After this 40 below sh!t and nothing starting I was forced to let the cows into the yard to eat what was sitting on the high boy. I didn't want to let them I to the stacked stuff just because hay is precious this year. One thing I did notice is they cleaned everything up and the calves hid under the highboy and picked up and droppings. When everyone had their fill they were quite content to lay around the truck and trailer. I am thinking of getting another cheap high boy and putting plywood on one side that can be easily removed. Feeder and shelter in one.
You are probably on to something. It would be a lot less waste than bale grazing, and not much more work. Maybe not so great in the mud when the hay falls into it, but at least it is easy to move to dry ground next time.
My wagon is 8 bales long, and only has pipes for cross bars, no ends, so the cows can eat their way all the way in. I use it to feed, hauling them out to dump into hay feeders. I do occasionally leave some very damaged bales on the wagon and let them eat directly off, and it works well. But not enough stalls for a large herd, would need lots of them or else the shy cows would starve.
Had a small disaster this week that ties both of these issues together...
I'm feeding with the track hoe, dumping silage directly into hay feeders across a panel fence from the silage pile. Then along one side of the pile I have a row of hay feeders for feeding straw, also with the track hoe. Works really slick, can feed 10 straw bales and fill 10 hay feeders with silage in a just a few minutes. About once a week I bring a load of 30 bales along side and unload 10 into feeders and the remainder into stockpile. Was swinging a straw bale from the wagon overtop of some portable windbreaks aiming for a straw feeder when the hoe blew a hydraulic line on the boom. The boom dropped really fast, right on top of two portable windbreaks( which were also serving as fence to keep cows out of the silage), and the end of one panel(also vital). Missed all the cows, a split second later it would have been much worse, missed the feeders and the wagon. But then I had a giant hole in the fence, with a really tasty strawbale plugging part of it, inoperable track hoe, and much too cold for my fingers to fix it. Oil everywhere. It was the last bale, so at least the cows were fed.
Still had about ~15 bales on the wagon, some still on top(2 wide), but it was too dark to take it down the road, so I hid it behind a brush pile till next time. Had a surprise calf the next morning(Auction purchase), and she went half way to the wagon to calve, windier, colder and no bedding there, so that is only natural, took some straw over by hand, which attracted a bunch more cows, ( straw is much tastier out in the wind and snow, then in the feeder it came from), and from there, inspite of the inclimate weather, a few decided to go and rub on the brush pile and happened upon the hidden wagon. So I had to start a tractor and go move the wagon before they undermined the bottom rows enough to collapse them all on top of themselves.
The blown line was a 4 bolt flange at the bottom of the boom cylinders, and it broke all 4 bolts, fresh breaks. Combination of cold weather, and 30,000 hours of fatigue I suppose. Lots of fun drilling out and extracting the broken ones too.
On a positive note, for most of the winter, we had absolutely no wind, or cold, and didn't need any windbreaks, so at least lately, with the advent of winter, all the effort of making windbreaks is justified. I did build a few more pipe frame windbreaks too.