DIY Movable Round Bale Feeder

Build a movable round bale feeder and waste less hay this winter season feeding your cattle.

| January/February 2017

  • A covered 2-bale feeder reduces waste and is easy to move.
    Photo courtesy FARM SHOW

After a wet winter left a muddy mess around his round-bale ring feeder, Rusty McCombs of Hueytown, Alabama, decided to come up with a better way to provide hay for his small herd of Belted Galloway cattle.

Out of the farm’s boneyard, McCombs and his friend Scott Johnson collected all the materials necessary to cobble together a 10-foot-tall, two-bale feeder trailer. He uses a small tractor to pull the trailer to different locations in his pasture.

“It’s easy to move, cost almost nothing to build, and is covered, so the hay never gets wet. Also, cattle eat from narrow access slots that prevent them from grabbing too much hay with each mouthful and wasting it on the ground,” says McCombs.

He started with an old 4-by-10-foot steel mason’s mortar mixing pan. He welded the front axle and wheels off an old Ford F-700 dump truck onto one end and an old pintle hitch ring to the other. He then used rough-cut pine boards from his sawmill to build the 10-foot-tall feeder, adding a gabled top enclosure that’s covered by reclaimed metal roofing. The feeder is open at both ends where bales are loaded in.

“I had been using a round-bale ring to feed my cattle, but I found that it’s a messy way to feed hay and requires a lot of work to move around. My home-built feeder is highly mobile, which makes it easy to move frequently to prevent ‘slop holes’ from developing,” McCombs says.

For more on the invention, contact Rusty McCombs via email at

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