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Best Methods to Feed Round Bales

Posted on November 1, 2018 at 1:10 PM

You work really hard to make good quality round bales to feed your livestock. If fed improperly much of the bale will get wasted, not only wasting money but it also makes a mess. Ever since round balers were invented, farmers and ranchers have been coming up with new ways to fed them. There are now many options available, from low budget to expensive machines, to fit every farmer and want to be farmer out there.

Unrolling Bales

Many people with larger herds, unroll their round bales in the pasture or feedlot, and let the cows eat it off the ground. This gives the cows plenty of room to eat but there is more waste as with anything you feed on the ground. This a good idea for those that out winter their herds as the cows will eat some and then use the rest for bedding. You can buy simple three point hitch unrollers of more complex side discharge feeders.

Ring Feeders

Probably the most common type of bale feeder, ring feeders can be bought for around $300 (go to https://amzn.to/2Dg1ySy ) , more for heavier duty ones, and do save hay compared to feeding on the ground. That being said you still waste some hay as most animals won’t eat anything that touches the ground. You will have to move the feeder around to prevent a mess, and cleaning up from a ring feeder can be tedious. These feeders are still the most economical way to save hay, and the most common choice for smaller farmers.

Cradle Feeders

These type of feeders hold the bale off the ground and have feed slots for the animals to stick their head in and eat. There are many types of these feeders, you can get them on skids, on wheels, stationary, and even ones with roofs to further protect your hay. These feeders cost $2,000 and up, but are probably the best way to feed round bales, as they save the most hay.

Feeding In the Barn

Some farmers who house their cows or horses in barns have found innovative ways to feed them large round bales. If you can not fit a tractor or skid steer in your barn, then you’ll have to do it all by hand, or with the use of a cart. There are specially made carts to unroll round bales but are still often to large to maneuver in older barns. Most people have to use a pitch fork and pull the hay off and bring it into the barn one fork full at a time. There are now specifically built saws that are used to cut the round bales making it much easier to fork them into the barn. Newer barns are usually built to accommodate rounds bales, and many farmers have retrofitted their old barns to feed round bales.

However you feed your round bales be sure to give you’re livestock a clean dry feeding area, and adequate space for everybody so nobody gets left out.

How do you feed your round bales? Tell us in the comments below!

 

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