auto-feeder vs regular bunk feeder

Backgrounding & feeding questions.
deerefan
Beginner
Beginner
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2019 7:04 pm

auto-feeder vs regular bunk feeder

Post by deerefan » Tue Feb 05, 2019 7:10 pm

I was hoping to get some input from others. I am planning on adding about 20 heifers to my angus herd each year for the next 4 years. I wanted to feed these cattle additional feed to help put on weight. I am trying to decide whether I should just get a used bunk feeder, load it up and let them eat as much as they want or would it be worthwhile to buy an automatic feeder and have them be fed a specific amount a couple of times a day. I do not have the time to be feeding them myself daily. Obviously the auto feeders are more expensive, just trying to judge whether the investment is worth it or not? After I am done increasing my herd size, I would use the feeder for my bulls, or maybe backgrounding calves. Noone else around seems to have one. Thank you for your help.



littletom
Rancher
Rancher
Posts: 872
Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2015 9:01 pm
Location: southern Ky
Been thanked: 12 times

Re: auto-feeder vs regular bunk feeder

Post by littletom » Tue Feb 05, 2019 10:13 pm

Buy bred heifers and leave off the grain. Or find someone to bucket feed them once a day up to breeding if plans are to be spring calf cows. This is what has worked best for me.

Lucky
Rancher
Rancher
Posts: 711
Joined: Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:11 am
Location: TX
Has thanked: 43 times
Been thanked: 98 times

Re: auto-feeder vs regular bunk feeder

Post by Lucky » Tue Feb 05, 2019 11:00 pm

What size and age hiefers are we talking about?

deerefan
Beginner
Beginner
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2019 7:04 pm

Re: auto-feeder vs regular bunk feeder

Post by deerefan » Wed Feb 06, 2019 9:56 pm

They will probably be 500-600 lbs at the start.

Lucky
Rancher
Rancher
Posts: 711
Joined: Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:11 am
Location: TX
Has thanked: 43 times
Been thanked: 98 times

Re: auto-feeder vs regular bunk feeder

Post by Lucky » Thu Feb 07, 2019 9:07 am

It would be best to hand feed them daily. If you can’t do that a bulk creep feeder would be next best thing. If you could get one that held 2-4 tons you could hual it to the mill and save on feed. Probably need a limiter in it to keep them from eating too much.

deerefan
Beginner
Beginner
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2019 7:04 pm

Re: auto-feeder vs regular bunk feeder

Post by deerefan » Thu Feb 07, 2019 8:40 pm

Why not an auto-feeder then? It accomplishes the same as hand feeding, can even do it twice daily for optimal frequency. As far as hauling it to the mill, its best for me to get feed in totes, 4 x 1 ton. Much faster and the same cost as hauling the creep feeder to the mill.

Lucky
Rancher
Rancher
Posts: 711
Joined: Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:11 am
Location: TX
Has thanked: 43 times
Been thanked: 98 times

Re: auto-feeder vs regular bunk feeder

Post by Lucky » Thu Feb 07, 2019 9:38 pm

An autofeeder would be great they are just pricey. We used to buy the 1 ton sacks from the mill before I bought an overhead feed bin, they do work good. Just figured a creep feeder on wheels with the fold up sides would be easiest. I have a ground load creep feeder that I can fill with the trip hopper, I like it. If you have wild hogs they will love your creep feeder too. Be fun to watch them at autofeeder, be like a dinner bell to them.

deerefan
Beginner
Beginner
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2019 7:04 pm

Re: auto-feeder vs regular bunk feeder

Post by deerefan » Sat Feb 09, 2019 9:06 am

Lucky, thank you for answering. You are correct they are expensive at 6-8K for a big one. Most are powder coated though unlike the 3.5K bunk feeders which seem to rust away so quickly. I am going to play a devils advocate here, by the time I get an overhead bin ground load creep feeder and a trip hopper, I could easily get an auto-feeder. Also, I don't have to worry about 3 things rusting away or breaking. I only have one place so the versatility of a trip hopper is not as useful to me. Thanks for your thoughts.

Lucky
Rancher
Rancher
Posts: 711
Joined: Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:11 am
Location: TX
Has thanked: 43 times
Been thanked: 98 times

Re: auto-feeder vs regular bunk feeder

Post by Lucky » Sat Feb 09, 2019 12:50 pm

I didn’t mean to imply you should get the overhead and all that stuff. Honestly I never priced the auto feeders I figured they would be closer to 15k, 6-8k for the ones I looked at really doesn’t sound bad. I may take another look at them myself. My only other suggestion and it seems like you are on the right track here is that growing calves do better if fed every day instead of say 3 days a week.

User avatar
TexasBred
Mentor
Mentor
Posts: 30034
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2007 1:18 pm
Location: Heart of Texas
Has thanked: 115 times
Been thanked: 132 times

Re: auto-feeder vs regular bunk feeder

Post by TexasBred » Sat Feb 09, 2019 5:45 pm

I really hate to see someone invest in more cattle knowing they don't have the time to take care of them properly. (Don't be offended, no offense intended).
A dung beetle walks into a bar, looks around and says "Is this stool taken"????

deerefan
Beginner
Beginner
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2019 7:04 pm

Re: auto-feeder vs regular bunk feeder

Post by deerefan » Sat Feb 09, 2019 9:20 pm

TexasBred, thank you for your response. Its not about not having the time but rather trying to identify optimal use for it. I think feeding cattle twice a day by hand is not an ideal long term solution, if you have a large property which you manage you understand what I mean. I would not immediately assume that trying to automate a task means not caring. That would be akin to telling farmers to return their combines and go back to using a scythe.

User avatar
Silver
GURU
GURU
Posts: 1716
Joined: Tue May 19, 2009 12:08 am
Location: BC Peace River country
Has thanked: 564 times
Been thanked: 498 times

Re: auto-feeder vs regular bunk feeder

Post by Silver » Sat Feb 09, 2019 9:43 pm

When it comes to feeding my replacements I put about as much value on what pail feeding does for their temperament and disposition as I do for their growth. 10 minutes a day seems like a small price to pay.

Lucky
Rancher
Rancher
Posts: 711
Joined: Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:11 am
Location: TX
Has thanked: 43 times
Been thanked: 98 times

Re: auto-feeder vs regular bunk feeder

Post by Lucky » Sun Feb 10, 2019 3:26 am

For allot of folks in my area it’s not feasible to check cows everyday. It’s not laziness or not caring, but sometimes there’s just not enough hours in the day. Most people work a regular job and don’t live on the place the cows are at. An autofeeder would be good for this. However there is no substitute for hand feeding and being around cattle everyday. The only thing I would worry about with an autofeeder would be feed bridging. The 3/8 pellets shouldn’t bridge over but can get pricey at times. 20 heifers only need 120 pounds or so a day so this may not be an issue. If you get one let us know how it works.

deerefan
Beginner
Beginner
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2019 7:04 pm

Re: auto-feeder vs regular bunk feeder

Post by deerefan » Sun Feb 10, 2019 9:52 am

Agree 100%. Yes, I do have to look at the mechanisms of the auto feeders to make sure flow will not be an issue.What type of ration do you like to use for heifers? What are your local prices?

Lucky
Rancher
Rancher
Posts: 711
Joined: Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:11 am
Location: TX
Has thanked: 43 times
Been thanked: 98 times

Re: auto-feeder vs regular bunk feeder

Post by Lucky » Sun Feb 10, 2019 12:12 pm

I like a 4 way mix of corn, DDG, WSC, and soyhull pellets but a good 3/8” creep pellet may be easier to get and load. I’m paying about $240 a ton for commodity feed this year and feeding 7#’s a day.

Post Reply