Supplemental feeding has a long list of benefits for your deer herd, but putting the extra time and money into feeding protein pellets, corn or other grains can quickly go to waste if you can’t keep it dry. This is a simple, but very effective free-choice feeder you can build on your own that will provide many years of service.
The size of the feeder can be increased or decreased to fit your specific needs. The overall cost of the materials for this feeder will be between $100 and $200 depending upon where you buy your material, the size you choose and if you do the work yourself.
A couple of important things to remember when building a free choice feeder like this are the height of the roof and height of the trough. I suggest finding scrap or second-hand metal roofing to top the feeder. The sides of the roof should be 72 inches or more off the ground to keep any bucks in velvet from hitting their antlers.
The sides of the trough should be around 24 inches off the ground to allow fawns to access the feeder. The dimensions of the trough pictured are about 2 feet wide and 5 feet long. This will easily hold an average of 200 pounds of feed. Another important tip is to build the feet of the trough from 4x6 lumber and cut one end at an angle, to create a “skid.” This way the feeder can be moved to different locations. I also suggest using two lag bolts to attach a piece of chain to the same end of the feeder as the angle cut 4x6’s, this way you can back right up to the feeder on your ATV or truck and throw the chain around your hitch to move it around. These dimensions are only suggestions and can be modified to suit your build. The feeder pictured is built out of scrap metal roofing and treated lumber. I built 8 of these 9 years ago and they are just as solid as the day they were built.
Sample material list for 1 feeder:
- 2- 8ft treated 4x6s
- 4-8ft treated 4x4s
- 10-6ft treated 2x6s
- 1-sheet 1/2 in treated plywood
- Scrap metal roofing
- 4ft piece of chain
- Nails or screws and lag bolts
- Silicone caulking to waterproof the roof crown
This tip is courtesy of the GameKeepers Field Notes, a weekly wildlife and land management email newsletter produced by the Mossy Oak GameKeepers.
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