I have designed a cement feeder for hogs, for my hobby sized farm. It is generally based around a professional one we already had.

I have planned on different parts of it being 2 inch, 1.5 inch, and 1 inch, depending on how accessible the part is to the animals. Most of these parts will be board shaped and about 4 feet long, but there's also a box part with open top and bottom.

But I am out of my depth for choosing the materials.

There are different types of cement, and (I assume) different sizes of reinforcing rod. Also, there is the question of adding filler gravel or not. I think in general that adding gravel would be bad for the thin 1 inch stuff, but would work alright in the 2 inch at least.


  • Are there specific types of cement you want to stay away from, or use specifically for delicate cement "furniture"?
  • What size of rod do you use for thin cement boards?
  • Is gravel filler something you do not want in thin cement?

Note: I am planning on pouring this cement myself in custom built frames.

  • 2
    Look into concrete counter tops, it uses the same products and process you're looking to do except it's a more popular DIY project so you'll find more readily available information. – Jason May 26 '13 at 16:37
  • concrete counter tops are not self-supporting, however, so may not be applicable. – DA01 May 26 '13 at 17:15
  • All the wood you would use to make the molding frames may be put to better use just building the feeder out of the wood. – Michael Karas May 26 '13 at 17:56
  • Hogs can chew through a 2x4 in like a single bite. If I had access to high quality, thick, hardwood, that would work. But I think it would be several thousand dollars worth of wood (I have no idea how much a hardwood board costs). – Jonathon May 26 '13 at 18:12
  • What about cement board (James Hardi and the like)? – DA01 Jun 4 '13 at 21:10

I did go ahead and pour a board, and have the results. I was told sand filler instead of gravel for <= 2". I went with just the default sand filler blend and thin steel rebar mesh (wire basically) at my local hardware store.

A 1.5" board that was about 4.5" wide and supported at 2' intervals supported 110 pounds. I had decided prior that 80 lbs would be acceptable. I think this means that I guesstimated perfectly. A 2" board should be acceptable for high-wear areas (I am hoping it would take about 200 lbs), 1.5" for medium, and 1" for light.

So it is heavier and does support less than a wooden board. But it has some benefits (in my case it is not chewable), and only costs a couple bucks for materials.

Even better was its fail state, 110 pounds produced a hardly perceivable hairline crack on one side only, held together by the rebar mesh.


Personally I would think that concrete poured up 1 to 2 inches thick will never stand up, even with a good amount of steel embedded in it. Commercial enterprises are making concrete elements but the things I've seen have always been 2.5 to 3 inches or more. Part of the problem with home processing of such things is that you do not have the needed exacting recipe and casting environment to control the mix, the cure and the environment to produce strong but thin concrete.

For a hog trough I would either build it out of steel or get your hands on some old cast iron bath tubs and cut them down to the necessary height.

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