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Loader Box Helps Fill Feeders Fast
Filling bulk feeders out on pasture is no longer a tough job at Auntie Annie’s Fields farm. A former employee, John Riley, built a feed handler that fits into a loader bucket for the farm’s owners, Ian Rhoades and his wife, Elizabeth. It helps them quickly fill ten 800-lb. feed bins for their pasture-raised poultry and hog operation.
    Made of plywood, scrap 2 by 3’s, and angle iron brackets, it fits snuggly into the bucket of their 25 hp. Deere tractor and is easy to secure with a couple of straps.
    “We wanted it to hold about 600 lbs. of feed. It’s based on an attachment for dumping cement that is roughly shaped like this,” Ian Rhoades explains. “It fits under a gravity wagon to fill with feed, and the chute narrows to fill our bulk chicken and hog feeders.”
    Rhoades says it’s simple enough for anyone on the farm to use. Just fill the bucket, drive to the feeder, tip the bucket, and manually lift the gate off the front. Meant as a prototype, an upgrade could include a way to open the gate while on the tractor, he notes.
    Still it’s a big improvement for the couple who first hauled chicken feed in 5-gal. buckets, after moving from the city to the southern Minnesota farm a decade ago. Later, they bought the bulk bins and adapted an old mixer mill to fill them. It was a clumsy and unreliable process.    “Now I can fill all the feeders in a couple of hours, or just fill a couple when I have a little time,” Rhoades says.
    The Rhoades have an organic, pasture poultry operation raising about 800 layers and 3,600 meat birds this year. They also raise a few hogs that they direct market along with their chickens.
    Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Auntie Annie’s Fields, LLC, 12456 Bagley Ave., Dundas, Minn. 55019 (ph 612 251-0581; www.auntieanniesfields.com; auntieanniesfields@gmail.com)

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2020 - Volume #44, Issue #4