Skip to main content

Fabricate a round-bale holder at home

Round bales are a cheap way to buy hay for stock when the grass dries off in winter or if you're keeping them in the yards.  Round bales without round bale holders don't last more than 24 hours with our cattle!  They tend to pull the whole thing apart and then lie down in it, poo in it and refuse to eat the rest.  It makes a very expensive pile of mulch!  With a good round bale holder, most of the hay will be eaten and only the stalks are discarded, but the holders are expensive to buy, around $400 in our area.

Before we owned a round bale holder (and after making a few expensive piles of mulch) we made a quick and cheap version using three cattle panels arranged in a triangle around the bale.  Farmer Pete made one of the panels with wider rung spacing so the cattle could poke their heads through.  This worked quite well, as a triangle is very strong and the cattle couldn't push it over, but it wasn't ideal for them to access the hay (and we needed the panels for our yard).

Later, when we were very busy and in need of a round bale holder, we bought the simple one pictured below.  It is made from three pipe hoops, pipe uprights and mesh at the bottom to stop the hay from spilling out.  It works very well, but with the new property we needed a second round bale holder and didn't want to pay for something that we could make, now that we had more time to work on it.


The difficulty with fabricating a round bale holder is bending the pipe into a circle, as this requires expensive bending equipment that we don't have access to.  Farmer Pete decided to make it as a hexagon instead.  We used a bit of geometry to work out the length of the sides and angles required to fit in a 3 foot bale and Farmer Pete made the cuts and easily bent the box section into shape.  Then we did some really tricky geometry and made the holder at the right height for the bale with diagonal risers between each centre and corner.  This stops the cattle putting their head in and tossing the hay around.
hexagon geometry
This image was very useful
- see http://www.codeproject.com/Articles/14948/Hexagonal-grid-for-games-and-other-projects-Part-1 

The finished product

Frank inspects the new geometric art installation in his paddock

The sculpture is more popular when its filled with hay!
Do your cattle waste round bales?  How do you feed them out?

Comments

  1. I like the looks of your bale holder better than the store bought one. Our old farm has pieces of old holders scattered around where the cheap metal has rusted out and the cows and farm hands have destroyed what was left. I suspect that your model is better constructed than what we have. Good job!

    ReplyDelete
  2. That's very impressive!! Did you weld it together and then paint it? Looks super professional. Well done Farmer Pete.

    ReplyDelete
  3. thanks everyone, its always handy to have a professional metal worker around for jobs such as these :) We will have to try to look after it, the cattle have chipped off most of the pain already, but it did look nice for a while!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Thanks, I appreciate all your comments, suggestions and questions, but I don't always get time to reply right away. If you need me to reply personally to a question, please leave your email address in the comment or in your profile, or email me directly on eight.acres.liz at gmail.com

Popular posts from this blog

Getting started with chickens - Tanya from Lovely Greens

Sign up for my weekly email updates here, you will find out more about soap and our farmlife, straight to your inbox, never miss a post!  New soap website and shop opening soon....

Farmer Liz: You will remember Tanya from Lovely Greens from the first series, she lives on the Isle of Mann and added chickens to her garden about a year ago.  You can leave comments for this post on Tanya's blog.



How many chickens (and other fowl) do you keep, what breed and what do you use them for (meat, eggs, slug control etc)?
Tanya: Around the same time that we were initially thinking about having hens another friend beat us to the punch. She went to the local pet store and bought a flat-pack hen house and chicken run combo and found a local farmer who had dozens of semi-feral chickens running around his property. One night he pulled three down from the trees and my friend took them home in a pet carrier. She named them Miracel, Carmen, and Geraldine and though they’re probably related they were all…

What to do with eight acres

Behind the scenes of my blog I can see the search terms that led people to find my blog.  It can be quite interesting to look through them occasionally and see what people are looking for.  Most of them involve chicken tractors, but another question that comes up regularly is “what can you do with eight acres?” or “how much land is eight acres?”.  Today I will try to answer this question.

Of course it is a very broad question, there are lots and lots of things you can do with eight acres, but I’m going to assume that you want to live there, feed your family and maybe make a little extra money.  I make that assumption because that’s what I know about, if you want to do something else with your eight acres, you will need to look somewhere else.

If you haven’t chosen your land yet, here a few things to look for.  Focus on the things you can’t change and try to choose the best property you can find in your price range.  Look for clean water in dams, bores or wells, either on the property …

Growing mushrooms in my kitchen!

I’ve been wanting to try growing mushrooms for some time. I LOVE mushrooms and we buy them from the supermarket every week, so I was keen to find a way to produce them at home to reduce waste and potentially cost as well.





A few years ago I found out that you could grow mushrooms from the spent mushroom compost from mushroom farms. So we dropped in to a farm on the Sunshine Coast and picked up a couple of boxes for $2 each. I diligently kept them dark and sprayed them with water, but in our climate, I just couldn’t keep them damp enough (and I had to keep them outside because our shed was too hot). I never managed to produce any mushrooms from those boxes, but when I gave up and tipped the compost out onto the garden, mushrooms sprang up everywhere. I wasn’t confident that they were the right mushrooms though, so I didn’t harvest any of those. As the proverb says, All mushrooms are edible, but some only once! I am generally a bit nervous about unidentified fungi.

Since then, I had…