Dairy Goat Journal. Presenting information, ideas, and insights for everyone who raises, manages, or just loves dairy goats.
Tell a Friend about sheep! Magazine
 
Home
Subscribe
Customer Services
Bookstore
Back Issue
Current Issue
Past Issues
Library
About Us
Contact Us
Advertise
Breeders Directory
Links
 



Feeder Invention Stops Injuries
to Frenzied Pregnant Ewes



By Ben Barringer


We have been in the sheep business since 1968. One problem had always plagued us: Feeding pregnant ewes grain without injuring the unborn lambs.

The Heart Of The Problem

Sheep are always in a frenzy for grain but that last month before lambing they are particularly dangerous to themselves and their “cargo.”

We tried putting feed out in troughs ahead of time and let them through the gate to it, but some would go down and get rolled and others get squeezed against the gate posts.

I have surrounded a tractor with sheep panels and driven through a flock of 300, pouring small piles on the ground. (This worked pretty well but the grain was on the ground and that is not good.)

Of course if you are young and stout you can attempt to walk among them and try to spill a bag of grain in their troughs. Good luck.

Three years ago, I went on my own and reduced the flock to 100 ewes and set about solving the “problem.”

The Invention

I started with an old hay/grain elevator 30 feet long, laid it on the
ground perpendicular to the fence line and suspended 30 feet of 4-inch heavy-wall plastic septic pipe above it on two-by-four crosspieces.

White pipe has slots on its bottom side and sits above a trough made from segments of sawn plastic road culvert.
White pipe has slots on its bottom side and sits above a trough made from segments of sawn plastic road culvert.

I cut long slots¬ó1.5 inches by 24 inches long along the bottom of the pipe, leaving web sections between cutouts two inches long.

Inner pipe withdrawn to show how slots were cut.  Similar slots are cut into the outer pipe (previous photo) but they're on the bottom.
Inner pipe withdrawn to show how slots were cut. Similar slots are cut into the outer pipe (previous photo) but they’re on the bottom.

Inside the 4-inch pipe is 30 feet of 3-inch thin-wall plastic septic pipe, with similar cutouts made along the top.

Here's the 'funnel' to fill inner pipe with feed...
Here’s the “funnel” to fill inner pipe with feed…

...and a close-up of the funnel entrance and exit (inner pipe barely visible beneath).
…and a close-up of the funnel entrance and exit (inner pipe barely visible beneath).

I made a hopper above a 4-inch plastic “tee” equipped with a slider to transfer the grain into the 3-inch pipe.

To operate this system, you pull the 30-foot 3-inch pipe out, and then feed the pipe through the “hopper-tee.”

This lets the grain fill the 3-inch pipe.

Ready to fill the withdrawn inner pipe.  As the pipe fills up, operator slides it into the larger pipe through the partition (arrow).
Ready to fill the withdrawn inner pipe. As the pipe fills up, operator slides it into the larger pipe through the partition (arrow).

Feed pours into the slots of the withdrawn inner pipe.  When full, push the pipe in to the next segment and continue filling.  Repeat until inner pipe is full.
Feed pours into the slots of the withdrawn inner pipe. When full, push the pipe in to the next segment and continue filling. Repeat until inner pipe is full.

I subsequently found that 100 ewes need 70 feet of trough, so two more troughs were set parallel to the first trough, both 20 footers.

I can stay on one side of the fence and fill each feeder tube at any time I choose, and then walk away¬óleaving the tubes loaded. Because of their design they are weather proof.

End view of loaded pipe.
End view of loaded pipe.

At any time of my choosing, I walk out, call the sheep, and from the safe side of the fence spin the inner (3-inch) pipe upside down, give it a shake back and forth, and then go to the next.

In about a minute all the grain is poured out in the three troughs, and I am on the safe side of the fence!

The two extra troughs were made using a 20-foot section of black plastic road culvert about two feet in diameter that I cut longitudinally into three troughs. I suspended two of these about eight inches above the ground on a support of 1-inch rebar that was welded to support the underside of the trough and mounted the trough on three vertical pieces of 1-inch rebar driven into the ground vertically.

Above the trough is suspended the 4-inch heavy-wall plastic septic pipe with the 3-inch pipe inside it (same as described above).

The support for the pipe is made of a 6-inch piece of 1-inch black iron pipe with an angle-iron “V” welded to it and a large worm gear radiator hose clamp holds the pipe securely in the “V.” Then the holder is set over the top of the 1-inch rebar posts. My experience is 1-inch rebar is needed, because nothing less will stand up to “these wooly linebackers in a feeding frenzy.”





Home | Subscribe | Current Issue | Library | Past Issues | Bookstore
Links | About Us | Contact Us | Address Change | Advertise in sheep! | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use |