A survey of long-time users of its Big Wheel® feeders was conducted by Osborne Industries, Inc., on the 25th anniversary of its invention of the patented Big Wheel Feeder designed in 1978, according to Claudio Faundez, Product Manager for the company. According to Faundez, the survey “confirmed that Osborne customers remain totally satisfied with the quality and design of their Big Wheel Feeders after over 20 years of service.”
Faundez noted that the survey was conducted as part of a company celebration of the success of the product. He notes that he failed to find any dissatisfied customers, which is an amazing result for any product. The survey was conducted by personal calls to customers who where among the first to purchase Big Wheel feeders.
In 1991, Gene Matthis, a North Carolina grower for Prestige Farms, endorsed his feeders by commenting, “In the first 4 years, my feed conversion improved from 0.1 to 0.2 per building.” During the survey 12 years later, Matthis was again quoted, “Recently I made the first minor repairs and I only adjust them at the beginning of each group and no more, which saves me time. I don’t lose feed and that saves me money.” He says he remains very well satisfied with the performance and durability of his feeders.
According to Ron Thibault, the inventor of the Big Wheel feeder, it was the first fiberglass feeder on the market and its patented mechanical-flow delivery was not immediately accepted. But, stated Thibault, “Four years after its introduction in 1981, sales of Big Wheel feeders in the U.S. exceeded those of all other designs.”
Thibault notes that the use of fiberglass plastic in hog feeders had never been attempted prior to the Big Wheel feeder, but that he wanted to use fiberglass, owing to its superior resistance to corrosion. He said that his tests showed that the fiberglass could survive pigs as long as the feeder reliably delivered feed without plugging, which is the case with the Big Wheel design.
Thibault recalls that he designed and tested a rectangular fenceline version of the Big Wheel, but the round style worked so well, the fenceline rectangular version was never sold. Thibault says that his studies showed that the round trough reduced antagonism between animals, probably owing to greater standing room compared to rectangular feeders. He says that only a few minor changes have been needed since introduction of Big Wheel Feeders.
Randy Eagan, Riverview Farms (Indiana), remarked that “Big Wheel Feeders are easy to adjust for feed control with very little waste. They have little maintenance, don’t plug-up and are easy to clean. Little pigs don’t lay in them as much. I think these feeders are good for wean-to-finish barns,” notes Eagan. Eagan began using Big Wheel feeders as part of his new Weight Watcher™ System that h acquired from Osborne for growth management in his finishing operations.
Big Wheel feeders include sizes and models for nursery, finishing, and farrowing, including outdoor and new wean-to-finish systems. Osborne Industries manufactures and distributes its lines of livestock equipment worldwide. Its product lines include Big Wheel® feeders, Stanfield® heat pads, ACCU-ARM® scales, Agri-Aide® ventilation, Weight Watcher™ growth management auto-weighing, TEAM® automated sow management systems, FIRE® performance testing equipment, and several other advanced electronic-ID driven systems.