As a farmer there are a lot of different animals that you can have on your farm, and most of these animals need a different type of feeder. Though a feed trough fit for swine might feed your cattle, it is not ideal, and a horse feeder is almost impossible to use for swine. Understanding the differences will help you to make the right decision when finding the feeders that you need for all of the animals that are a part of your herd.
Pigs are among the easiest animals to feed, and they use the simplest feeders. A simple trough will work well for your swine, so long as the trough sits low to the ground. You want to make sure that it is not higher than your knee, as most swine are not tall enough to reach a feeder that is any higher than that. You should try to find one that has a drain on one end to make cleaning the feeder easier, especially if you are going to feed you swine any kind of wet feed. You do not want mold or parasites to grow in the feeder, as those can poison your herd and cause a severe monetary loss.
When you are searching for a cattle feeder you need to make some different choices. Cattle feeders are much taller than feeding troughs, and unlike most swine troughs, you should get a cattle feeder that you can move from one place to another. This will enable you to bring the food to where you herd is, instead of forcing the cattle to stay near the house or barn for feeding. The feeder needs to be made with high quality steel and powder coated so that it can resist damage from the elements when it is outside. Cattle feeders, unlike most horse feeders, will be kept in the field and you need a feeder that will not sustain damage and will be able to handle the elements for many years to come. There must be a drain to keep the feed from getting wet and moldy, and the sides should be sloped so that the food stays high enough for the cattle to eat it. Finally, the feeder should have a pan to catch loose hay so it does not fall on the ground and you are able to save money on the feed that you have to purchase.
Finally, horses need the most special feeders. Though many cattle feeders will work for feeding horses, you will want to get a feeder designed especially for horses at some point. Horses are usually a little taller than your cattle, and so the feeding area needs to be even a little higher. Here it is vital that the food not fall on the ground, because horses are more susceptible to ground dwelling parasites than cattle and feeding off the ground can be deadly for horses that do not have a natural immunity to those parasites. The feeder also needs to have some versatility, so that you can use the feeder both for hay and for grain. Most of the time you will not need to feed oats or grain to your cattle, so most cattle feeders are not set up to handle grain feeding as well, which is why horse feeders are so necessary.
When you have livestock, you want to do everything that you can to protect the stock and keep it healthy and well fed. The best thing for you to do is buy a feeder that is designed for the type of stock that you have and feed the animals the best quality feed that you can afford.
I am Brian Palmer and I own herds of cattle and horses on my medium sized farm. I recently purchased cattle feeders from Farmco (www.farmcomanufacturing.com) and I highly recommend them to anyone who owns livestock. They are made with the highest quality materials and they have all of the features that I need to keep my feed costs under control and keep my farm profitable.