From scrap to self-feeder

With a bit of ingenuity and lots of determination, this handyman has designed several useful items using scrap materials lying around on the farm.

Francios Kruger, a handyman who lives on the farm Salmanslaagte near Verkeerdevlei in the Free State province of South Africa believes that the devil finds work for idle hands so he uses his spare time to create art or gadgets from scrap material.

Farmer Burgert Terblanche runs a sheep enterprise, among others, and Francois has made a self-feeder for Burgert’s animals. He used a 200 litre drum, some sheet metal and an old truck tyre for the feeding trough, which was mounted on another tyre with roofing screws so that the livestock can eat from it at a comfortable height.

Francois first cut open the base of the drum. A truck tyre cut in half was used for the trough at the bottom – the edge of which is just high enough so that the feed pellets don’t spill out.

Francois affixed the trough tyre to the drum with a few support struts made from strips of sheet metal and bits of metal. The drum is about 60mm above the inner edge of the tyre, which allows enough space for the animal feed to run through.

Photo 1 illustrates the clip-on lid of the drum through which a metal rod has been inserted. A disc has been fixed to the bottom of this rod and this lies on the feed. This allows the livestock workers to quickly see how much feed is left in the feeder.

A conical plate on the inside ensures that the feed is evenly distributed.

Photo 1: A clip-on lid of the drum through which a metal rod has been inserted


Francois also devised a sorting tray (Photo 2) for screws and bolts. It is made of sheet metal. The tip action is controlled by a crank handle that is attached to the tray’s axis. A removable slide separates the sorted collection ready for pouring out.

Photo 2: A sorting tray for screws and bolts.


Francois and Burgert are very conscious about the conservation of raptors, such as owls, that occur on Salmanslaagte. In order to capture the mice that they feed to the owls, without using poison, Francois developed a mouse trap from a coffee tin. He equipped it with a metal lid (Photo 3) that works like a see-saw.

A length of binding wire forms a small axle along the middle of the top of the coffee tin. A metal disc is attached to the axle so that one half rests on the outer edge of the tin and the other half of the disc can rotate into the tin. The metal disc can be easily cut out using the plastic lid of the coffee tin as a template.

According to Francois, rodents can’t resist clambering up the tin to the bait (bread and peanut butter) on the far side of the tipping disc. As soon as a mouse is on the disc, the animal tumbles into the tin containing water which prevents it from jumping out.

Photo 3: A mouse trap developed from a coffee tin, which is equipped with a metal lid that works like a see-saw.


ENQUIRIES: Burgert Terblanche; email:

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