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Automatic calf feeders

  • 10-08-2020 12:27pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 288 ✭✭ Coolfresian


    Has anyone installed an automatic calf feeder and if so would u recommend it? Does it actually save labour? Or is it a more expensive way to rear calves?


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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,846 ✭✭✭ davidk1394


    I work on a farm that has one. During the height of spring it is a great job. Saves a lot of labour. This farmer keeps all the stock so his getting full use out of the feeder. If you sell the majority of the bull calves, I personally wouldn't buy one then. I don't think you'd get the full value of it.

    It takes about 2/3 days to get a calf fully trained in on it. Ideally they'd want to be over 2 weeks of age to train them in. The new feeders work off the tag and not the collar which is a good job.

    Lely and Volac use the same company which is Foster Technik and Dairymaster use Holm & Laue. JFC have their own make.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,287 ✭✭✭ GrasstoMilk


    Bought a 2 station jfc one in the spring, very happy. Had 70 calves on it by the start of March- mostly heifers.
    Saved us alot of time feeding calves.

    Jfc have taken the best from the 2 other feeders on the market and made there own.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6 PinkSunset


    davidk1394 wrote: »
    I work on a farm that has one. During the height of spring it is a great job. Saves a lot of labour. This farmer keeps all the stock so his getting full use out of the feeder. If you sell the majority of the bull calves, I personally wouldn't buy one then. I don't think you'd get the full value of it.

    It takes about 2/3 days to get a calf fully trained in on it. Ideally they'd want to be over 2 weeks of age to train them in. The new feeders work off the tag and not the collar which is a good job.

    Lely and Volac use the same company which is Foster Technik and Dairymaster use Holm & Laue. JFC have their own make.

    Not sure about calfs but it took almost a month for my chicken to feed themselves, and I was told it usually takes 2 weeks. But anyway yes, it saves much time, one less thing to worry about. By the way, I had to replace the feeder and took te shiny one, not sure if that helped but it's more noticeable especially when it's sunny weather


  • Registered Users Posts: 309 ✭✭ farisfat


    Alot of auto feeders fitted the last 12 months. How are they working.

    Is their much maintance needed and what are the down sides.



  • Registered Users Posts: 7,081 ✭✭✭ funkey_monkey


    Anyone got one of these installed? Not as fancy as the others, but would have a place probably for those rearing small numbers of calves:

    Having to clean the lines out daily might make the advantages minimal from manual feeding. plus there is no way to prevent gorging.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,629 ✭✭✭ Grueller


    I put one in. A JFC 2 station. It really has been a godsend and is the one labour saving device that I wouldn't be without again.

    As for maintenance, it's self cleaning, just attach a can of bulk tank detergent and then do an acid descale manually once a week. Other than that keep an eye on the teats and replace as necessary. An odd wipe down and keep her full of powder.



  • Registered Users Posts: 970 ✭✭✭ timple23


    Any issues with calves not coming in for a drink? Seen a place where they used spend an hour morning and evening shoving calves in to drink, wasn't overly impressed.



  • Registered Users Posts: 8,231 ✭✭✭ Mooooo


    Do you put all calves on it? Have to do something for next spring. Thinking of putting heifers in other yard on milk replacer and keep bulls/ beef at home on whole milk. So either a trailed feeder or an auto feeder for other yard. Hay shed and lean-to in other yard, I assume you'd need a training pen for calves initially as well?



  • Registered Users Posts: 4,629 ✭✭✭ Grueller


    I have all calves on it MOO. I put them on as soon as waste milk dries up. That could be 4 days and it could be 2 weeks. I think about a week is the sweet spot for training the calves. At the moment I have 49 calves being fed on it and it takes 20 mins per day once calves are trained and that is mainly spent on bedding, meal, checking water troughs etc. I haven't had any scour problems touch wood and have a serious even batch of calves. There wasn't a peep from the calves being weaned as it was done so slowly and consistently.

    Just a question MOO. Why are you keeping any calves on whole milk at all?



  • Registered Users Posts: 150 ✭✭ farmerphil135


    were using 2 urban calf moms rearing 150 calves each. 1 feeder is 5 years old and the other is 4. Absolute godsend for rearing calves before getting the 1st one it would take me 4 hours twice a day to feed 280 calves. Also calves off the feeder I’ve always found to be much better but maybe a little bit more flighty. The trick to training them onto it is a small pen with one station till they get the hang of it



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  • Registered Users Posts: 13 Enda78


    Can I ask about machine washings?

    I am looking at getting a feeder in. Was thinking of piping the washings from it into a channel and from there into an internal slatted tank. The tank is 45 ft by 12ft. Just wondering if anyone has the same? One of the pens will be on it.

    Bit worried about it stinking to high heaven though.

    Trying to achieve the opposite.



  • Registered Users Posts: 4,629 ✭✭✭ Grueller


    I have mine piped through a wall and out into a scraper passage of a cubicle house. Never got any smell. What you are suggesting is bang on I'd say



  • Registered Users Posts: 10,318 ✭✭✭✭ Base price


    Every year we rear a good few calves in a 5 bay slatted shed - the slats and lye backs are bedded with straw. Other than using the slatted shed for rearing calves it's only other use is as a holding area for older cattle for our annual BTE herd test. The slatted shed works great as it allows the urine to seep through the straw and helps to keep the bedding dry. We've found that as the weather gets warmer and temperature rises in late April/May we get a few cases of pneumonia even though the calves would have been vaccinated on arrival. Our Vet reckons that it is due to spores/bacteria in the tank multiplying in moist warm weather.

    TBH, If I was in your situation I'd prefer that the CMR washings were transferred to an outside slurry tank.

    Edit to add that we rear our calves on teat feeders.

    Post edited by Base price on


  • Registered Users Posts: 81 ✭✭ Mushy06


    Any issues with Calves getting legs caught in between the slats? it was always my worry. i'd have comfort rubber on the slats as well. it'd save me a world of straw



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,596 ✭✭✭ straight


    I have mine piped into a channel to a tank next door like that. No issue whatsoever. Last thing you want is water around the feeder.



  • Registered Users Posts: 16,562 ✭✭✭✭ Donald Trump


    Does anyone just feed whole/waste milk and not use milk replacer? I know it's more expensive but I'm sure plenty must still do it



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,596 ✭✭✭ straight


    Most feeders only take powder. At least that's all my JFC takes.



  • Registered Users Posts: 16,562 ✭✭✭✭ Donald Trump



    I meant in general. Are there many lads who don't feed replacer at all?

    (I think there are some feeders that can handle whole milk as well but it is probably more complicated.)



  • Registered Users Posts: 168 ✭✭ Bazzer007


    I'm hoping to install a two station feeder this autumn. Building a handy calf shed first. From speaking to a few milking machine technicians they said to avoid using whole milk, supposedly can cause issues even in a dual feeders. With the price of milk is another reason. I plan to use one station to train less than 10 calves and keep the trained calves together in a bigger pen, no more than 20ish. Will also have separate pen to feed whole milk in teat feeders if required. In a few months, I'll look at the JFC, Foster Technik and Holm & Laue. Grant going as well for those interested.



  • Registered Users Posts: 10,318 ✭✭✭✭ Base price


    No, thankfully we never had that problem as we bed the slats with straw. We put lime on the straw when it starts to get dirty before adding more. Each pen is cleaned out, power hosed and sprinkled with lime before a new batch is introduced.

    We don't have comfort slats as that shed is really only used for rearing calves, wintering weanlings and as a holding shed for the TB test. I would have thought that the smaller gaps on the comfort rubber would prevent calves hooves from getting caught. Other posters that have them may advise you better.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,157 ✭✭✭ jfh


    Is this the last year for the Tams grant for these?



  • Registered Users Posts: 9,845 ✭✭✭ patsy_mccabe


    Out of interest, how much do these automatic feeders cost?

    " But I send her my love with a bang on the ear."



  • Registered Users Posts: 8,231 ✭✭✭ Mooooo


    Same as everything gone up in last 12 months plus grant pushes up prices as well. Anything from 12 to 16 for the jfc depending on model and no of stations. 4 stations would do 140 calves. Extras then if wanted cost more then as well. Last day for current tranche was last Thurs



  • Registered Users Posts: 4,629 ✭✭✭ Grueller


    Has anyone had a service done on the jfc feeders yet? What is it costing?



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,596 ✭✭✭ straight


    It was either 425 or 435 euro. Got it done the other day. 2 station.



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,157 ✭✭✭ jfh


    Hi straight, how many calves would the two station feed? Regarding servicing, how often? Thanks



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,596 ✭✭✭ straight


    70 they say. I'd only ever have about 50 at peak on mine. Mine doesn't work too hard so I just serviced it every 2 years. No problems.



  • Registered Users Posts: 4,629 ✭✭✭ Grueller


    Quoted €375 here for a 2 station. I told him I wanted it serviced, not to trade up to a new one. The delaval machine cost €170 to service.

    €375 is robbery.



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,596 ✭✭✭ straight


    That's plus VAT. Parts are included. I was happy enough with it considering the prices of everything else.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,629 ✭✭✭ Grueller


    The service kit for a delaval with all seals , pipes etc is €80 to buy



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