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How to Make a Small Feed Lot for Cows

| Updated September 26, 2017

Things You'll Need

  • Water fountain

  • Feed manger

  • Hay ring

  • Fencing supplies

  • Pole barn (optional)

  • Chutes (optional)

Small feedlots are used by family beef farmers or dairy farmers raising heifers or housing dry cows. The feedlots are a place where cattle can be fed grain and hay on a regular basis. They usually consist of a feeding area, a barn or chutes, a water source, and shelter. You can supply these necessities in any number of ways, as long as the cattle have all the conditions to grow healthily.

Find a location with shelter. The ideal place will have land for a small pasture lot next to a pole barn. A shack or lean-to can be built fairly easily and should be considered if the feedlot will be continually used. If the area does not include at least trees, it is important that the cows have a pond or some other way to cool themselves in the summer. It is also important to have a way to catch the animals. If you do not have a pole barn, consider building chutes in the feedlot.

Build a fence around the small pasture area. The larger the area, the more grazing grass you can have. Small paddocks are also fine because grazing is not a top priority, since the cattle will be fed hay and grain. The area needs to be accessible by truck or tractor. Electric fences work much better at keeping cattle in than barbed wire.

Provide a water source in the feedlot, such as a livestock water fountain. Creeks also work, but if they dry up during the hot months water will have to be continually brought to the feedlot. This is labor-intensive.

Place a hay bale ring in the pasture. Most farmers feed round bales, since they are more labor efficient. Set the round bale ring in a part of the feedlot that is easily accessible by the tractor but out of the way of the entrance.

Place feed mangers near the entrance. This is what you will put the feed and mineral blocks in.


  • Check the fence regularly to make sure the electricity is still working in the fence. This will help prevent loose animals.