Effect of Hay Feeding Methods on Hay Waste and Wintering Costs

Effect of Hay Feeding Methods on Hay Waste and Wintering Costs

Compiled by Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University

Michigan State University animal scientists studied four hay feeder design types: cone, ring, trailer or cradle. All feeder types allowed approximately 14.5 inches for each animal. Dry matter hay waste was 3.5%, 6.1%, 11.4% and 14.6% for the cone, ring, trailer and cradle feeders, respectively. There were differences in the behavior of cows at the feeders that may be involved with the differences in wastage. Cows eating from the cradle feeder had about 3 times as much butting and displacement behavior as other feeder types and four times as many entrances compared to cows feeding at the other type of feeders. The researchers determined that slanted bar designs encourage animals to keep their head in the feeder for longer periods while eating. Source: Buskirk, et al. 2003.

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