Fence Line Feeders, Round Bales, and Stars


Whenever I look at these round bales in the fence line along the road, I remember the night last fall after the feeders had been put in place. It was probably one of my favorite evenings all year. It was already dark by the time they’d finished the construction in the fence line. The sun was down, but it was still warm enough that I wasn’t wearing a jacket. I climbed up on the boards to sit on the fence, watching my hired men come up the road on the tractor with a round bale speared on the back, the headlights beaming up the night road toward me. They shoved the first bale up against the fence line feeder and I climbed on top of the big bale, high off the ground, the stars above me, while they went back and forth with the tractor to bring three more.

And I thought, “It doesn’t get any better than this, sitting up on a round bale under the stars along a country road.” You know, with two husky men to watch work, too. Heh.

Those are days I know how lucky I am to be living this life, and those are days I look back on and remember how lucky I am, even when the snow is falling and climbing on top of a round bale doesn’t sound like a good idea at the moment.

Here is how these feeders work.
A section of fence line, between two posts, was cut out and replaced with boards situated for feeding. The bales are easily placed from the road, and the horses (this would work for cows also) feed from the fenceline. They can’t get in to wallow around on the hay.
Two of these fence line feeders, fitting two round bales each, were constructed. Four of these round bales last the horses quite a while, a couple of weeks. When they’re eaten down, the remainder can be pitchforked over the fence to finish it off then more round bales are moved in place. Note that there is also a bit of a slope between the road and the fence line. This slope is helpful.
It’s always optimal to be feeding under cover, which is how I’ve got bales set up in the opened stalls in the barn for the cows. Since I don’t have that option set up yet for the horses, this is working great to keep hay from being wallowed on and wasted, and I can go a couple weeks at a time without lifting a finger.
And though it’s winter now, the memory of the warm autumn night they were built gives me a little smile every time I look at them. Not hefting square bales to the horses on a daily frozen basis ALSO GIVES ME A SMILE!


  1. Joell says:

    :happyflower: :happyflower: :happyflower:

    It is nice that you have finally reached the point that you can do what you love and not have to work and worry constantley. Farming is hard work at best, but now at least you now have things to the point where the work has been made somewhat easier for you, and when all the chores are done you can sit down and reflect on what you have worked so hard to achieve instead of falling into bed completly exhausted.
    Good for you.

  2. DeniseS says:

    Bet the stars were beautiful that night when you finished loading the feeders. I am always amazed at how beautiful the night sky is when you are away from the city. Being as close to Chicago as I am, the only stars that still show at night are the brightest. Thank you for the explanation on the feeder. I’m glad that you are finding better ways to make your farm work easier and more efficient.

  3. holstein woman says:

    Suzanne do you concern yourself that the deer may eat quite allot? Just asking.

  4. Leck Kill Farm says:

    I learned something new. I never saw this sort of set up before. Well, maybe I didn’t but didn’t pay attention. I will be on the look out for it now. (I live in the country)

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