The Hi Qual Tombstone Hay Feeder design provides both protection for the feeder from abuse and hay savings for your farm and ranch operation. They are available for both horses and livestock and below is a quick rundown of how these feeders are designed for longevity and will provide reliable hay savings for years to come.
Below are excerpts from their promotional video and key points that illustrate how valuable this can be for you and your animals.
Round Bale Feeder Features
The Tombstone Saver is the feeder that really got Hi Qual the map back in 1980’s and was their first patented item. Their research and development department looked at the problems that were currently associated with hay bale feeding and there were two key issues that they identified: One was that horse hay feeders wasted too much feed and secondly, they just weren’t durable enough. So they came up with this new patented design which we refer to as a Tombstone.
Hay Saving Design
The key feature of this product is the fact that not only is it a tombstone design, but that the tombstones slope inward toward the bale. This creates an inner ring and outer ring, so when a cow comes in to feed, as they’re picking at the bale, the loose feed drops inside the feeder instead of on the ground where gets trampled and wasted. Another nice feature about this design is the fact that is that it’s got an open top. Traditional bale feeders have a top ring, so what we found from our research is that when the cattle are feeding in this product, they tend to keep their head in the feeder rather lifting up and pulling feed out. So again, you get additional savings! How much you ask? Research at the University of Manitoba has shown that with the Tombstone Saver Horse Bale Feeder, you’ll save an average of about 60 pounds of hay for every thousand pounds fed as compared to a traditional slant bar style feeder.
Tombstones protect the feeder from damage
Another great design feature you’ll find with the off-set tombstone design is one that protects the feeder from damage. When the cattle are feeding, they typically want to lean in and on the feeder, which can cause stress on the metal and cause bending or even breakage. With the ‘off-set’ tombstone design, the animal’s legs are kept back away from the feeder before their shoulders can touch the tombstones. This takes away their leverage and they no longer have the ability to push against and move the feeder or cause damage to the uprights by leaning their shoulders or necks on them!
Some other key things to look at with this design, because there’s other round bale feeders on the market, is the material used in construction. The upright hoops are welded directly to the top ring so it can take a lot of stress. It’s also made out of a lot heavier gauge steel than a standard 16 gauge feeder. So for extra strength and longevity, HiQual uses an 11 gauge top ring! On the Hay Saver, the sheeting is mounted on the outside of the lower hay rings to provide a smooth and strong outer hay-saving skirt design. The sheeting not only helps save hay by containing it, but just as importantly, it stops the cattle from climbing up and getting inside the feeder. This particular feeder comes with 15 feeding stations which is a very high capacity and it’ll take a 6 foot round bale.
Ease of loading
You can also actually take the feeder apart and with the hinge kit, open it up to help loading a hay bale. At the joint, you just take the bolts out and install the hinge. You can then simply pull the pin and open the feeder up which then allows you to easily feed with a three point hitch. This feeder is more convenient and more versatile than your typical livestock bale feeder.
It’s also important to look at the bottom of the feeder. There are three mud legs on each feeder panel and what the mud legs do, is keep it up out of the mud, that’s why they call them mud legs but it also prevents it from freezing down to the ground in the winter. Imagine if your feeder’s bottom ring was down in the ground and frozen. When you came to move it with your loader by putting a chain over the top to grab it, you’d put a tremendous amount of unnecessary stress on the product. Again, it’s very important to keep that up off the ground and out of the mud.
One final thing to point out is that we are talking about quality and durability with HiQual products in general. A simple design change makes a world of difference and you’ll find their Tombstone Hay Saver Feeder has a vertical support post which is welded between the top ring and the bottom ring underneath each tombstone. What that means is, when there’s pressure placed on the upright, you got the vertical posts, the horizontal ring and the sheet metal all working together in a coordinated fashion to prevent any bending. It all means that at the end of the day, this feeder will last you for 10, 15 or 20 years and won’t end up in the boneyard or out the back 40 being unused or discarded as a typical round hay bale feeder might.
Each Spring we get a lot of questions about the use and effectiveness of cattle guards. Whether it’s selecting the proper load-rating, to what animals they truly work with, a few quick, concise answers can provide decades of convenience and security. Below is a quick outline of the various types, load ratings, benefits and dangers to be aware of when using these effective livestock barriers.
It’s probably obvious, but cattle guards don’t require any effort to operate! Once installed, there really isn’t anything to do except drive across them. On the other hand, the typical livestock gate requires quite the production to use. The routine is to drive up to the gate and stop, chase any animals away from the opening as possible, jump back in your vehicle and pull through to stop yet again. Now, quickly get out and close the gate behind you before any of your herd decides to escape.
This is a tedious process and all but impossible when there is a group of animals near the gate. Add a bit of weather or cold temperatures and it really becomes a hassle. Frequently crossing a fence-line with hay equipment, tractors with feed or deliveries almost necessitates a more convenient option than a manual gate.
If the logistics of operating a gate are tough for you to deal with, imagine how attentive others will be when crossing your fence-line. If you have third parties that need access to your pasture, such as maintenance crews for cell phone towers, oil rigs etc, they may not be as careful as you are when using them. In fact, they may even leave it open thinking they’ll be back before an animal notices it’s open or forget to close it altogether. There’s nothing like having to find and chase down your cattle because someone forgot to close a gate!
A cattle guard will provide peace of mind knowing that it literally cannot be left open and your animals will always be safe, secure and right where you left them. No sleepless nights wondering if a gate was left open and no more calls from the neighbors or police about wandering animals.
HOW A CATTLE GUARD WORKS
There are a few different cattle guard designs out there but they all rely on the ability to present unstable footing and depth perception as deterrents. The combination of the two create a very effective livestock barrier!
– Walking on a rounded surface with a flat foot is a difficult task. Try it with a large hoof and an extremely rounded pipe and you will have a tough time balancing. Add a 1,000 pounds and you have real trouble!
We’ve all stood on top of a small, rounded rock (imagine crossing a stream) and realized how difficult it is to balance on the small, rounded surface. This is still difficult even though our foot does have some flexibility in it to help grip the rock. That is the design and physical component that makes cattle grids so effective. The round pipes that make up the top of the guard create an extremely difficult and physically uncomfortable footing for a large-hoofed animals. Unable to get any kind of secure footing, they simply cannot put any weight on their leg for a place to stand. The rounded surface doesn’t allow them to gain any type of stable footing. This sensation is extremely uncomfortable, unpleasant and so physically demanding that they remember this strong deterrent in the future. This will help keep them from challenging the barrier in the future and most will shy away when it’s presented again. Although some will never test it or put a hoof on the first rail, those that do don’t usually put weight on the first step and retreat to ‘safer pastures’.
The vaulted area dug under the guard creates a confusing and frightful illusion for cattle. They see the deep area under the guard and get the sensation that they can fall. This confuses and distorts their depth perception when approaching and usually creates the desire to turn around. There are some studies out there where a roadway was painted to create an optical illusion of depth, like that seen with a traditional cattle guard and almost all of the cattle that encountered it wouldn’t go across. It was just paint on flat pavement, but the illusion was enough to keep them from crossing.
TYPES OF CATTLE GUARDS
Most ‘Texas Gates‘ are constructed out of steel and finished in either a powder-coat or directly applied enamel paint. In the rare case, they may be galvanized however that hot-dipping process does add substantial costs.
Concrete can also provide the same visual and physical deterrents to livestock that steel does. The nice thing about concrete is, you can order forms and make your own. Simply drop in the re-bar, pour the concrete into the form and removed to install in place when ready. The concrete cattle guards do come with an HS20, 16 ton/axle rating and you may pour as many as you like with a single form.
Load Ratings – To install cattle guards in a public roadway, they must meet the HS-20 standards called out for by the Department of Transportation. They require a carrying capacity of at least 16 tons per axle. Below is a chart of the various load ratings and their capacities:
AASHTO Design Specifications
H-15 (12 tons per axle)
H-20 (16 tons per axle)
U-54 (25 tons per axle)
U-80 (30 tons per axle)
Most farms and ranches don’t need the DOT 16 ton per axle rate and will install the more economical private use cattle guards or go with the 12 ton per axle rating. They are much more economical and will still carry a fully loaded semi-truck but be sure to check with your local governing agencies before installing a cattle guard on your property. Some municipalities require specific ratings for government and emergency vehicles such as fire trucks that may need to access your property.
DANGERS OF CATTLE GUARDS
Although they work extremely well with cattle, they are not designed to prevent all animals were crossing. Small hoofed animals are quite agile and can balance easily on the rounded surface. The smaller ‘foot-print’ allows them to balance quite easily so they don’t encounter the same unstable footing that presented by a large hoof. Goats are a prime example, you won’t keep them in with a cattle grid.
Horses: A special note is needed here as we do not recommend cattle guards be used with horses. Their slender hooves are able to slide down in between the rails which exposes their long, slender legs to high leverage and possible breakage. During the panic to remove themselves, they will struggle and could easily break their own leg in the effort. We highly recommend only traditional gates be used to contain horses.
Cattle guards provide an effective livestock barrier and a convenient method for vehicular traffic and equipment to cross fence lines while eliminating the risk of an open gate and a free herd of cattle. With proper installation, these gate-less entries can provide decades of containment for your largest groups of cattle.
If you have any questions or would like help selecting the proper cattle guard for your operation, please contact Barn World Livestock Supplies today and they’ll be happy to help!
Here is a quick re-cap of the new 4.5 bushel Osborne Pig Feeder that automatically switches from a traditional gravity fed feeder to a mechanical feeder all on it’s own! Keep the feed in front of your pigs and eliminate the ‘play waste’ as they grow automatically with this specially engineered feeder from Osborne.
Pig Feeder Review – gravity to mechanical automatically!
Osborne Industries, the leader in hog feeding equipment recently announced its latest advancement in their signature line of no-waste, Big Wheel Hog Feeders.
The Fast-Start, wean-to-finish feeder features all the no-waste feed saving aspects of the Big Wheel family of mechanical flow feeders but operates as a gravity flow for newly weaned pigs and then, as the pigs grow, it converts automatically from gravity to mechanical feed flow!
HOW THE PIG FEEDER CONVERTS FROM GRAVITY TO MECHANICAL FLOW
When weaned pigs are put on the feeder, small slides in the feeder hopper bottom are open. As pigs grow, they begin turning a five spoke feed-wheel in the bottom of the trough which closes the slides on the feed hopper bottom. The turning of the feed wheel is what automatically converts the Fast-Start feeder from gravity to mechanical operation. Once in mechanical mode, a feed-sweep located in the bottom of the feed hopper and attached to the feed wheel, sweeps feed past the cone and out of the hopper into the trough. Feed falls through the center hole in the trough where it is dispensed to the pigs. Once pigs are able to turn the feed wheel, the feeder makes it’s automatic conversion from gravity to mechanical flow.
With the Fast-Start feeder, pigs receive all the great benefits of gravity flow feeding when they are small which provides access to fresh feed at all times. However, unlike traditional gravity fed feeders, no adjustment is ever necessary when the feeder is in gravity mode.
Producers benefit from substantially reduced labor that is required to continually monitor and adjust traditional gravity flow feeders. With the Osobrne feeder, once the pigs turn the feed wheel, it automatically converts from gravity to mechanical flow.
BENEFITS OF MECHANICAL FEEDING
The mechanical flow design is the key to maximizing feed savings in finish feeding. No other feeding method can make the speed saving claims of the mechanical flow Big Wheel Feeders. Once the feeder converts to the mechanical flow mode and pigs stop eating, the feeder stops feeding which completely eliminates play waste.
ROUND HOG FEEDERS ARE A BETTER DESIGN
The round axis of the Big Wheel Feeders improve the feeding and growth performance of your animals. The feeder spreads animals radially around the self-cleaning troughwhich provides more standing room and less physical contact between the pigs. Conventional rectangular feeders force pigs into close contact with each other and often result in wasteful competition for the food.
HOG FARMER TESTIMONIAL
From Jeff Dorman: ‘I started raising hogs in 1983 and bought some of the first RO feeders from Osborne. Don’t know what year that was but a lot of them are the originals and are still on the farm. Then I moved into the nursery feeders and used them for close to 30 years probably.
The first thing we noticed when I put them in there with the Fast-Start was that the feed was always there, especially the first pallets. So the pigs come in and they’re averaging about 13 pounds and I sort them down. The smaller group is around 10 pounds, some are up to 15 pounds but averaging around 13 pounds. When we first started, we put the bigger ones on (the new pig feeder) and the next week we put the smaller pigs on. There was no problem with the smaller pigs getting started on these feeders. They did just like we wanted them to. The first pellets lasted about 3 to 5 days and then I switch to another pellet that goes for another four or five days, so then it’s grind and mix. In that time-frame, from about 10 to 14 days, is when I noticed that they’ll switch from being gravity fed to start moving that mechanical wheel. Within about two weeks, they’re spinning that wheel. I’ve watched it 10 days up to about two weeks and they are moving the wheel with ease. Once they’ve spun the wheel, then there’s no problem with them having access to feed. There is always feed in the trough at that point.’
Osborne’s latest innovation in pig feeding comes from over 30 years of research and development in finding the optimal way to feed pigs. To see the Fast-Start feeder that converts from gravity to mechanical feeding automatically and all the Osborne pig feeder line-up, visit Barn World Livestock Supplies today!