a stable manger:

  • roomy volume;
  • the absence of sharp edges that create a risk of cattle;
  • availability of simple service;
  • the presence of a boundary wall on the side, which does not allow the food to fall out.

In a stall containing a small number of cattle or a single calf, small homemade feeders, such as deep buckets, can be used. On large farms, special tables are used, adapted for automatic feed distribution. The device is made by walking along the calf pens. Side walls with a height of 50 cm can protrude as a guardrail. The table is raised from the floor to a maximum height of 30 cm.

Important! The side walls of the table prevent the food from falling out onto the floor. Cleaning between corrals of the aisle is simplified for service personnel.

If the type of keeping cattle in the stall is loose, then the tables for hay are fenced with one of three types of grates:

  1. Straight fences do not prevent calves from moving freely, getting hay at any time as they wish. The design is considered the most convenient.
  2. Inclined fences restrict the free movement of calves in the stall.
  3. Automatic fences provide an additional option for fixing the calf in one position. The device helps to carry out examinations, medical and other procedures.

Of the three varieties, automatic grilles are the most expensive. Rampant calves can break them quickly.

How to make diy calf feeders

In the household, they usually use homemade feeders. The material of manufacture is metal or wood. DIY assembly of a feeder for hay or loose feed is available to any owner with minimal skills. However, welding experience is required in the manufacture of a metal structure.

In the video, an example of making a metal nursery:

How to make a hay feeder

The most reliable hay feeder is a welded metal lattice structure. The nursery can be knocked down from wooden slats, but their service life is much inferior to their steel counterpart. A feeder for a small number of calves is made suspended. For a large number of cattle, a collective nursery is provided. They are usually mounted on legs. The lattice container for hay is welded in the shape of the letter "V". It is mounted on a rectangular base. Often a pallet is attached under the grate container to help collect hay that has fallen out. An example of such a feeder is shown in the drawing.

The metal structure is made from tubes and rods. The frame and legs are welded from a thick pipe with a diameter of 20 mm. The framing of the V-shaped container is made from tubes with a diameter of 15 mm. A rod with a thickness of 8 mm is used for the lattice.

Assembly order:

  1. The pipe and rod are cut with a grinder. The length of the blanks corresponds to the dimensions of the drawing.
  2. First, the base is welded from a thick pipe. You should get a regular rectangle.
  3. The next step is to weld a V-shaped frame from a tube with a diameter of 15 mm under a hay container. The rods are welded vertically, forming the cells of the feeder.
  4. The rectangular base is connected to the V-shaped lattice structure. Optionally, you can install a galvanized pallet.

To protect against corrosion, the finished feeder is painted with non-toxic paint.

Important! Before painting, the welding joints are grinded with a grinder to avoid injuring the calves from sharp scales.

How to make a feed trough for cattle feed

It is easier to give compound feed to calves in plastic buckets suspended on the wall of the stall. However, for adult cattle, it is advisable to install a sturdy feeder. It is made in the form of a trough. The material of manufacture can be sheet metal or board. The iron trough is heavy, quickly rusts from wet mash. It is optimal to build a wooden feeder from 40 mm thick boards.

Assembly order:

  1. A shield is knocked down from three boards 60 cm long and 15 cm wide. The element will serve as the bottom of the cattle feeder. A shield of a similar size is knocked down for the inner side.
  2. For the outer board, three boards 60 cm long are taken, only the width of two blanks is similarly 15 cm, and the third element is 10 cm. The shield is knocked down so that a narrow board is between two wide ones.
  3. Side plugs are cut from a wide solid board or narrow pieces are cut and then knocked into small shields. You should get two rectangles measuring 40x45 cm.
  4. A trough is assembled from the finished shields. The elements are fastened with nails or self-tapping screws.

The finished feeder is subjected to grinding. Sharp edges cut at an angle of 45 about.

Young cattle nursery

The process of making feeders for young calves is similar, only it is necessary to provide for a folding grate that prevents adult cattle from eating feed. The length of the nursery is made a maximum of 1 m, the width is at least 40 cm.The sides are set up to 100 cm high.

The optimal material for manufacturing is boards made of hard trees. The workpieces are cut according to the individual dimensions of the drawn drawing. If we focus on the established standards, then the feeders for young calves have the following dimensions:

  • the height of the inner side - 100 cm, outer - 30 cm;
  • bottom width - 45 cm;
  • trough length - 80 cm.

Having decided on the size, they begin to make the nursery for the calves.

Assembly order:

  1. Dry boards are sanded, sawn with a hand or circular saw. According to the drawing, shields are knocked down from the blanks, after which the trough is assembled.
  2. A semicircular recess is cut out on the side, making it easier for the calf to get food.
  3. The bars are knocked down from the bars. The width of the cells is selected so that the head of the calf does not get stuck.

Ready-made nurseries are sanded, cut off sharp edges.


The calf feeder should be convenient for animals and for service personnel who clean it and distribute feed. When making a homemade nursery, you need to worry about the strength and safety of using the structure.

Watch the video: 1600sqft Custom Cattle Feeder (February 2023).

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