For producer Cliff Schuette of Breese, Ill., creep feeding is an important part of his calves’ diet when fescue pastures turn dormant during the hot summer months.

While creep feed did add pounds to his calves, the process required a great deal of time and caused excessive wear and tear to expensive implements. Another problem was how to limit the calves feed intake since overly fleshy calves can result in poor-milking replacement heifers and price docks of up to $6 per hundredweight on sale day.

"Since I had to check the cattle every day, I thought having a portable creep feeder that would hold 70 head of 400-pound calves would be the ticket," explains Mr. Schuette.

Mr. Schuette loads corn and hay on his truck making it easier to get around to the pastures. Each day’s ration is poured into the base of the feeder and the V-shaped hayrack above is filled.

"Usually 80 percent to 90 percent of the calves all come in right away to eat the corn. They come and go throughout the day to eat the hay," says Mr. Schuette. "The calves bring a premium because they are not too fleshy and are bunk broke.

The base of the portable feeder (pictured below) is made from two I-beam bridge planks, measuring 40 feet in length, welded side-by-side. The tin roof is 10-feet wide. The hay rack is made out of 1-inch pipe welded 4 inches apart. The gates on each side are made with 2-inch pipe and hog panels and supported on the outside corners with detachable gauge wheels on each end. Three 17-inch openings on each side allow calves, but not the cows, in to feed.