Bill Kurtz, of St. Croix Falls, Wis., built mobile feed bunks out of old house trailer frames. He got the frames from trailer houses that had burned. The I-beams form a solid base on which to weld a steel floor and pipe uprights. Two sets of wagon or car wheels are attached to make the bunks portable.
Kurtz used 1 1/4-in. steel pipe for the 26-in. uprights and sheets of 14 ga. bonderized steel for the bed. He was able to get 4 by 10-ft. sheets at a good price, but he says that regular galvanized steel could be used. The horizontal rail at the top of the uprights was made from 5/8-in. gravel screen rods, but Kurtz feels that silo hoops or reinforcing rods would also work.
The bunk in the photograph is 40 ft. long by 4 ft. wide, the width being determined by the size of the sheet of steel available. He has built later models 5 ft. wide. "This seems to be an ideal width," says Kurtz. "The wagon wheels are single axle, but for a longer bunk you might want to use double axle wheels, though they might be harder to move."
A final attachment is a wagon hitch to pull the units around. Kurtz has a long drawbar on one unit so he can pull it without detaching a rear end loader on his tractor.
Kurtz strings several of the mobile bunks together in a 135 ft. line to feed his more than 100 cows and feeder cattle. He uses the bunks for grain and silage feeding because they have a tight bottom, and notes that there is almost no feed wasted.
Kurtz feels that anybody handy with a welder can build this kind of bunk with materials at hand. He has used different sizes and materials, and has even built the earliest ones with plywood bottoms. "But plywood doesn't hold up as well and can be almost as expensive as steel," he advises.
His first bunks were made from a 3-ft. dia. smokestack cut in half. "This worked pretty well but was not quite wide enough," he notes.