6 Rookie Guidelines for Using Automatic Cattle Feeders


It doesn’t matter what the brand or style of cattle feeder that you’re using, you will need to follow these best practices if you are planning to get the most out of your automatic cattle feeder.

By following these tips for the use of automatic cattle feeders you will be helping to reduce the chance of disease transmission, speed up the feeding process, save time, and of course, make your cattle happier and healthier.

Your automatic cattle feeder will be able to not only save you time but also money. The labour savings alone will have you asking why you didn’t start using an automatic cattle feeder years ago.

1. Portion control

With an automatic cattle feeder, you are in control over the size of the portions that each animal receives. You can even gradually increase the amount of feed at any given time should you want to on the advice of a vet, or even based on your own experience with the animals. This ability to control the portions of food that each animal receives will allow you to get the very most out of your animal feed budget as there will be significantly less loss compared to older, traditional methods for feeding your cattle.

This also means that you will be able to keep a close eye on how much cattle feed you have at any given time so that you will not run out unexpectantly. There are many different apps that allow you to keep track of your feed spend, budget and delivery.

2. Make sure you start them early

One of the major benefits of using an automatic cattle feeder is that you will be able to feed calves from a very early age as well as fully grown cattle. This means that you will be able to feed them more frequently so that they can get the nourishment that they need to grow big and strong.

3. You will train your cattle to eat at the right times

Consistency is key to any farming operation. If your cattle are used to eating at certain times that will be better for you as they will eat all of the feed that you provide to them and you will also be allowing them to have healthier digestion. This is harder to do when you have to manually feed each animal as you will not be able to get the timing as exact.

4. Temperature control

For calves, this is very important. Another benefit is that you will be able to control the temperature of the food as well. This means that it will be easier to digest, healthier, and much more pleasant for the animals as they feed.

5. You can calibrate the machines to your own specifications

The automatic cattle feeders are able to be calibrated so that you can adjust the mix to take into account the different milk powders that are on the market. Many of them have different guidelines for calibration. Farmers are recommended to change calibration between each batch of milk powder or when switching brand of replacer.

6. It’s hygienic

This is very important on any farm. If multiple calves are feeding on the same teat, meaning pathogens can transfer easily, as found by research trials. Most automatic cattle feeders have an auto-wash function which must be used but not relied on completely as studies have found that biofilm builds up in mixing areas and pipes. Be prepared to change and disinfect teats and have hygiene stations where spare teats are, hot water and disinfectant.

Dean is a self-professed tech geek with a fondness for computers, video games, and any novelty tech-savvy gadgets.