This is our second year of raising pigs for the fair. We've had some bumps along the way, one of them was our homemade feeder of last year. I tend to have ideas, and then Mr. Right gets the pleasure of trying to execute my ideas. Most of the time it works out, but last year, our feeder was a fail.
This year, we need a feeder that can go a long period of time, since our pigs are not on our property where we live. Our neighbor made a complaint about the smell of the pigs last year to our landlord, so the landlord told us no more pigs. (Keep in mind, there are only 2 pigs on 6 acres and they are only here for 5 months and then go to the 4-H fair and livestock auction) Thankfully, another neighbor graciously allowed us to pen up a corner of her horse pen, to put our pigs in.
This year, I wanted to be sure that Mr. Right did a quality version of the pig feeder that would make it through the entire five months, and hopefully into the next few years! We agreed on using a 50 gallon barrel in some way, shape or form.
We bought this one at North 40 for $35. Then of course, we both combed the internet to find a version of a feeder that we both thought would work. We finally decided on this version from a YouTube video.
He makes this from scraps and things found around his homestead, but then uses some pretty expensive equipment to make it - which makes me smile! But we loved this idea and ran with it!
Here's what we gathered:
- 50 Gallon Food Grade Barrel
- Plywood for bottom and for flaps over feed - free from last year's sheep feeders
- 6 - 2x4's
- 4 Hinges
- Tin roofing - recycled
- Wood screws
- Skill saw
- Electric screw driver
We purchased everything except the plywood and tin roof. It cost about $70 total for our costs. We live in a remote, mountain town, with really high prices, so this could've all been done for a lot less if you could price out your wood.
Here's the base that Mr. Right build. The idea is that you cut holes in the bottom of the barrel on either side, so the feed uses gravity to slide down into the boxes on the right and left of this base. We put a shorter board across the front of the boxes (far right and left), so the lids would be slanted downwards and any rain will slide off. The pigs are able to lift the lids with their snouts to stick their noses in.
The four posts in this picture sticking up are for stability for the barrel, to keep it from falling over.
Here's the lids with the hinges. Make sure your lids hang over the edge, so the pigs have a lip to stick their snouts under.
Mr. Right then built a structure around the corners for the roof to attach. This is a simple rectangle with one side higher for the roof to pitch off. The higher side is for on the fence side, so we can fill it with feed without going thru the pig pen. Mr. Right built it high enough to lift the barrel out with the roof on with ease. (really technical way of building here!)
Here's a look at the lid of the barrel. Mr. Right cut a rectangle between the two holes. He used some nuts and bolts to make a nob on it so it would be easy to lift. This isn't air tight, but at least it keeps the feed safe from birds and such.
Here's the tin roof added. We have panels of old ones of these on our property, so we used one. It had to be cut in half to fit side by side and still have the water run the correct direction.
Here's our happy pigs with the feeder in their pen! Just a note, this barrel can hold about six 50 pound bags of feed in it, which is far too big for just 2 pigs! We could really be in the pig business with this feeder. We placed the feeder on a pallet so that it was up off the ground. Pig pens get pretty moist and messy, so we want this off the ground.
I'd love to hear if you had an opportunity to make one of these, or even what you do for your own DIY pig feeders!