Old tires can be used to make low-cost round bale feeders, says Gordon Siemers, Randall, Minn., who recently sent FARM SHOW photos of a round bale feeder he made out of used car tires.
"It stands up really well to cows and horses. It'll last a lifetime," says Siemers.
He bolted 10 tires together with 3/8-in. double-nutted bolts and 3-in. washers, arranging the tires two rows high in an 8-ft. dia. circle. Every other tire in the top row is cut in half. That's where the animals stick their heads in to eat. He used four bolts in the half tires to connect them securely to all the adjacent tires.
To reinforce the tires, he attached a pipe frame to the top. The frame consists of a series of 2-in. dia. pipes clamped together at angles and also bolted to the top row of tires.
"It's a good use for old tires, and all it cost me were a few bolts and washers," says Siemers. "I can move it easily with the tines on my loader-mounted bale fork. The tires are bolted so tightly together that they stand upright without any additional support. In fact, I made a tire feeder for horses that doesn't have a pipe frame on top at all. It works great because there's nothing in the way for horses to rub their manes out. The horses can bend the tires over, but the tires always come right back up. You could drive a post or two next to the feeder and attach it to the tires to keep the sides from bending."
"I used a 1/2-in. drill bit to make the holes in the tires before bolting them together. I made sure I double nutted the bolts, because if the bolts ever came loose you'd have a big mess. If you wanted a bigger diameter feeder, you could just use bigger tires. I've found that pickup tires are stiffer and hold together better than car tires."