Round Bale Feeders

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dirtdoctor

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I've done a quick search but haven't really found anything on this and I need help from the experienced. I just bought 10 cow/calf pairs and I'm getting ready to buy a round hay bale feeder ring but now I'm stuck. I was just offered a "hay saver" type feeder, it has a solid bottom and a cone to put the bale in, and it looks like new. The problem was the price they wanted $750 for it, new around here they go for around a grand and I can get a regular ring type for less than $200. Would there be enough hay saved to merit the extra cost? How many should I buy? I'm thinking 2; I've got 58 - 5'x4' bales and 500+_ small squares. I'm planning on putting one in with the cows and 1 for the calves when they leave their mommys. Thanks for the advice.
 

ToddFarmsInc

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ya those type of bale feeders look like a pretty good concept. I'm just behind the curve, since I don't have any yet. I haven't quite figured out how to incorporate them into my feeding program. I like to set the bales down unwrap them bales, then set the feeders over the hay. I haven't figured out how to set the bales in the hay saver type feeder then unwrap the bales. :dunce:


On the cheeper type feeder, you really have to look at what you are getting. If you want to get a metal type feeder you will want to get one with narrow enough head slots that they don't pull too much hay out of the feeder and waste it. Also you will want to try to find one where all the pipe are welded on the round, and the welded ends aren't pinched and then welded which produces a much weaker joint.

I've also bought plastic type feeders, which are great against corrosion, but again, you want to make sure that the spaces are small, so they don't waste too much feed.
 

grannysoo

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Most of the $200.00 feeders are not going to last but a few years and then rust away. Take that into consideration too.
 

dun

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I don;t have the URL anymore, but there is an outfit that sells a cone that is seperate form the regular bale rings and is set on top of it
 

bigbull338

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i buy round bale feeders thats made out of 1in sq tubing.an they last for 8yrs or so.if you dont bend them up dropping the hay forks on them with the loader.i gave $96 for 1 last yr.i need to buy 3 to 5 more this yr.buy i may just get 2 or 3.
 

Cowdirt

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Dirtdoctor, I bought my first hayrings from our TN Cooperatives in 1992. They are 2 or 3 pc bolted together. Made of heavy duty round tubing and my first ones are painted. More recently those I have bought are same except galvanized finish. All, even the first ones, are still in good condition after 15 yrs. When hay feeding is finished in the spring, I move them out of the mess and sometimes set them up on their edge. I move them with my hay spear. I dump 5x6 round bales in the rings and to this point have not bent one. Obviously one has to be careful doing this; especially until they get the knack.
 

mtncows

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You can get along fine with the cheaper feeders if you move them out of the mess. I'd get two of them but would also buy an unroller for about $800.00 and roll them out if you have enough land to feed on.This scatters the manure and builds the soil instead of making mud holes that need to be cleaned up and re-seeded.You will need a 50 hp or greater tractor with a remote hydraulic system to do this using 4'X5' bales.
 

shorty

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I have a hay saver about 5 years now , they don't waste much hay , I fed on the ground without a ring before and they wasted a lot. With hay prices what they are today I think it should pay for itself in time. It is built super strong and should last forever. Mine is under roof , it has a plywood bottom , if you have it outside the plywood would probably need replacing in time but the rest is pretty tough. when I got mine I paid around $700 , I picked it up in western Pa. where they are built by an amishman.
 

SRBeef

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There are pluses and minuses to many different hay feeders. I use both this elevated type and the standard ring on the ground.

With the price of hay (if you buy hay) or the value of good hay (if you make your own) it is worth getting maximum use out of every bale.

I like the Common Sense balefeeder shown here:

http://balefeeder.com/balefeeder.html

I can move it around and any hay that does fall thru is eaten by the calves, very little trampled. One of the main features is it is easy to move from place to place.

here is a picture of some of my cattle using it last winter:



It costs a bit more than others because there is a lot of steel tubing in it - all 2 x 2. They come in single or multiple bale versions. The 2 bale version shown doesn't need to be filled so often. I usually carry two bales to the feeder, one on the loader spear one on the 3-pt spear (counterweight). Carry them to the end of the feeder, cut the wrap off and set the loader bale in from one end, drop the 3-pt bale at the other end and loader spear it in. load two bales in one trip.

I move it about one feeder length by pulling it with a chain or strap just before I fill it so the manure is spread around. jmho.

Good luck.
 

cfpinz

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I use the regular rings with the skirted bottom, they waste a lot less with the skirts. Most of mine are the mid-range ones, have a couple real heavy ones but they are hard on my back to move. I move them by hand most of the time because the spikes are hard on them. Got some that are over 10 years old, but I move them away from the mess come spring and flip them upside down most years. Got in a pinch last year and had to buy two of the American Farmland ones from the co-op, those things are junk.

Unrolling is nice but you need to just roll out about 24 hrs worth, if not they'll waste it. I unroll a lot with the cows close to home.
 

chippie

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We have ring feeders that my husband made out of 3/4 or 1 inch rebar that work well, are still going strong after 10 years and were cheap to make.

I was curious about the cone feeder because I have never seen one and found a picture online.

nvsilc.jpg


It is pretty neat. However we do not have a hay fork on our tractor so it is not practical for us. We load and move all of our round bales on a slide leftover from our horse farming days.
 
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dirtdoctor

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Thanks for all the input, I now think I'll get the skirted ring and plan on trying to build something like Chippie's pic shows. I inherited the farm, 78 acres 1/2 bottom land and the other half hills and rocks. Figured I'd better get ready for the cows so I spent all summer repairing fences and getting equipment so I could get the hay to feed them with.
Dun; Thanks for the link, looks like I'll lose a little more hay w/ the plain pings but...
ToddFarms; know what you mean by behind the times, feels like I'm always playing catch up, but I'm not sure who I'm trying to catch! :? What's too wide on the slots?
grannysoo; I’ve thought of that, planning on storing them on the rocks when not feeding, might help some.
BigBull38 & Eat Beef; Sounds like a deal to me, I'm in WV, wonder if they sell them nationwide?
Cowdirt; sounds like what I've found around here, which last longer the painted or the galvanized?
mtncows; I know what you mean by the mess there's areas here where the feeders wern't moved and the grass still hasn't grown through the mess, anybody ever run a brush hog to chop up the mess? Just an idea to get it loosened up. Also, the tractor is a JD 5303, 64hp with loader :D
gertguy; plan to!!
shorty; sounds like what i saw for $750 used, maybe i'm getting used too?
srbeef; do they pull much of the hay out and waste it? The Kansas study kinda showed that, what’s your experience with it?
cfpinz; Your rings sound like what I’m planning on now. Tried to unroll the bales when my Dad was taking care of things, sent it through 2 fences :oops: I'll have to look at the bale better next time!
Again thanks everybody lots of good input!
 

gabby

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mtncows":gle7xthf said:
You can get along fine with the cheaper feeders if you move them out of the mess. I'd get two of them but would also buy an unroller for about $800.00 and roll them out if you have enough land to feed on.This scatters the manure and builds the soil instead of making mud holes that need to be cleaned up and re-seeded.You will need a 50 hp or greater tractor with a remote hydraulic system to do this using 4'X5' bales.

You can also move the rings every feeding to scatter the manure. Use extra rings and you won't have to go out there and feed them every day like you do if you unroll the hay. For $800 you could buy some extra rings and save time and fuel.
 

1982vett

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gabby":11iy5eow said:
...You can also move the rings every feeding to scatter the manure. Use extra rings and you won't have to go out there and feed them every day like you do if you unroll the hay. For $800 you could buy some extra rings and save time and fuel.

It doesn't really matter how you feed hay, if you put more hay out than a group of cattle can eat in a day they are apt to waste more. Some feeders just reduce part of the waste. I don't want them so hungry that they push and shove to get to the hay, but I don't want two rings with a half of a roll left after they have had their fill for the day. This is when the tend to stand at the ring and pull hay out and let it drop on the ground no matter what type feeder you use. Generally try to move the feeder a bit each time I put a roll out.
Seriously thinking about getting an unroller to try to scatter waste and manure over a larger area. Will envolve more time and effort to adjust feeding to consumption, but that is part of the input cost for the hopeful outcome gains.
 

SRBeef

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do they pull much of the hay out and waste it? The Kansas study kinda showed that, what’s your experience with it?

I don't see that at all. I like keeping the bale up and out of the mud, Some hay falls out the bottom but as I said it is not trampled and generally used by the smaller animals.

Please point me to the "Kansas study" you refer to.

I use both the elevated feeder and standard rings in a "hay corral" setup. The elevated feeder makes much better use of hay, in my opinion and experience.

Good luck to you.
 

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