Repurposed Smidley Feeder

This old Smidley calf feeder has been in the barn for quite some time.  Long enough that a raised concrete floor has been poured directly behind it, partially using the feeder as a form. It can basically be considered a permanent fixture.


The farms previous owner must have used when he raised performance-tested Charolais bulls. It’s not very useful to us.  Our calves are out on pasture with their moms for the first year, and out on pasture with the other weaned calves for their second year. There’s not a lot of calf feeding going on.
But I do have some pigs…

We’ve transitioned off of the “sour corn” that we’ve been feeding the pigs. It’s fine for a few head, but next year we might just be up to our eyeballs (relatively speaking) in pigs, so it was time to switch to an easier feed.

We’re still using a mix of corn and roasted soybeans, but we just get it “rough rolled” from the feed mill, no soaking required. It works quite well in the old Smidley feeder with just one little problem.

The pigs are lower to the ground than calves, so they can’t get their heads into the feeder very easily.

Removing the big 4×6 runners from the bottom of the feeder helped a lot, but this big 2×7 lip on the front was still making it hard for the pigs.


Measure, snap a line, and make a quick cut with the sawzall.


Then smooth out the rough edge with a jack plane.


Add a few pallets in front of the feeder, and it’s dinnertime.


Nom nom nom.

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  1. I’ll be very curious to see if you experience much waste from a feeder with that big of an opening. The one I made had huge amounts of waste. I have now made some adjustments and am looking forward to seeing if it saves me any feed costs. Check out my blog entry on the subject.

    1. Hi Joe, I don’t anticipate waste to be much of an issue, at least with feeder-size pigs. The way the Smidley’s hopper is angled back over the trough makes it difficult, if not impossible, for the pigs to stand in their feed. I noticed that they do drop a little bit of feed on the pallets, but what doesn’t fall through the slats is quickly picked up by the chickens. I may end up screwing a sheet of plywood down to the pallets if I notice much spilled feed building up, as that will help the chickens clean up more of it.

      1. All the best. I am enjoying your blog!

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