This winter we needed a few more feeders for our cows and horses. We had too many animals trying to crowd around a few feeders. We weren’t in a position to buy more feeders, so husband Gregory made a couple from materials we had here on the farm. With machinery we always have a few old tires, so we repurposed some into two feeders.
The project started with Gregory cutting a combine tire in half with a circular saw. This tire is quite broad and creates a deep dish to put feed into, compared to a tractor tire that would be shallower when cut in half. The half tire itself would have been very usable to hold a couple of pails of chop inside the ring of the tire, thus keeping the chop off the ground and clean. The tire has no sharp edges and doesn’t bend or break, even with bulls. If the animals step in it or push on it, it just springs back into place.
However, Gregory then went a step further and bolted the front tire from a tractor to the bottom side of the combine tire. This addition lifts the feeder up off the ground and away from the mud in the spring. The tractor tire is stiff and does not collapse under the weight of the bigger tire.
In the centre of the tire, he bolted a lid from a plastic barrel. This keeps the chop from being pushed into the centre where the cows cannot reach. He drilled a couple of holes in the lid to allow rain and snowmelt to drain away, and it also works as a good place to put a salt or mineral block.
Father-in-law John had the good idea of also bolting a short chain across the middle of the combine tire to aid with transportation of the new feeder. Gregory can use the skid steer or tractor to pick up the feeder and move it around.
An added benefit that we discovered is that due to the round form, it feeds quite a few animals for the size of the feeder.