Title:
FEED CENTER
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A feed center is a cabinet that has at least one bin for storing food, at least one drawer underneath the bins, a countertop, a shelf above the bin(s), and a lid that can be raised and lowered that covers the bins and the shelf. The cabinet may be placed on casters and may be provided with a light and an electrical outlet. A trap door at the bottom of each bin may be opened to remove debris from the bins. The countertop may extend around the front and sides of the cabinet. The countertop may be a drop-leaf countertop and the front countertop may be notched at the center. A gas spring may be used to hold the lid in a raised position.



Inventors:
Lowick, Casey T. (Lewisville, TX, US)
Application Number:
10/907293
Publication Date:
09/28/2006
Filing Date:
03/28/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
312/223.5, 312/328
International Classes:
A47B81/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
AYRES, TIMOTHY MICHAEL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Richard, Fuerle D. (1711 W. RIVER RD., GRAND ISLAND, NY, 14072, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A feed center comprising a cabinet having (A) at least one bin for storing food; (B) at least one drawer underneath said bin(s); (C) a countertop; (D) a shelf positioned above said bin(s); and (E) a lid that can be raised and lowered, that covers said bin(s) and said shelf.

2. A feed center according to claim 1 wherein said cabinet has exactly three side-by-side bins.

3. A feed center according to claim 1 wherein said the bottom of said bins is about 5 to about 20 inches above the bottom of said feed center.

4. A feed center according to claim 1 wherein each of said bins is provided with a trap door at the bottom through which material within said bins may be removed.

5. A feed center according to claim 1 wherein each of said bins has a volume of about 2 to about 10 cubic feet.

6. A feed center according to claim 1 wherein said bins are open on top.

7. A feed center according to claim 1 wherein said cabinet has two drawers underneath said bins.

8. A feed center according to claim 1 wherein said countertop is about 20 to about 40 inches above the bottom of said feed center.

9. A feed center according to claim 1 wherein said countertop has a section on each side of said cabinet and a section on each side of the front of said cabinet, with no countertop in the center of the front of said cabinet.

10. A feed center according to claim 9 wherein said side sections are drop-leaf and said front sections are removable.

11. A feed center according to claim 1 wherein said cabinet is on casters.

12. A feed center according to claim 1 wherein said cabinet has a fluorescent light above said shelf.

13. A feed center according to claim 1 wherein said cabinet has an electrical outlet.

14. A feed center according to claim 1 wherein said lid is held is a raised position by a gas spring.

15. A feed center according to claim 1 wherein a single lid, made in two parts that are hinged together, covers both said shelf and said at least one bin.

16. A feed center according to claim 1 wherein said lid comprises a roll top lid that covers said shelf and a sliding lid that covers said at least one bin.

17. A feed center according to claim 1 including a lock for locking said lid when it is closed.

18. A method of preparing food for animals using a feed center according to claim 1 comprising storing animal food in at least one of said bins, removing food from said bin as needed, and preparing food on said countertops.

19. A feed center comprising a cabinet having (A) three side-by-side bins for storing food; (B) two drawers underneath said bins; (C) a removable countertop on each side of the front of said cabinet and no countertop in the center of the front of said cabinet; (D) a shelf positioned above said bins; and (E) a lid that can be raised and lowered that covers said bins and said shelf.

20. A feed center comprising a cabinet having (A) three bins that are side-by-side relative to the front of said feed center, for storing food; (B) a trap door at the bottom of each bin; (C) two drawers underneath said bins; (D) a waist-high removable countertop on each side of the front of said cabinet and no countertop in the center of the front of said cabinet; (E) a waist-high drop-leaf countertop on each side of said cabinet; (F) a shelf positioned above said bins; (G) a lid attached to said feed center above said shelf, made in two pieces that are hinged together, which can be raised and lowered to cover said bins and said shelf; (H) a gas spring that holds said lid in a raised position; (I) a lock for locking said metal lid in its lowered position; (J) casters on the base of said cabinet; and (K) a fluorescent light above said shelf and under said lid.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to a feed center suitable for storing and preparing food, medicine, and supplements for horses and various other animals. In particular, it relates to a cabinet that has at least one bin for holding feed, at least one drawer under the bins, a shelf over the bins, a countertop, and a lid that covers both the shelf and the bins and can be raised and lowered.

Most horse stables, dog kennels, and livestock ranches store their animal food in trash bins or other makeshift containers. At feeding time, the food and supplements are mixed in buckets on the floor. This often results in spillage, which attracts mice, rats, and insects, and can spread disease. Food and supplements are commonly stored separately from each other and must be assembled for food preparation, then returned, which adds to the labor involved and may result in forgetting to add supplements. Also, bending over and kneeling on the floor to prepare the food can create back, hip, and knee problems, which are especially common for people working in this industry.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The feed center of this invention has a cabinet that is provided with waist-high bins for storing food, so that it is not necessary to bend over in order obtain feed. There is a countertop around the front and sides of the cabinet to provide a work area. Medicine, equipment, and supplements needed for preparing the food can be stored on a shelf over the bins or in drawers beneath the bins. Thus, food and supplements are kept close together for easy access, which reduces labor and may prevent forgetting to add supplements. A lid can be lowered over the shelf and the bins and locked.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1A is an isometric view of the front and one side of a certain presently preferred embodiment of a feed station according to this invention showing the lid open.

FIG. 1B is the same as FIG. 1A but shows the lid closed.

FIG. 2A is an isometric view of a feed station as in FIGS. 1A and 1B but with both a lid that slides directly over the bins and a roll top which covers the interior shelf area, where both are opened.

FIG. 2B is the same as FIG. 2A but with both the lid and the roll top closed.

FIG. 3 is a side view of the feed center of FIGS. 1A and 1B with the lid open.

FIG. 4 is a front view of the feed center shown in FIGS. 2A and 2B with the roll top closed.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

While the invention will be described in connection with a preferred embodiment, it will be understood that it is not intended to limit the invention to that embodiment. On the contrary, it is intended to cover all alternatives, modifications and equivalents as may be included within the spirit and scope of the invention.

In FIGS. 1A, 1B, and 3, feed center 1 has a cabinet 2 which is provided with three bins 3, two drawers 4 underneath bins 3, countertop 5, shelf 6, and lid 7.

Cabinet 2 is preferably fitted with casters 8 so that it may be easily moved for cleaning, to position it closer to the animals to be fed, to place it out of the way when it is not being used, or to move it to a doorway or opening so that heavy feed may be directly unloaded from a truck or other vehicle into the bins. The height of cabinet 2 is preferably about 40 to about 70 inches (measuring from the floor) in the back and about 19 to about 43 inches at the top of countertop 5. Its depth is preferably about 10 to about 40 inches and its width is preferably about 15 to about 70 inches. Other dimensions may also be used. The cabinet is preferably made of sheet metal, stainless steel, aluminum or other metals or plastics, but other materials, such as wood, fiberboard, or fiberglass may also be used. It may be painted, stained, or otherwise decorated, such as, for example, with a name and/or logo emblazoned on the front of the cabinet with paint, etching, or sticker, etc. This feed center is not only functional, but aesthetically pleasing as well. It is decorative and unique.

Cabinet 2 has at least one bin 3, open at the top, in which food for animals may be stored. Preferably, cabinet 2 has at least two bins 3, and more preferably, it has three bins 3, as shown in FIG. 1A, so that more than one type of feed can be stored. Because drawer(s) 4 are underneath the bins, the bins are not so deep as to make it difficult to scoop food from the bottom of the bins. Also, the bins 3 do not rest on the floor, and are preferably about 5 to about 20 inches off the floor, which keeps the food dry should the floor become wet. At the bottom of each bin 3 is trap door 9 (FIGS. 3 and 4), which may be opened for cleaning. Trap door 9 is preferably hinged and opens upward, but other types of trap doors may also be used. Any material within a bin can be swept out through trap doors 9 into drawers 4 or, if drawers 4 are removed, onto the floor where it can be swept up. Alternatively, instead of using trap doors 9, bins 3 may be fitted with square hard plastic liners that may be removed for cleaning. Each bin preferably has a volume of about 2 to about 10 cubic feet.

Cabinet has two drawers 4 underneath bins 3, in which equipment, medicine, special food, tools, and other items may be placed. However, a single drawer or more than two drawers are also contemplated. Each drawer preferably has a capacity of about 1 to about 4 cubic feet.

As shown in FIGS. 1A and 3, countertop 5 is made up of four sections—two front sections 10 and left and right side sections 11 and 12, respectively. Side countertops 11 and 12 are preferably about 10 to about 20 inches wide. Front countertops 10 are cut-away in the center to provide easy access to bins 3 and to shelf 6. Front sections 10 are also removable, as shown in FIG. 1B. Both side sections are preferably of a drop-leaf type so that they may lowered, as shown for side sections 11 and 12 in FIG. 1B. Lowering or removing the countertop sections when they are not needed provides more space around cabinet 2. The removal of countertops 5 may be accomplished, for example, by means of brackets 13 that fit into bracket holders 14. To remove the front countertop, the brackets 13 that support it are removed from bracket holders 14. A side countertop may be raised or lowered by grasping the drop leaf brackets and pulling outward to release the brackets, then manually lowering the countertop.

Shelf 6 extends across the top of cabinet 2. As shown in FIGS. 1A and 2A, shelf 6 may be used to hold specialized foods, supplements, medicines, tools, equipment, a container of water, and other items. Referring to FIG. 3, above shelf 6 is light 15, preferably a fluorescent light, which provides light for the work area, and electrical outlet 16 for mixers, heaters, and other electrical appliances that may be used in preparing the food.

Lid 7 is made in two sections, 17 and 18, that are hinged together so that it may be raised (FIGS. 1A and 3) or lowered (FIG. 1B) to cover bins 3 and shelf 6. It may be held in a raised position by means of gas spring 19 or by other means. (A gas spring is a spring, the movement of which is dampened by a piston moving inside a cylinder.) Lid 7 is preferably constructed of metal, such as galvanized sheet metal, stainless steel, aluminum, or other metals or plastics, although it may also be made of other materials, such as wood or fiberglass. It is preferably provided with lock 20 (FIGS. 1A and 1B) so that it may be locked in a lowered position to prevent access by children and unauthorized persons.

Referring to FIGS. 2A, 2B, and 4, lid 7 may be a combination of a roll top lid 21 that covers shelf 6 and a sliding lid 22 that covers bins 3. Roll top lid 21 is made of a multiplicity of hinged horizontal slats that slide in groves (not shown) in side panels 23. Roll top lid 21 is advantageous when the feed center is being transported as it seals the feed center better.

If desired, the feed center may also be provided with a sink, drain, and water source, so that items may be cleaned.