Homemade 55 Gallon Drum Mineral Feeder

Written by keith allen
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Homemade 55 Gallon Drum Mineral Feeder
Salt and mineral feeders for cattle can be made from 55 gallon drums. (Cattle 5 image by Lee O"Dell from Fotolia.com)

The "Angus Journal" says a portable salt and mineral feeder can be built from a 55-gallon drum. The plans call for cutting the barrel in half lengthwise and mounting one or both halves on skids so the unit can be moved around the pasture as needed. Optionally, the plans also include a cattle rub and dust bag for the application of insecticides. Construction of the mineral feeder will require welding equipment and other tools commonly found in a farm shop.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • 55-gallon drum
  • Welder
  • Cutting torch
  • Reciprocating saw
  • 20-foot 1 x 1-inch angle iron
  • 10-foot 3 x 3-inch angle iron

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  1. 1

    Cut the drum in half lengthwise with a cutting torch or a reciprocating saw with a metal cutting blade. Make sure there are no volatile liquids or vapours in the tank. Cutting a tank that still contains flammable liquid or vapours can lead to an explosion.

  2. 2

    Construct a rectangular frame to fit around the opening of the cut drum from the 1 x 1-inch angle iron. Weld the corners of the frame. Drill holes through the angle iron and the edge of the drum to fasten the frame in place using 1/4-inch bolts and lock washers.

  3. 3

    Construct a skid frame out of 3 x 3-inch angle iron. This is the portion that will set on the ground and should be about one foot longer and wider than the drum mineral feeder for stability. The heavy angle iron will make a unit sturdy enough to be dragged around the pasture by a tractor or all-terrain vehicle (ATV). Attach a chain to each end of the frame for connection to the tractor or ATV.

  4. 4

    Add legs between the drum mineral feeder and the skid frame by welding 1 x 1-inch angle iron to each component. Optionally, a frame and plywood roof can be added to protect the minerals or salt from the weather. The frame for the roof would be welded to the angle iron framework around the lip of the drum.

Tips and warnings

  • According to the "Angus Journal," each grazing cow will consume about three ounces of salt each day. Calculate the amount of salt needed each day by multiplying three ounces times the number of head in the herd. Factor in how often you want to go to the pasture to add salt to determine how large a mineral and salt feeder to build. This plan can be made to work with half of one drum or be enlarged to work with both halves of the drum placed end to end.
  • Clean the interior of the drum thoroughly before using for livestock feed. Some pesticide drums are considered hazardous waste even when emptied and should not be used in this type of project.

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