Hay Feeders

(Free for all)


We’ve used a few different kinds over the years and thus far my favorite has been one made with cattle panels…


The first 2 feeders we ever made were fairly simple wood construction, box style with vertical slats where the hay was dropped into the center and goats ate from all sides. They beat the heck out of it and wasted so much hay by pulling it through the slats; not to mention the fact the kids would get up there and sleep and one year I had some kids with diarrhea so you can well imagine what a lovely mess that was to clean up!

The third wooden feeder that has stood up the best by far has been this…

We loaded this into our custom built livestock trailer and hauled it all the way from California. It’s an okay feeder but still quite heavy and needs to be kept under cover. I mean, I don’t suppose it HAS to be, but it sure will last a lot longer.

I don’t like it for a few reasons. For one, weight. For two, while the trough seems like it would be useful (yes there is a trough at the bottom but they pull so much hay out you can’t even tell), I feed mostly alfalfa and it drops down, the leaves and dust collects and I end up raking it out. They don’t pick it up out of the trough. Rarely have I had a goat eat the “trough droppings”. Or maybe it’s just that I feed too much. If small kids get up into it, they urinate on the hay in the trough making clean up a chore.

These cattle panel feeders are really quite ideal, cheap, portable, and light weight. Yes, hay does fall out the bottom but it’s usually picked up pretty quickly by lazy goats, as you can see… And quite honestly, there’s no more waste with them as opposed to the reach up and take hay out style feeders like the wooden one at the beginning of this post.

The cattle panel feeders allow the goats to stick their heads in, or not. I do have some that’ll shove but providing the goat doesn’t have its head in a cloud of hay, they’ll see an oncoming lunge. Hang them low enough and the bigger goats can eat out of the top and the smaller ones can eat from the sides or bottoms…
I take a 16′ cattle panel and cut it in 3-6 pieces. I use a bolt cutters to remove the vertical stays on each side leaving me with fingers. My husband then welds (carefully because it’s galvanized and the vapors are poisonous) the fingers together and I hang them with clips, in this case mountaineering clips. For a $20 panel I get quite a few portable feeders.



With this type of panel I used for this feeder (graduated rungs on the bottom like the panel the feeder is hung on), I leave the smaller spaces to the back. This would be the bottom of the cattle panel if it were still intact. The panels I get from Lowes are 2″ x 6″ for the first two rungs where as some of the others I’ve seen are 1″ x 6″ for the first rung and then 2 ” x 6″ followed by the usual 6″x6″ squares. I can’t get 6″x6″ all over (also called utility panels) and it doesn’t quite matter as the tops of the panels I get are 6″x6″ which leaves plenty of space for goaties without horns to get their heads through
And then there’s the bucket that I use when I am out of town for the weekend clipped to the cattle panel for an extra feeder for more hay just in case.

If you’re wanting to know what that white PVC thing is attached to the wooden feeder, it’s my mineral feeder made from a piece of 4″ PVC (about 2 foot in length), a cap, a 45 degree section, a male adapter and a female screw. You could just glue a cap on the bottom of the 45 degree section, but the male and female part allows me to clean it out if I ever needed to. I love this mineral feeder.

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