Pasture Calf Feeder
For feeding un-weaned calves on pasture in the same field with their mothers, the feeder keeps the cows out while allowing the calves to enter the feeder where the exact feed for that size calf will discharge. That could describe dozens of brands of feeders that will do exactly that!
Usually in a field of both cows and calves the calves will vary in age, size and weight. Very young calves need a high protein feed and as they get older the protein can be reduced. For maximum feed conversion the rancher should change the ratio of protein, fat and fiber to fit the age of the animal. But, until now it was very difficult to do! In a field of calves they would have to be hand fed. That would not be practical! The other alternative is the common creep feeder that only feeds one feed type and it is at FULL feed.
The "Discriminating" feeder works without power to automatically and selectively dispense the right ration to the right calves simultaneously (in the same feeder) to produce maximum feed conversion. The amount of feed per calf is also determined by the calf in the feeder at the time! Again, no power, no computers, no adjustments! The purpose is to increase the total profit for the cow calf rancher by increasing feed conversion as listed here. Additional benefits to the calf are increased health and reduced stress.
No power required
One feeder for various size calves
Up to 4 different rations
Variable amount feedings
Provides the proper ration to based on the size of the calf.
Prevents spoilage of feed due to weather entering the feeder.
No wild animals, birds, insects, rodents, etc. will be able to eat form the feeder because they are not able to access the feed.
Prevents wastes & reduced nutrient value due to insect and bird contamination.
The feeder determines the size of each calf attempting to eat. The feeder then feeds the calf the exact type and amount of feed (preset by the farmer).
Existing farm supply dealers and distributors, livestock feed companies, etc. The farm supply network and the veterinarian supply companies are also very large, as well as the agricultural co-op system in the United States.
More Details Regarding The Benefits
The Discriminating Calf Creep Feeder is considerably different because it actually discriminates according to calf size and weight. It will provide up to 4 different rations, all at the same time, in the same pasture, automatically and without electronics.
The feeder requires no power, no necklaces, etc. It has 8 stalls restricted to one calf to each stall. Instead of the usual way where several calves can get in to each side of the feeder, it is restricted to a maximum of 4 calves per side, at any one time. Each ration will supply 2 stalls. Each stall mechanically checks each calf and lets down the exact amount of feed the operator has prescribed for that size range calf.
Example: When a 200 pound calf enters a stall, the stall control will instantly determine if the size and weight of that calf to see if it is in the range for the ration available in that stall. If accepted, a preset amount of feed is released into that stall’s feed trough. After consuming the feed, he backs out and the system resets itself, ready for the next calf. The operator also sets the calf weight and size range for each stall. As this 200 pound calf grows to, say 300#, or the operator adjusted size, the stall will refuse him feed and he will look to one of the other stalls until he gets feed. Then by habit he will keep coming back to that stall until he is refused again because of his growth. There can be up to 4 calf size ranges allowing plenty of operator flexibility.
The restriction goes 2 ways, if he is too small he cannot get the low protein feed and if he is too big he cannot get the high protein feed.
The objective is to provide the operators with the needed flexibility of feeding correctly! Up to now, if the pasture had calves with varying weights of 200 to 500 pounds the rancher was committed to feeding only one ration of protein, fat and fiber. The result is either not providing the best growth rate for younger calves or overspending on larger calves.
The payback should be outstanding considering that maximum feed conversion will be obtained throughout all calf size-ranges. Large feed companies could make the feeder available to their dealers? It might even be a good item to promote feed sales if the feeder was leased to the rancher as long as the dealer provided the feed.
Required Manufacturing Processes: Plant will include sheet metal processing, brake, punch, shear operations. This feeder could also include sheet plastic or vacuum formed plastic hoppers.