We started our goat herd in November of 2012.
Our baby goats, 3 kids, are now about 3 to 3 1/2 months old and finally weaned.
I started shopping around for a good quality hay feeder. Goats are notorious for wasting hay. My goat mentor and giver of the goats, Shelby, told me early on that if I wanted to save money on feed and hay, I needed to buy or build feeders. Goats pull large amounts of hay onto the floor at a time, then once on the floor it is just too dirty and unclean for them to even think about eating!
Spoiled rotten goats, says I.
Tractor Supply had on hand. A large wall mount grain and hay feeder, but it just didn't seem like what I needed for goats. This was more for a single horse I think, and was priced $119.99
I went on line and found a really nice single capacity X Tuff wall mounted hay feeder from Premier One Supplies. It was reasonably priced at $33.00 and closer to what I was looking for. But upon ordering I found out the shipping cost was $26.00. I just have a hard time spending as much on shipping as the product cost, so decided to wait and look around a little more.
Rural King opened a new store in Circleville, about 25 miles from us so we drove over to see what they had for supplies. I found a heavy metal corner mount hay feeder for $26.99 and purchased it. Not until I got it home did I realize (or remember) we have large 6 x 6 posts in the corners of each stall so the feeder would not work. And if I would have thought it through a little more, I would have realized the rungs in the feeder were spaced pretty far apart, so most likely the goats would have pulled all the hay onto the floor anyway. Ugh!
On my way back to our back barn to collect wood to build with, I passed my "collection" of 3 pallets. A light went off! Work smarter not harder I always say.
I carried one pallet into the barn, and after "figuring and ciphering"for a few minutes, I came up with a design.
First, placing the pallet on 5 gallon buckets, I used a saw and cut the pallet in half.
Next, after flipping the half pallet over, I cut off the wood strips on the back side.
My next step was to decide how wide I wanted the hay feeder. We want the goats for milk, which means I will have more baby goats, which means I should make a larger hay feeder.
Next I cut 2 pieces of 2 x 4 to the same height as the hay feeder will be, or the side height of the pallet being use as the front of the feeder.
These two 2x4 were then mounted to the barn wall at the exact width of the front of the feeder. I also wanted to make sure the feeder would be high enough off the ground, but not too high.
Since I am working by myself, I needed something to hold the front of the feeder up while I attached it to the 2 x 4's. I rigged up a prop, then held the front of the feeder out to the desired angle and measured the boards I would need for the sides. These side boards will not only attached the front to the 2 x 4s at the desired angle, but also prevent large amounts of hay from falling out of the feeder.
Once the side boards were cut, I again used a prop to hold the front in place while I screwed the side boards on.
(I am a huge fan of drywall screws, I can not speak their praise enough.)
My feeder is done!
I had barely enough time to drop two flakes of hay into the feeder before the goats were on it.
Well, actually the goats were under foot the entire time I was building this, chewing the box of drywall screws, chewing my hair, Festus even chewed my boot laces and untied one.
The hair chewing has just got to stop!
What I learned researching hay feeders is that there are hundreds of kinds, models and styles, made out of numerous different things. And that it's OK if you want to purchase one, and OK to build one, whatever works at your farm and for your animals.
I am and have always been a re-user, a recycler, a savager and re-claimer, so this was what works best for me in the end.
The cost was next to nothing, the pallet was free, I salvaged the old piece of 2 x 4, the only cost was a handful of drywall screws and my time: Less than 2 hours.
It is winter here so this feeder is perfect for now. Come spring and warmer weather, I may redo this with straigher lines and "perfect" cuts, but maybe not.
Good luck with your design and hay feeder,
"Few things in the world are more powerful than a positive push. A smile. A world of optimism and hope. A "you can do it" when things are tough."
~Richard M. DeVos
Whether you think you can or think you can't - you are right.
If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.
~Thomas Alva Edison