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 Range feeding calves?

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LCP



Posts : 49
Join date : 2012-04-16
Location : north central SD

PostSubject: Range feeding calves?   Wed Oct 01, 2014 11:13 pm

I'm thinking I might background some light calves this winter, and I've tried to brainstorm for some outside-the-box ideas on how to get it done.  Last winter I bucket fed 175 hd of feeder calves plus 110 replacement heifers.  That's more buckets than I really want, and barely enough calves to make it worthwhile.  I'm trying to avoid buying a mixer wagon, so here's my wild idea:




I'd go with the trailer version, as I don't have a bale bed.  The thing holds 35 bu, which is almost a ton, so I could feed a lot of calves with it at 5-7 lb of DDGS/Corn per head.  For the roughage component I think I'd get a few more bale rings, set my bales out in the hay field with the rings around about 2-3 days worth of hay, and use polywire to keep them out of the next row of bales.  Keep the manure out of the yard that way, and I don't have to start a tractor every morning - just the pickup, which I do anyway.  The hay fields are real close to the yard, so they'd trail in 1/4 - 3/8 mile for water in the corral.  

Suggestions?
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ABraunschweig-er



Posts : 0
Join date : 2014-03-03
Age : 26
Location : WI

PostSubject: Re: Range feeding calves?   Sun Nov 02, 2014 10:56 pm

The only concern I would have is about the trip to water and what amount of calories that would burn.......but I don't know how legitimate that is. Would they lick enough snow to meet their water requirements?
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Hilly



Posts : 388
Join date : 2010-09-24
Location : Sylvan Lake, Alberta

PostSubject: Re: Range feeding calves?   Mon Nov 03, 2014 8:04 am

We have one and I don't have much to add other then start out with just a few pounds until the calves get use to the fact that they don't all need to be on the first ten dumps, as the few that realize first will get a whole pile to them selves for the first week and can go off feed.

To help with this I do three shorter rows dumping out the centre row firsts as they are more likely to leave there over crowed piles when they see another right behind them.

I have a bale deck so its simple to lift at the end and swing around, not sure how easy it is with the trailer.
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Grassfarmer



Posts : 714
Join date : 2010-09-27
Location : Belmont, Manitoba, Canada

PostSubject: Re: Range feeding calves?   Mon Nov 03, 2014 10:15 am

My only concern with that is what is the wastage level? If calves are trailing back to water would it be possible to feed them there? I'm assuming you have some sort of trough already? Other options to dispense feed into troughs without using buckets are the hopper with auger system that mounts on your truck (Jack MacNamee style) or there is also a neat system with a loader bucket with a hydraulic driven auger running across the bottom of it and out through the side - you just drive into a pile of feed, fill the bucket then dispense.
I still do it the dumb way - with buckets Sad
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LCP



Posts : 49
Join date : 2012-04-16
Location : north central SD

PostSubject: Re: Range feeding calves?   Mon Nov 03, 2014 10:36 am

Grassfarmer wrote:
My only concern with that is what is the wastage level? If calves are trailing back to water would it be possible to feed them there? I'm assuming you have some sort of trough already? Other options to dispense feed into troughs without using buckets are the hopper with auger system that mounts on your truck (Jack MacNamee style) or there is also a neat system with a loader bucket with a hydraulic driven auger running across the bottom of it and out through the side - you just drive into a pile of feed, fill the bucket then dispense.
I still do it the dumb way - with buckets  Sad

If corn was $7, I would be more concerned about waste also. I figure the waste is the trade-off for not having to carry buckets. If I feed 1000 lb of grain and they waste 15%, thats 2.5 bu, less than $10. I'm willing to pay $10 to not have to carry 30 buckets. I sure could feed them in the corral where they water, and figured that arrangement is still necessary for when the weather is bad. Also, I'd hope to be spreading the nutrients (manure & urine) out better by feeding in a new spot each day.

I like the Nifty Feeder because there isn't anything that can break on it that I can't fix myself - no hoses, motors, etc. I also would not have to start a tractor. I already start the pickup most days.

The good thing about buckets is it keeps me a little more active during the winter. That's probably worth something. Last spring I was bucketing grain to 285 calves, but I was around every day. Kinda feel bad asking the neighbor to do that much work if we'd want to be gone for a day or two. Pulling that Nifty Feeder wouldn't be much of a chore.

I'll probably look into using self-feeders with a limiter as well. Since I would be feeding only a few months of the year, I'm just not excited about spending a bunch of money on equipment and infrastructure to collect dust for 7-8 months a year. There's enough other people that have made the investment and will custom feed for me at a reasonable price. If I can't do it in a least-cost manner, I'll probably not go much further with it.
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Grassfarmer



Posts : 714
Join date : 2010-09-27
Location : Belmont, Manitoba, Canada

PostSubject: Re: Range feeding calves?   Tue Nov 04, 2014 12:05 am

I don't know Luke as I've never done it but I'd think 15% wastage might be very optimistic especially if you have snow. If you have the bunks I'd consider using them - but still give their hay out in the pasture and they shouldn't hang about in the yard. We've done something similar to that. Just need to find a better way than buckets to fill your feed bunks.
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Kent Powell



Posts : 500
Join date : 2010-09-24
Location : SW Kansas

PostSubject: Re: Range feeding calves?   Tue Nov 04, 2014 7:40 am

http://tsfeeders.com/truck.html

Works great for feeding big cake pellets on grass or in a bunk. If you are feeding grain, look for one with an auger. This one will lose some out the back of the conveyor chain. At least our 30 year old one will. We made one with an auger for the Ranger.

I am sure most everyone is a better operator than me, but the wheel on a trailer looks like a nightmare. When the bale bed pickup was broke down and we used a little trailer similar to what holds the wheel in the picture to feed bales, it made a one man 10 min job into a whole family all day mess. With a cake feeder, you can get the job done without broken mirrors, smashed doors, cows straddling the trailer, bulls using what you are pulling as a pasture entertainment center...
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Hilly



Posts : 388
Join date : 2010-09-24
Location : Sylvan Lake, Alberta

PostSubject: Re: Range feeding calves?   Tue Nov 04, 2014 8:46 am

I have no way to prove it but if we use the grain drum in 6" or less of snow I can't see 15% waste, possibly with calves but with pairs or cows we recycle  3" of top soil along with the 6" of snow. Kent brings up a good point as to how hard it is on the truck, more so with cows.

We rarely use ours but when we have to, the biggest draw back for me is that for years after the bale deck truck is doomed to being chased down by  running mobs of welfare cattle.

Grassy what do you charge an hour to fill and dump buckets? Your still around for this winter right? .... have I got a deal for you Smile
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Grassfarmer



Posts : 714
Join date : 2010-09-27
Location : Belmont, Manitoba, Canada

PostSubject: Re: Range feeding calves?   Tue Nov 04, 2014 2:56 pm

Hilly wrote:
I have no way to prove it but if we use the grain drum in 6" or less of snow I can't see 15% waste, possibly with calves but with pairs or cows we recycle  3" of top soil along with the 6" of snow.  Kent brings up a good point as to how hard it is on the truck, more so with cows.

We rarely use ours but when we have to, the biggest draw back for me is that for years after the bale deck truck is doomed to being chased down by  running mobs of welfare cattle.

Grassy what do you charge an hour to fill and dump buckets? Your still around for this winter right? .... have I got a deal for you Smile

You couldn't pay me enough to take on that job Hilly after the chiropractor bills and all. After 30 years of it I've finally kind of wised up. Once we get feeding calves I get a load of pellets dumped on the ground, fill up the loader bucket once by hand to get a weight estimate then just load however much I need into the silage wagon every day and mix it with their silage cheers
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LCP



Posts : 49
Join date : 2012-04-16
Location : north central SD

PostSubject: Re: Range feeding calves?   Wed Nov 05, 2014 1:13 pm

Yeah I suppose 15% waste is overly optimistic. Besides I already have the bunks, so I might as well use them. I still want to avoid running a tractor if possible. Part of the reason for that is to be able to feed calves at my place (purchase or custom-fed) and dad's (home-raised) with the same equipment, 4 miles apart. Something on the pickup would be handier for that arrangement.

Here's another idea...



I am just planning to feed calves with this, not cows. I think if I put a flatbed on my toyota and not fill it up all the way it would work. I'd rather not use the "good" pickup, a crew cab long box, if I can help it. Not quite as nimble as the toyota.
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larkota



Posts : 310
Join date : 2010-09-23
Age : 57
Location : Kimball South Dakota

PostSubject: Re: Range feeding calves?   Wed Nov 05, 2014 4:42 pm

LCP wrote:
Yeah I suppose 15% waste is overly optimistic.  Besides I already have the bunks, so I might as well use them.  I still want to avoid running a tractor if possible.  Part of the reason for that is to be able to feed calves at my place (purchase or custom-fed) and dad's (home-raised) with the same equipment, 4 miles apart.  Something on the pickup would be handier for that arrangement.  

Here's another idea...



I am just planning to feed calves with this, not cows.  I think if I put a flatbed on my toyota and not fill it up all the way it would work.  I'd rather not use the "good" pickup, a crew cab long box, if I can help it.  Not quite as nimble as the toyota.


hell of a deal...have used a porta potty...but a porta bin scratch lol!
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