The problem with feeding a round bale to a sheep (or calf) is that they have short necks, unfortunately the people that build round bale feeders count on the animal having a long neck to reach at least half way through the bale. We solved this problem by making the walls collapse so that the sheep only need to reach in as far as their necks allow them and yet they can eat the whole bale, without forking the hay!
As you can see we have some bars that keep the sheep away from the bale about 12 inches (30 cm) so that they do not mess out too much feed. The walls do not collapse, they actually swing and as the picture shows, coming nearer each other so that the sheep can reach the very center of the bale. Since this picture was taken we made the openings that the sheep stick their heads though smaller. The young lambs could crawl through it. Now with an 8 inch (20 cm) opening the lambs stay out and yet the old sheep can still get their heads in. We unfortunately hung a few sheep in a couple of places on the feeder, they slid their necks down wedging their throat into the "V" and could not lift it out, we since welded in a few small bars so that this does not happen. The feeder is 8 feet wide by 16 feet long. As you can see, we set the bale in with the end up not the way it came out of the baler, this makes it easier for the sheep to pull the hay out of the bale. There is very little waste and no forking. It might be hard to tell from the picture but the outside walls do not touch the ground, they are about 6 inches (15 cm) off the ground, otherwise the sheep could not move the wall. There is a frame that holds the end walls which are held up by a pipe that swivels over top of a smaller pipe, this is how it keeps the walls off the ground.
Last Updated 22 Apr 2003
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