If you are grazing cattle, no matter how many you have, it’s a good idea to provide them with minerals. How many different minerals should you feed? Well, that depends on a lot of things. How big is your herd? How much money do you feel comfortable spending on mineral a month? Are you in debt? What is the condition of your herd right now?
These are all important questions that you should answer before you implement a mineral feeding program. One thing before I go any further. Don’t start a mineral feeding program in the dormant season. Start it in the spring/early summer when your animals have access to fresh, green grass. If you start in the winter, the cattle will go crazy for all of their new minerals and bankrupt you!
Now that you have thought about those questions a little bit, I’d like to talk about building the mineral feeder itself. Let’s take a look at the picture below.
Here you can see the many different compartments for the different minerals. You can create one to suit your needs, with as many compartments as you need. I believe the mineral feeder here has 16 compartments. The sides are 2×12”. Then you can just cut slots in them to slide in your pieces of plywood. I wouldn’t recommend using treated plywood or wood, they have toxic substances in them that may sicken your livestock. The bottom the of feeder is made of plywood.
The bottom the feeder sits on two, 4×4 posts. These posts run the length of the feeder, and are covered by sheet metal. This makes it easier to pull around the pastures and does less damage to your ground. The metal also makes it nice when you are dragging your feeder across gravel roads. To be able to pull the mineral feeder, you need to attach two eyebolts to the 4x4s, one on each side, and then attach chains to the eyebolts. This will enable you to pull the feeder behind a 4-wheeler, truck or mule. One thing that isn’t pictured the is the top of the mineral feeder. For the top, it’s good to use old heavy duty conveyor belt that is about 1/2”. Make sure you overlap it on all sides of the feeder about 2 inches. You can just put three bolts into the middle of the feeder to hold covering in place. You’ll need to protect your minerals from the weather, or else you’ll be wasting your money! Here is a detail of the chains.
So there you have it. Building a mineral feeder, and assuring that your cattle have access to minerals is pretty easy. The mineral feeder can also be placed in locations that you want to get more animal impact.