It’s no secret raising cattle can be time consuming and expensive. Even though it’s all worth it in the end, with increasing prices, you may be looking to reduce costs on your ranch. One way to help with that is to consider the way you feed your herd. Though there are many options for feeders, you’ll want to do your best to ensure you’re choosing one that saves you time, money, and bale waste. One of the best options in the industry that focuses on all the above is a round bale feeder, or hay ring. Here are a few ways a round bale feeder can benefit you and your operation:

1. Convenient and effortless to use

If you’re looking for the easiest and quickest way to feed your cattle, then a round bale feeder is the best choice for you. Using one is simple: you cut the strings, drop the bale, and away you go! No need to worry about taking the time to roll a bale on the ground, or haul around a big heavy bale processor. With a round feeder, you can cut feeding time in half, freeing up more time in your busy day. Using a feeder will also keep the hay contained in one spot, saving you the headache of cleaning up the mess.

2. Bales will last longer

Feeding round bales will ensure the time between feedings last longer. Depending on your herd size, large round bales in a feeder only need to be replaced every few days, allowing you more time for other important tasks. Most round bale feeders only allow cattle access to smaller portions of the bale at a time, meaning they will eat slower, thus prolonging the life of the bale.

Updated bale feeder

3. Reduces amount of waste

Choosing to roll bales on the ground for your cattle wastes more hay than necessary. Studies have shown when bales are laid out on the ground, you are wasting up to 57% of the hay fed. This is compared to just 5-33% wasted when using a feeder. If you’re looking for even more savings, round bale feeders that suspend bales off the ground and restrict cattle’s access can reduce bale waste to as little as 5-15%. When rolled out onto the ground, or put through a bale processor, cattle will pick through the best parts and use the rest for bedding. Cattle can be picky, and they’re not going to want to eat the same hay they’ve soiled and slept on!

4. Bales are protected from external factors

When buying a round bale feeder, looking for one that suspends the bales from the ground will ensure your bales stay fresh and safe for cattle to consume. With bales raised off the ground, it keeps them protected from animal waste, ground moisture, and other contaminants that may be present in the soil. Keeping hey fresh is important to support the health and well-being of your herd. Round bale feeders also help protect your feed from the elements. When rolling out hay, you risk the chance of bales becoming mouldy due to excessive moisture from the ground and rainwater. If you live in climates where it gets cold enough to snow, you also run the risk of your rolled out bale getting covered in snow and ice.


As you go on your search for feeders, it is important to keep in mind some key factors to guarantee you’re buying the right equipment for your operation. Cattle can be pushy, so you’ll want to make sure your feeder is durable. A feeder that can withstand rowdy cattle will be able to withstand a lot of wear and tear and last for years to come! You will also want to make sure you have reasonable warranty for your equipment and access to customer service in case an issue ever comes up. Finally, always keep the well-being of your herd in mind when buying any new equipment. Ensure the feeder you buy accommodates your cattle, so all can enjoy.

    How do you feed bales on your operation? Tell us in the comments!