It’s that time of year again…National Farmers Day! It’s a chance for us to collectively take a step back and specifically thank all of the farmers who work so hard each day to feed the world.
…for all the early mornings and late nights.
…for all those cold winter mornings feeding and milking.
…for all those hot summer days baling hay.
…for all those dusty fall harvest days.
…for all the hard work that makes it so easy for the rest of us.
FROM THE BOTTOMS OF OUR HEARTS, THANK YOU, FARMERS – The team at Farmco
4 Livestock Feed Storage Ideas You Can Try Today
Your grain or other livestock feed is crucial to keeping your animals
healthy during the winter — unfortunately, your herd isn’t the only
ones who want a taste. Rodents and vermin like to turn your animal feed
into a free buffet whenever they get the chance. Plus, the wintertime
water and resulting mold can play a part in ruining the livestock feed
you’re storing as well.
If you want to fight back against mold and pests, you need to check out these 4 livestock feed storage ideas. Some are DIY work-arounds you can try out — and others are long-term investments. Learn 4 ways to keep your feed and grains safe!
Grain Storage Ideas & Solutions
If you leave your feed in the plastic bags it comes in, rodents will
chew right through them before you can say Mickey Mouse. Not only do
vermin like to eat your feed, they also pollute it with their feces. In
fact, wasted and ruined feed is one of the biggest and most-preventable
ways that farmers lose money.
Grain storage is your investment to prevent that loss. Your ideal
livestock feed storage solution needs to be stronger than vermin,
protected from the rain, and easy to transport and use.
Some large farms employ multiple 30-ton or 50-ton stationary grain bins. While that massive equipment works for them, it’s not right for most farmers since it is too large, too expensive, and not mobile. Let’s take a look at some innovative grain storage solutions instead:
1. Plastic Trashcans
A quick and cheap homemade feed storage bin, the thicker plastic of these trashcans will stand up slightly better to rodent teeth than thin plastic bags – but not nearly as well as metal. In addition, the lids won’t fit tightly enough to deter rodents, and they aren’t water-tight either. However, the wheels on this impromptu livestock feed storage bin make transport easier, even when it is full. Another plus to using this option is it’s extremely affordable – you can buy a plastic trash can in almost any hardware store for $20 or less.
2. Old Chest Freezers
Not exactly something you can go out and buy nowadays, but old chest freezers can make decent livestock feed storage bins in a pinch. The tight sealing lid ensures that your feed stays intact when the lid is closed, and the thick and insulated metal sides will best any determined rodent. However, old chest freezers are extremely hard to find as they haven’t been a popular style for decades. Plus, full or empty, they are tough to move from place-to-place – it’s not exactly like refrigerators come standard with D-rings.
3. 55 Gallon Metal Drums
These metal containers serve as the go-to to secure storage for a variety of industries. Since the sides are made entirely of metal, these drums are effective at repelling hungry rodents. In addition, since they are often used for transporting toxic manufacturing or auto waste, you can trust that the lids attach securely. For some farmers this is a cheap (around $100) and effective livestock feed storage idea to try right away. The only real drawbacks to using a 55 gallon drum as your livestock feeder are that it’s a challenge to move, and that scooping grain from the bottom can be difficult. That’s because these drums are meant to hold oil and coolant from auto shops, not serve as farm equipment.
4. Farmco Portable Grain Bins
Trust the equipment designed for one thing: safely storing livestock feed. Farmco grain bins are the most secure and easiest to use out of any of these livestock feed storage ideas – and the comparison isn’t even close.
Our grain bins are designed to hold a large amount of bulk feed for as long as you need without contamination. In addition, using our grain bins make your job on the farm easier.
What You Need to Know…
Farmco grain bins are built with thick, rust-free steel that easily repels vermin.
The shape and elevated bin are nearly impossible for rodents to climb.
The tight sealing lid makes loading easy, but prevents moisture from infiltrating to cause mold.
The grain bin design makes pouring the right amount of feed from the bin easy – no more scooping and digging around.
The wheels and trailer hitch make Farmco grain bins easy to haul around your farm.
Farmco Manufacturing – Building Solutions to Help Farmers
Farmco builds livestock feed storage bins with the same precise manufacturing and experienced engineering we use to build our horse and cattle feeders. No matter what Farmco product you buy, you can feel confident it was constructed to resist rust and stand up to the elements – and vermin.
If you’re a horse farmer or equestrian enthusiast, you love raising horses because you love riding. Chances are, doing the farm chores like feeding or cleaning up after the horses doesn’t top your list of favorite activities.
The right equipment exists to make your job easier, no matter what that job is. Finding the right horse feeder can help you spend less time doing chores and more time working with the horses themselves. Just like we show you how to find the right cattle feeder, we want to help you find the ideal horse feeder for your farm.
Read our latest blog and learn more about some of our popular lines of horse feeders.
3 Farmco Horse Feeders
Here are 3 horse feeders that include different features, meant to serve a different number of animals. See your options when shopping for a Farmco horse feeder.
This model of horse feeder is perfect for feeding several small hay bales to your horses. Since working to prevent wasted hay is a mission of Farmco Manufacturing, this small bale feeder includes a trough underneath the main section to catch wasted feed.
This small bale feeder is ideal for feeding multiple horses small bales of hay and can allow up to six horses to feed at once. In addition, this feeder is made of horizontal bars that are meant to prevent a horse from damaging their teeth if they bite the feeder. See the 4832G24 here.
A standard model horse feeder, the 606H is focused on maximizing farmer convenience. This model accomplishes this in three different ways. First, the 606H feeder allows for the use of large 5.5 foot hay bales – which means you’ll need to replace the bales less often. Plus, this large horse feeder can comfortably feed between eight and ten horses at the same time. In addition, the 606H comes with an end-load design meant to save you time when filling your feeder.
Finally, this feeder comes standard with both fork pockets and a D-ring. In conjunction with the durable skid feet, these features make this one of our more easily moved feeders since it can be transported by a skid steer or pulled by a truck. This model of feeder and others like it is all about ensuring you spend more time enjoying your horses, as opposed to doing farm chores. See the 606H here.
One of our most innovative feeders, the 608SF uses “slow feed netting” to control how much hay a horse can eat at one time. This exclusive “slow feed netting” reduces the opening through which horses can access the hay bale inside the feeder. This large style feeder can comfortably accommodate between six to eight horses at once.
The 608SF technology provides a variety of benefits to a horse farmer or equine enthusiast. Firstly, it limits how much feed a horse can waste, contributing to overall feed savings. If given the opportunity, horses will pull their feed from their regular feeder and trample or soil it – the 608SF helps to prevent this.
In addition, by keeping the horses from gorging themselves, this feeder promotes a healthy weight and healthy digestion in your horses. Finally, since Farmco is dedicated to saving the farmer time, the 608SF is both easy to load and easy to transport. See the 608SF here.
Are one of these horse feeders a perfect match for your farm or stable? Whether you want to get more information or place your order, we can help. Farmco sells our feeders online and in-person through our dedicated dealer network.
Contact us to learn more about our horse feeders and to get your free quote.
7 Horse Boredom Busters You Can Try Today
Whether on pasture or in their stall, preventing horse boredom is important. Horses that are bored can become depressed and even develop negative behaviors. That’s nothing a little care and a little ingenuity can’t solve.
At Farmco, we’re a resource for stables and equine enthusiasts. That’s why we’re presenting our list of horse boredom busters — some are tips to try and others are equine products to invest in.
Our Recommended Horse Boredom Breakers
If you raise or board horses, you know there will always be periods of downtime. You can’t be riding or turning out horses 24/7 — it just isn’t possible. That’s why having methods to entertain horses during these times is so crucial.
Every horse is different, and as a result, they’ll respond to these boredom busters differently. We recommend trying a few of these ideas and seeing how your horse or horses respond.
1. Introduce Balls
Playing with and knocking around sturdy rubber balls gives your horses something to do in their stalls and on pasture. While beach ball or yoga balls are great options, the most important thing to do is get balls that are too big to bite, or else your horses will destroy them quickly.
2. Bobbing For Apples or Carrots
If it’s fun for humans, it can fun for horses too. Once again, this horse boredom breaker plays on the fact that animals are always entertained by food. Dropping healthy snacks in your horse’s water can bring them hours of enjoyment as they work hard to get them out. Some horse aficionados even recommend this as a sure-fire method to get stubborn horses to drink water.
One of the best boredom buster activities for your horse on a rainy day, grooming them provides entertainment and builds your connection and boosts overall horse health.
4. Use Feeder Toys
Like all animals, horses find food very entertaining. Use this to your advantage by giving them a toy that dispenses treats when they play with it. There are numerous types of feeder toys, some that are meant to be hung in stalls and others that are meant to be rolled along a pasture. You can make a DIY feeder toy by filling a hard-plastic Gatorade bottle full of small pieces of food. As the horses nudge it along, treats will get dislodged from the mouth of the bottle.
5. Try Traffic Cones
Traffic cones can make a great toy for horses. Due to the color, shape, and material, some horses are really interested in spending hours playing with ordinary traffic cones. You can pick up cones at most big box hardware stores for an affordable price.
6. Try A Mirror
Horses can be entertained by seeing themselves in the mirror, so mounting a mirror in their stall can be a great way to keep them occupied. However, before using this horse boredom breaker in their stall, check to see how they respond to their reflection on pasture while supervising them closely.
7. Use a Slow Feed Horse Feeder
Slow feed horse feeders are a great way to keep your horse entertained on pasture for hours. The netting on a slow feed horse feeder restricts the amount of hay horses are able to eat at any one time (and protects their teeth.) Not only does this keep them satisfied while eating, but it also keeps the horses from gorging themselves and becoming overweight.
The Farmco 608SF Slow Feed Horse Feeder
At Farmco Manufacturing we build equipment that solves problems for real farmers and horse enthusiasts. We developed our 608SF Slow Feed Horse Feeder for this very reason.
Not only is the Farmco slow feed horse feeder a way to keep your horses entertained on pasture, but it provides a variety of other benefits to horse enthusiasts.
It promotes horse health by keeping them from overeating.
It reduces your hay expenses by limiting how much horses can eat and by reducing hay waste.
By reducing the amount of wasted hay, the feeder also reduces the amount of time spent cleaning up discarded hay.
Farmco feeders can be found all across the country as we sell our products online and through our dealer network. If you want to learn more about the advantages of Farmco feeders or want to get your quote, contact us today!
Why Ground Feeding is Bad for Horses, Cows & Farmers
While most savvy farmers know that ground feeding is an outdated method, some still hold onto this old tradition—and that’s a bad thing. Some classic farming traditions have unfortunately stuck around.
Still common among both cow farmers and equine enthusiasts, ground feeding is actually counterproductive, as it wastes hay (and money) and exposes both types of animals to entirely preventable parasites.
At Farmco, we build the world’s best cow and horse feeders, so we know the difference a sturdy feeder can make for your herd. It’s one of our missions to educate all types of farmers about the waste and the danger caused by ground feeding hay to your animals.
Why Do Some Farmers Still Ground Feed?
There isn’t just one answer for this question. From what we’ve heard talking to real farmers, it comes down to four things:
Misconceptions about their animals—We’ve heard some farmers say that their animals, particularly horses, are just happier eating with their nose in the ground, which they consider a more natural position.
Misinformation — Some farmers have simply never gotten the facts about ground feeding and take the downsides for granted. That’s where we come in.
Ease of ground feeding — While using Farmco feeders isn’t challenging, ground feeding is simpler. However, once you switch to a feeder you’ll know the extra minute of work is worth it.
Desire to put off buying a feeder — Buying a feeder is an upfront cost. While the investment will pay for itself with saved hay, some farmers are hesitant to spend the money. (By the way, buying a feeder can be one way to get a farm tax deduction!)
How Ground Feeding Wastes Hay
Some farmers say that ground feeding is the most natural way to feed animals. That might be true, but it doesn’t mean it’s the best way.
Here are the most common ways we see ground feeding waste hay:
If the ground is damp, the hay will get wet and begin growing mold. Unfortunately, some animals will still eat moldy hay, which can lead to serious medical problems. (Learn more about the dangers of moldy hay.)
Animals soil the hay, by urinating or defecating on it. Animals won’t consume hay ruined in this way.
Animals trample the hay, crushing it and grinding it into the mud. Trampled hay is difficult to eat and horses, in particular, are discerning enough not to eat it.
As a 21st century farmer — whether it’s your job or hobby — you need to find ways to save money wherever possible. Hay and other feed isn’t cheap. This is no place to let superstitions and old habits undercut your bottom line.
How Much Can Ground Feeding Waste Cost You?
Numerous agricultural studies show that ground feeding wastes approximately 50% of feed placed on the ground. That 50% holds true for both horses and cattle.
Essentially, you need to buy 2 bales for every 1 bale you feed to your herd or your horses. That wasted hay (and money) adds up.
Need some good news? Our top-of-the-line feeders are specifically designed to prevent feed waste.
Round Hay Bale Horse Feeder
The slow feed net panels keeps your horses from overeating — and from pulling their food out and destroying it. This feeder is designed to allow your horses to consume an optimal 1 lb to 1.5lbs of hay per hour. Learn more here.
Bale Ring Cattle Feeder
This solid round bale feeder eliminates the need for ground feeding. Simply place your hay bale in the feeder and secure it in place. Learn more here.
Parasites from Ground Feeding
One other way that ground feeding nickels and dimes the average farmer is through the added exposure to parasites. Ground feeding increases the risk of internal parasites for both horses and cows.
When animals eat directly off the ground, they are at risk to consume parasite larva or eggs along with their feed. Young calves, in particular, are susceptible to parasites.
Consistently having to deworm your horses or your herd is an added expense — the more animals you have, the more expensive it becomes.
Find the Feeder That’s Right for Your Farm
Ground feeding is an outdated practice that will waste your money every year until you make an upgrade.
While nearly ANY slow feeder on the market is an improvement over ground feeding, you want to make a good investment and get your money’s worth. Besides assessing whether a feeder will save hay, it’s important to also consider whether your preferred slow feeder will protect your horse’s teeth. Not only does Farmco build the sturdiest feeders on the market, but we also build the smartest feeders specifically designed to prevent feed waste and protect your animals.
Your horses are your pride and joy — especially if you plan to show them. However for your horses to do well, they need to be well-trained and in good condition. Keeping your show horses happy and healthy is a major factor in ensuring your horses are in winning condition.
We’ve been building horse feeders since 1985 for — and with — equine enthusiasts. These are the best strategies we’ve learned to keep your show horses happy and healthy.
6 Strategies for Happy & Healthy Horses
1. Give Them a Satisfying Routine
Like many people, horses thrive on routine and structure. Turning your horses out to pasture at the same time every day (weather permitting) keeps them feeling satisfied and helps them to trust you. Along the same lines, when hacking your horse, walk them along familiar trails and paths to keep them happy and comfortable.
2. Prevent Parasites & Don’t Overuse Deworming Medicine
Parasites are a common health problem in horses, and some equine enthusiasts combat this by administering frequent, preventative deworming. It’s true that parasites are responsible for a variety of health problems in horses such as respiratory diseases, liver damage, and even permanent paralysis.
However, some horse farmers double down on the cure, overusing deworming medicine. This can actually lead some horses to develop medicine-resistant parasites.
Instead, consider having your horse spend more time on dry lots or semi-dry lots. This prevents the horses from ground feeding and grazing, which is a major cause of parasites. Plus, if you have horses, you know that the dry lot gives them fantastic traction for running.
3. Let Them Breathe Easy — Protect Your Horse’s Respiratory Health
Horses are susceptible to respiratory illnesses, like COPD, which limit their lung capacity. This can make running or hacking very laborious for your horse.
Mold exposure is one of the most common causes for horse respiratory issues. Horses are exposed to mold in two ways:
• Ingested by the horses after eating wet and moldy food
• Breathed in by the horses from old and moldy stables
Keep your horse’s health in the forefront and inspect their stable for the obvious signs of mold.
4. Schedule a Professional Equine Massage from Time to Time
Chances are you know the basics of equine massage yourself. In fact, you likely incorporate many techniques of equine massage into your brushing and grooming care routine.
However, a professional can provide more advanced techniques to promote horse health and mobility.
5. Prepare Them for Time around Other Animals
Historically, horses have been prey animals and as a result have developed fear responses to many unknown stimulus, including other animals.
While not every horse is the same, most horses tend to be afraid of dogs, pigs, and goats.
As a result, many horse-only shows mandate that visitors leave pets and other animals at home. However, if you’re planning to show your horse around other animals, you need to be prepared.
One of the best methods to desensitize horses to the smells and sounds of other animals is to pasture them alongside other animals for brief periods of time.
6. Keep Horses from Becoming Overweight or Obese
Weight and diet are one of the biggest factors that undermine a horse’s health. Overweight and obese horses suffer from muscular-skeletal problems and even diabetes.
As any horse enthusiast knows, limiting a horse’s food intake is practically a full-time job. If given free access to food, any horse will eat itself into a state of obesity.
Since horse obesity is one of the biggest problems faced by horse owners and horse farmers, Farmco developed the SF Series Slow Feed Horse Feeder — designed to allow your horse to eat only what it needs.
We know what you’re thinking: Nobody can stop my horse from eating. How can your feeder do that?
The Slow Feed Horse Feeder accomplishes this thanks to the unique slow feed net panels. The polyester net around the hay bale protects the horse’s teeth and limits the amount of hay a horse can eat in a single bite, allowing them to eat all day, without overeating. The 2.5-inch net panel opening is designed to allow a horse to eat 1 to 1.5 pounds of hay per hour — the precise amount of hay experts recommend.
Using a covered feeder like the Farmco 608SF keeps hay dry, preventing dangerous mold from developing.
In addition, this advanced feeder also cuts your hay costs. The protective netting allows horses to eat as much as they want, yet it doesn’t allow them to pull their hay out of the feeder and ruin it. Your horses can have all the feed they need — but they can’t ruin it.
As is the case with ALL Farmco products, we make sure the feeder is safe for your animals. We ensure there are no sharp corners, only rounded edges. In addition, we design our feeders to be safe for horses by ensuring there are no places where they could become stuck.
Finally, we coat our feeders in weather-resistant polyurethane paint. The paint we use is designed not to chip, meaning paint chips won’t end up in your horses’ feed.