A recently introduced premium range of goat feeding equipment from Stallion Plastics should hit the shelves in time for this year’s kid rearing season.
Made by Axiam Plastics, Whanganui, the feeder is injection, rather than rotationally moulded, and is mounted on strong steel brackets.
Widely spaced teats (Skellerup Peach) allow calves room to grow; these are screw mounted for fast removal, cleaning and replacement.
Because of the way the feeder has been shaped and angled, calves are able to suckle virtually all the milk out of it at each feed.
Farmers who trialled a prototype last season particularly liked the hygiene aspect, Stallion says.
“All we have to do is screw the teats out, blast the feeder with the hose and screw the teats back in,” says Louise Pickering, from Culverden.
Rearing up to 600 calves a year, including replacement heifers, beef crossbreds and Friesian bulls, she was among several farmers who wanted to keep the prototype feeder after testing it last spring.
“I wanted to buy more. I like having some smaller feeders; they’re good when you have a pen of slow calves, and we could easily get five onto this one because of the way the teats are angled.”
Grant Allen, chief executive of Stallion Plastics, says the five-calf feeder has been designed to conform to industry-accepted best practice as recommended by Dr Bas Schouten.
“Calves bond in small groups; feeding them in groups of five to 10 appears to stimulate a good physiological response among pen mates and often a more active suckling reflex in some slower feeding calves.
“The new feeder helps nurture their bonding, and because it is an open trough the first calf to finish feeding doesn’t push the others off their teats.”