How to Build a Feed-Trough for Cattle

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Build your own feed trough for cattle out of simple materials.
Build your own feed trough for cattle out of simple materials. (Image: Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Feed troughs are commonly used for feeding large farm animals. Essentially a community eating area, a simple trough can be built out of an old plastic barrel. Not only is it durable and capable of standing up to the test of time as well as the interaction with large animals such as cattle and horses, but a plastic feed trough is transportable so you can move it as you need, such as for switching between corrals or fenced in areas.

Things You'll Need

  • Reciprocating saw
  • Drill
  • Large wood screws
  • 4-by-4 material
  • Safety glasses
  • Work gloves

Obtain a large, 50 gallon plastic barrel/drum. Cut it down the center lengthwise with the reciprocating saw so that you have two elongated U-shaped halves. Clean the interiors with warm water and common household detergents to ensure that the feed trough is thoroughly clean before feeding any animals out of it.

Cut your 4-by-4 material down into three-foot sections. Decide whether you want to install two or three of these platforms per feeding trough, as these will be the platforms on which the feeding trough rests so that it does not rock back and forth on the base of its U-shaped exterior. The the platforms also weigh the trough down so the cattle cannot easily move it.

Attach the platforms to the bottom side of the feed trough by drilling through the plastic material with wood screws and into the 4-by-4 material underneath. Use at least four screws per platform. Use a normal drill bit to drill a series of drain holes in the plastic material so it doesn’t retain rain water and cause mold.

Tips & Warnings

  • Reciprocating saws can use a variety of different blades. Use wood blades for cutting the 4-by-4 material and plastic blades for cutting the barrel. If you need the two halves perfect in dimensions you can use a tape measure to measure the exact center. Otherwise you can simply eyeball it as you cut. Alternatively, you can mount the halves onto a corral system if you prefer a more permanent feeder.
  • Always wear protective gear when working with power tools.

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