Build a Portable Trough

Put a barrel or two on wheels and you can feed animals and herds with ease.

| March/April 1982

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    The small feed cart is perfect for rabbits and geese.
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    The large feed cart is made with an oil drum.
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    The large feed cart is suitable for goats and pigs.
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    A blueprint for the small feed car, which is made with an oil can.

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If the drudgery of lugging feed to your livestock has you searching for a more convenient way to get that barnyard chore done, you might want to have a go at building one — or both — of MOTHER EARTH NEWS' meal-bins-on-wheels.

The two fodder wagons we created (the larger one is made from an everyday 55-gallon drum; the smaller from a less common 35-pound grease container) are similar in design but unequally sized, allowing the builder to match his or her cart to the dietary needs of the critters to be fed. A pair of rear wheels, a swiveling front caster and a pull handle make for manageable barn-to-yard journeys, and a swing-open lid keeps the feed dry and safe from rodents between fill-ups.

Some cutting and welding are required to make the carts, but both of the tasks are pretty much basic in nature . . . and many folks will have the necessary scraps of metal and tubing (maybe even the wheels) lying around. Furthermore, as is the case with many of MOTHER EARTH NEWS' projects, the design is flexible. Don't be afraid to use water-heater tanks, lawnmower wheels, or any other ready-to-hand components that'll get the job done. (After all, that's what making do is all about!)

Building a Large Feed Cart

With its big sturdy wheels, ample capacity, and tightly sealed lid, our larger carryall is quite a deluxe model. Kick off its construction by scribing a line across the diameter of the drum's top. Then measure 6 inches in from the edge along the mark and — using that point as a reference for your cutting lines — split the barrel as horizontally. File or grind any rough edges, replace the newly formed cart lid, and mark and drill mounting holes for the two butt hinges and the handle. Some short 1/4-inch bolts and matching nuts will secure those components nicely.

Next, cut a 34-1/2-inch piece of 1/8-by-1-inch flat stock. Form two contours in the strap, using heat if necessary, to correspond with the ribs on the barrel and tack the strip to the facing edge of the lid with a series of welds.

Now, use your torch to trim the two wheel and two caster supports from suitable pieces of scrap metal. While you're about it, cut the pipe stanchion, the axle strut and collars, the handle mounts, and the handle itself to length. Then simply drill a 1-1/4-inch hole in the lower caster support, near the narrow end, weld the stanchion to its tongues and fuse the resulting assembly, hole down, to the drum.

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