Cradle Feeders

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Nov 18, 2007
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I have been looking around Montgomery for a new Cradle Feeder. Can not find one around here. We have a new Tractor Supply Store opening up March 1,2009 maybe that will be the place to find one.
How many of you are using them now, and how much hay are you saving ? I have hay rings now and they are much better than nothing but there is so much waste.
I found this article. I hope it helps. ... ing_Losses

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Cone Feeders and Hay Feeding Losses
Last Updated: February 18, 2008 Related resource areas: Beef Cattle

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Beef cows in their study were allotted to one of eight pens with four feeder designs: cone, ring, trailer or cradle. All feeder types provided about 14.5 in. of linear feeder space/animal. Alfalfa and orchardgrass round bales were weighed and sampled before feeding. Hay that fell onto the concrete surrounding the feeder was considered waste and was collected and sampled daily. At the end of a seven-day period, each feeder type was assigned to a different pen for a second, seven-day period.

Dry matter hay waste was 3.5%, 6.1%, 11.4% and 14.6% for the cone, ring, trailer and cradle feeders, respectively.
Calculated dry matter intake of hay ranged from 1.8% to 2% of body weight and did not differ by feeder type.
Percentage of organic matter, neutral detergent fiber, acid detergent fiber and crude protein were all lower, and acid detergent lignin was higher, in the recovered waste compared to the hay fed.
Cows feeding from the cradle feeder had nearly three times the agonistic interactions (behavior resulting in displacement of another cow from the feeder) and four times the frequency of entrances compared to cows feeding from the other feeder types.
Feed losses were positively correlated with agonistic interactions, frequency of regular and irregular entrances and feeder occupancy rate.
Use of the ring feeder resulted in nearly twice the amount of waste compared to the cone feeder, whereas the trailer and cradle feeders resulted in four times the waste per animal compared to the cone design.
Hay waste, as a percentage of hay disappearance, was less for the cone and ring feeders compared to the trailer and cradle feeders.
Cattle eating from the cone and ring feeders were able to more closely mimic a grazing position than those eating from the trailer and cradle feeder.
Feed losses were similar for bales stored inside (12.4%) or covered with plastic outside (13.4 to 14.5%), but higher for bales stored uncovered outside (24.7%).
Slanted bar designs encourage animals to keep their heads in the feeder opening by providing some constraint.
I read that article, from Ohio State, I believe, earlier. The feeder they are calling a "cradle" feeder is different from the "trampoline" and other cradle designs discussed here. The feeders they tested and the therefore the data are very specific. I don't think you can make generic conclusions form this "report".

I find very little losses from mine. You can buy them from Runnings farm stores in the north and west. I'm not sure about how far south they get but you could call or email the manufacturer and see if they have any dealer in AL. I have never seen what I would call a cradle type feeder like the trampoline style at a TSC store.

One manufacturer's website: the y make single and double bale models to hold up to 5x6 ft bales. You can also fill them with smaller or big squares.

Good luck.

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