The Advantage Feeders (previosuly 3IN1FEEDERS) has proved most successful with our suckler herd. The calves look the best we have ever had and we would be pleased for anyone to have a look at them – this is down solely to the Advantage Feeders. We had a cow that broke her leg and unfortunately we had to put her down. The calf was having a bit of milk, not a lot, but with the Advantage Feeders, the calf was able to fend for itself without being bullied by the other calves and has gone from strength to strength.Charlie AndrewsGlen Court, Llanllowell, Usk, Monmouthshire
I first bought a Advantage Feeders 800 and put it in a shed with 10 bullocks, they took to the feeder straight away using the lick feeder system. There was no bullying and they all had their fair share, bearing in mind that these were 500-600 kilo bullocks. Because they were having a little and often they seemed to pull their bellies in and put it on their rear ends, just where you want the meat. I sold the 10 bullocks at Builth Wells Mart where they topped the market. All the farmers were looking and talking about them. I was so pleased with the results from the 800 that I have now bought the larger 1800.Gareth JonesCorrin Farm, Llangammach Wells, Powys, Wales
Before I had my Advantage Feeders (previously 3IN1FEEDERS) 1800 I had problems with my lambs getting stuck in the vertical bars of the conventional feeders that I used. If you opened the bars up too much the ewes would find a way of getting into the feed. Since I have had the 1800 I have not had any of these problems. My first impression was that the creep gates for cattle were not strong enough but now that I have used them to feed my calves Ihave had no problems at all with damage to the gates or my livestock. Due to the lick system on the Advantage Feeders I now have no problems with stale or damp food in the feeding tray.Ken JonesThornbury Farm, Bettws Newydd, Usk, Monmouthshire, Wales
I have tried a lot of makes of creep feeders and had a number of issues:
- the ladder ones had issues with one ewe or two lambs getting their heads stuck
- the walk through creep feeders are hard to keep the ewes out after shearing. If they get in the feeder they can muck in the trough. This causes the lambs to push creep feed out of the trough onto the ground.
- when I moved any of the creep feeders, creep feed would fall out on the ground
- it was very time consuming filling them on a daily basis with 25kg bags. I would often be battling with large ewes trying to knock me over.
I have been using Advantage Feeders (previously 3IN1FEEDERS) for 2 years and found they can be used in a huge range of applications. I use them to reduce/eliminate costly issues of waste, excessive labour, stock losses, mismothering, over consumption, acidosis and only being able to feed concentrate. Advantage Feeders provide endless solutions when it comes to feeding stock. Supplementing ewes before, during and after lambing I first used the 1800 feeder out in the field with Welsh ewes (scanned for twins) before and during lambing. Initially we only filled the feeder with the total amount we would have fed out on the field (500 grams/day) in three days to see if we had set it properly. The ewes adapted easily to the system over 3 days and then I filled the feeder. This saved a lot of time and I knew the ewes were doing great because they were being fed often throughout the day. Another benefit in the outdoor lambing situation is that there was no mismothering. Normally, when the ewes hear the quad bike, they run towards the bike anticipating food and forget their new born lambs however with the feeder in place this does not happen as they are more content. We are able to drive around without disturbing them. In fact, most ewes were so content that after they lambed, they didn’t come to the feeder for a couple days whilst they mothered up. I have used feed blocks in the past, due to the control Advantage Feeders give me over the ration I could reduce my feeding costs by using feed nuts at around £200 per tonne instead of feed blocks that are about £700 to £800. Creep feeding lambs I have three other models of creep feeders. I find the ladder variety cause stock injury and deaths. Every year I would find several lambs and ewes stuck. I lamb some ewes in January and target early lamb markets. This system is more intensive involving higher input costs so when one of these lambs is lost, it is a particularly large loss. After shearing, ewes will get in the walk through creep feeders and empty the hopper. I also have a creep feeder that has rods the flick up and as a lamb pulls out of the feeder, crafty ewes will quickly put their head in the feeder. I haven’t had any creep feeding issues with Advantage Feeders. As I can set the feeder so the lambs can’t gorge, there is no acidosis risk and they don’t scour. An added benefit is the 800 model can be used to creep feed on one side and supplement ewes on the other. I lambed down 60 ewes that had 100 lambs. With the division panel inside the feeder, I was able to creep feed the lambs on one side of the feeder and ewe nuts to their mothers on the other. Being able to supplement ewes over winter reduced a lot of waste and labour involved with feeding out on the ground. I have had issues with birds eating feed and being in the North of Wales, the strong winds can blow rain into feed troughs. The Advantage Feeders Creep Panel is located above the trough and licking area to prevent both these issues. Even when I am feeding ewes, the Creep Panel can be positioned to allow their heads to get under it whilst providing rain and bird protection. Hogg feeding I finish some of my hoggets indoors. I would always lose 2-3 hoggets a batch due to acidosis when they ate too much from ad-lib feeders. When I used the Advantage Feeders I was able to accustom their rumen onto high energy feeds over 4-5 days by adjusting the lick settings. Initially, they had a narrow setting and then I periodically opened to increase the ration as they became more familiar with the feed. I have done three batches of hoggets and never had a loss. At one stage, I brought welsh ewes in to feed. They had never been fed cake before and they took to the feeder quickly and were able to be sold a month later. Conclusion Now I am familiar with controlling the ration with the feeders I am going to start feeding whole barley to ewes and hoggets. At current feed prices, this will make a substantial reduction in my feed bill. It will also allow me to start feeding earlier in autumn and later in summer because I can feed the hoggets such a low rate whilst they are on pasture. Investing in Advantage Feeders can be high initially but the one feeder works better than any other in all applications and is soon paid off. I can see myself having 10 or more of these feeders in the future. Rhys HowatsonWern Bach, Llangernyw, Conwy, North Wales
As a new comer to the Suckler world in 2010, I was looking at creep feeders, nothing I looked at through regular suppliers offered a way of measuring the amount of Grub the calves were getting, or even a theory on when they stopped scoffing meal at extortionate cost. Other than, they will stop eating when full. I came across the 3in1feeder website and was impressed by the basic desire of the manufacturer to 'Not waste money'. I contacted a few farmers with the feeders in use and got a very sensible response, the reaction was positive and educational, I was amazed at the variation of 'Home made mixes' as well as Bulk Blown material that was being served through either side of the 3in1feeder with success, as one farmer put it, 'we have never had calves like the ones we are growing since we introduced this feeder'. One 800 Litre feeder seems to serve about 25 calves with comfort, they lick out into the trough what they can and always go and drink or lie down before they finish what they hook out. They just have to work hard at licking it out and it seems to dry the tongue. While you keep feed in the bin they are content to help themselves without gorging, no blown bellies or related symptoms. The adjustable gates restrict anything too big getting in, it's easy to move, fold up the gates, stick the loader bale spikes under it, one strap round it and take off down the road looking over it, or two men can handle it onto a trailer if you prefer. Gerard Roney the MD delivered our third feeder personally while visiting the UK and insisted in shutting off the feed slots even further as he said I was wasting grub, there is nothing like someone turning up and saving you a pound or two. We will be adding another next year as the herd develops. Anyone with a traditional feeder, get it sold and the cost to change to one of these will be saved in the first Spring you put it in the yard or field. Cheap to buy old style creep feeder for sale, false economy! If you think this testimonial sounds too good, call in next time you pass Andover, I will show you some thumpers of Calves.Stephen WilsonAndover, Hampshire
As with many growing businesses, our young stock have been a problem due to the fact there are changing numbers, leased facilities and mobs requiring different growth rates to achieve targets. We were looking for a system to streamline our feeding expensive bagged concentrate or 48 hour TMR mixes which led to feed spoilage. We trialled our first feeder with 50, 6 month dairy heifer calves at grass in the back end ofthe season. We were impressed by how quickly they adapted and how even the bunch remained right through to housing. Last winter, we fed over 150 spring born cattle using 3 feeders indoors. Due to the limited loafing area compared to pasture, we had to tune the feeders initially but once they were set, they performed consistently through the housing period. The main benefits of using them indoors included:
- A £30/tonne saving on bulk feed over bagged,and,
- The ability to use labour more efficiently,especially around holidays and weekends.
Before we had Advantage Feeders (previously 3IN1FEEDERS), consistent ration feeding was very difficult resulting in inconsistent birth weights and milk production from twin and triplet bearing ewes. We run North Country Mule and Mule x Texel ewes. Mules lamb from the 20th March and Mule x Texels from the 3rd of April. We used the 800 model feeders for groups of 70-80 twin ewes or 40-50 triplet ewes. This year, the feeders were introduced to 8 weeks before lambing. Initially we trained the ewes with sugar beet nuts fed at full ration for a few days. After about a week the ewes were trained and we rationed the intake of our triplet ewes to 250grams/day and the twin ewes to below 200grams/day. We monitored body condition score and altered the ration accordingly. We gradually mixed in concentrate in 6mm pencils until the triplets reached 1kg/day at the point of lambing. Tailoring the ration enabled us to save on feed costs compared to previous years. One of the biggest changes we noticed was in the mentality of the ewes, they stopped chasing for feed and fighting at feeding time. Generally they were very content. This made a huge difference when it came to going round the sheep whilst they were lambing as they didn’t abandon their lambs to chase the bike! All groups with Advantage Feeders lambed much better with far fewer prolapses and no twin lamb disease. Given that it was a wet winter we saved a huge quantity of feed that would ordinarily be wasted on the floor. The feeders were really easy to move each day so poaching wasn’t a problem. After lambing, we then used the feeders for creep feeding. To date, we have not had a ewe or a lamb injured in one. Because the ewes were using the feeders at lambing time, the lambs didn’t need any training to start eating from them. Following our first seasons experience using the feeders we will be using them in future, and we think that this coming season we can use barley to further reduce our feed costs. Advantage Feeders have made managing pregnant and lambing ewes much more manageable. You can’t “set and forget” but we don’t think you could ask for a better tool in our management system.Trevor and Gemma DobsonHill House Farm, Clitheroe, Lancashire