Creeps and creep feeders provide visible evidence of tools used by farmers to increase survival and growth rates for young stock. Historically creeps took various forms, built by farmers to suit the animals’ size and habits, but they served one function—they provided a protected space for young stock to eat. Little physical evidence of creeps in use between the 1880s and the 1960s remains, but critical analysis of prescriptive literature and historic photographs can help us document changes in animal husbandry and market strategies that continue today. Farmers made them from scratch, followed plans prepared by technical experts, or bought pre-fabricated units, and used them in confinement operations as well as smaller-scale cow-calf, sow-piglet, and sheep-lamb operations. The tool could simultaneously reflect good business practice, resistance to production regulations, abuse of animal welfare ethics, and investment in modern farming practices.

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