I needed a project and the cattle needed a mineral feeder; in other
words-we needed each other. This week’s column is project mineral
I want high quality and low cost-more the first than the latter.
However, I prefer both and will work to unite both philosophies.
Please remember, the cost of most things you buy is labor, marketing,
transport and sales commission; the actual material cost is fairly
low. What this means is that if you are willing to leave your chair
and try, you can save money.
I had searched for a mineral feeder for the cattle on the internet
and eventually found a design from North Carolina State University.
I prefer to break new ground but am not abhorrent to adopting an
established design. I immediately recognized the design could be used
as both a mineral feeder and a water tank-with a little modification.
I will describe both in this column.
The materials for this project are basically a 55 plastic barrel and
a 24.5 truck tire. If you lay the truck tire flat on the ground and
place the barrel inside it, you will get the basic design. In the
case of the mineral feeder you would then cut an eighteen inch hole
in the face of the barrel and leave the top intact. If it is the
water tank, then I would say cut the top of the barrel off at about
the 30 gallon mark.
The mineral feeder is going to get beat up a little as cattle reach
through the large hole for mineral. The barrel should be able to move
back and forth but not pull out of the tire. Bolt four, six-inch
pieces of threaded rod through the side of the barrel and allow them
to extend into the hollow area inside the tire. This will keep the
barrel inside the tire yet still allow some flexibility when the
cattle are rough on the barrel.
The water tank was a bit more involved. I cut four pieces of treated
2×6 boards and bolted them like skids on the bottom of the tire. The
front of each skid is cut at 45 degrees in order to keep the boards
from digging into the ground when the tank is moved. I wanted to
remove the water from the tank each time I moved it to make it easier
on my four wheeler so I installed a one inch valve on the bottom of
the tank to release the water. I also installed a Jobe(c) valve into
the side of the tank then attached the garden hose to the valve
body. I also wrapped the first nine inches of the hose in duct tape
to protect it as it would permanently live in the face of the tire
(with sharp exposed steel cords) after I installed the tank. I then
drilled an inch and a half hole in the face of the tire after which I
threaded the garden hose through it then set the tank inside the tire
and on top of the skids.
Both the mineral feeder and the water tank need an eye bolt installed
into the face of the tire so you can use some rope to pull the whole
contraption around. Both of them have pulled very easily and seem to
work pretty well.
Finally, I should mention that the Jobe valve delivers water at a
high rate and that is very important as this tank is small and needs
a good, high pressure water system in order to properly water your
cattle. Also I think releasing the water prior to each move is
easier on your ATV and will make the move easier. I spent about $12
on the mineral feeder and $32 on the water tank although I already
had the Jobe valve, hose and other plumbing on hand. I also included
a small piece of metal fabric attached from the top of the tank to
the bottom which will allow escapement should a small animal fall
into the tank.
Use your common sense in constructing this project and if you have
none, then please don’t keep cattle-or any other animals for that