We love our rescue goats. Seriously, we love them. Each has their own distinct personality, their own look, their own endearing qualities. Goats are awesome. But all three of them share one terrible trait: they are profligate hay wasters. Half of any given hay bale would end up on the ground, and you know that for goats, if hay is on the ground, it simply doesn’t exist.
For the longest time, we used a hay feeder designed for horses, which we ignorantly purchased from our farm store. It sort-of worked, in the sense that it held hay, but the goats would quickly pull wads of it from the top or through the bars. So every morning we’d go in and sweep up a bunch of expensive future compost. We added fencing to stem the tide, but it became super frustrating, so we started hunting for alternatives. Our friend Heidi – guys, she has like 3000 goats and is named HEIDI for crying out loud! – ended up building one from scratch that we decided to adapt for our barn.
We adapted her plans. The original design was intended to go nearly 10′ long, wall-to-wall. Our stalls wouldn’t allow for that, and we don’t have that many goats (yet) so shortened it to be 4′ long, with one end attached to the side wall, and one with a closed end.
There are a few features that I like about this design:
The height is perfect for goats, who like to browse, and I built it 4′ wide so they have enough space to stand side-by-side comfortably.
The double upper rail is effective at keeping them from pulling hay out over the top.
It’s easy to load a couple of flakes of hay at a time.
The tray below catches anything the goats pull through, which they will usually eat, and allows us to simply dump the excess back in the top of the feeder.
It was super cheap to build. We only bought (3) 2×4’s from Home Depot, and we were lucky enough to find a scrap piece of hog panel at the Farm Store which they gave us for FREE.
Power, Table or Miter Saw
Drill or Screw Gun
Here’s a list of parts to build our shorter version:
(3) 2″ x 4″ x 8’long
(1) 2″ x 6″ x 4′ long
(1) 4″ x 4″ x 2′ long
(1) 3/8″ plywood, 2′ x 4′
(1) 30″ x 4′ piece of hog panel
Box of 2 1/2″ screws
Handful of Galvanized U-Nails
Cut your 2x4s and 2×6 to size. This implementation is 4′ wide, and 18″ deep. The angled uprights are 31″ long with a 35 degree angle cut and a 55 degree cut for the angled supports.
Cut your 4×4 to make your tray support. Mine was 20.5″ tall, to make a platform that is 24″ high by the time you add the height of the resting 2x4s.
Start assembly. I started by building out the the bottom waste tray, then the upper frames. I was able to fasten the left side against the stall wall, and come in from the back side to anchor the short supports on the opposite side.
Secure your angled uprights. I pre-drilled holes for some 3″ screws to ensure the wood didn’t split.
Cut your hog panel to size. Mine ended up being 28″ tall by 44″ wide to fit inside the frame.
Secure the hog panel to the frame with galvanized u nails.
Cut your plywood for the waste tray, 24″ x 48″ and fasten down with screws.
Finally, I used a piece of leftover plywood to finish off the open end and keep the goats from coming in from the side.
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