Monday, November 9, 2009

New 'Feeders'

Vet2Be's 4-H leader uses wire livestock fencing attached to the walls of the goat shelters as hay feeders. When we took care of her farm in July I really liked them and thought they worked well. I've been trying to figure out a way to have good feeders here, too.

A good feeder is one that the animals can get the food out of without making a mess or wasting lots of hay. Also, a feeder should be built in such a way that the animals can't get into it and take a nap in it.

I noticed that the gates (which have some livestock fencing attached so that kid goats can't escape) were about 8" away from the wall when latched open.  Hmmmm......, I wonder if a flake of hay would fit between the wall and the gate? If it did, voila! an instant feeder!

It turns out that 8" wasn't quite enough space so I tied some baling twine (otherwise known as 'the farmers friend') to the eye bolt in the wall, then latched the gate to the baling twine. It gave it just enough room to fit in some flakes of hay! We have used the new 'feeders' for about a week now and have really liked them. The goats can pull out bits of hay without making a big mess. It will also be easier to clean up inside the stall rather than underneath the feeder that is outside. The outside feeder is on dirt, our barn has mats since it was originally designed for horses.

The other great thing about the door feeders is that the taller animals can eat over the shorter animals. The goats can eat over the top of the sheep, and the llama and huarizo can eat over the top of the goats. In the evening there are about 4 flakes of hay in each gate, two flakes on top and two flakes on the bottom. Everyone can reach some dinner in one stall or the other!

You can't see the hay flakes in this photo, but there are two flakes that landed at the bottom of the gate.  Blackie, my favorite lamb, is in the front. He is still so sweet and loves people!

Another view of the gate feeder.


Laurel said...

I love that idea! We don't have quite the same setup but I'm going to look at how that might work for us. Our current feeder works ok, but they do waste a lot.

TJ said...

Hi Laurel,
The 4-H leader also had wooden boxes with hinged lids that would fit a bale of hay inside. A few boxes were pushed up against wire fencing, others had rebar spaced about 12" apart along the front. I thought those looked great, too, but using the gates was much faster for us :)

Laurel said...

Well I took the idea home to Justen and he said sounds great, but he's already designed and almost finished building our new feeder. It will fit a half ton bale, have it's own roof, a pan underneath, and a drop down top slat thing that will keep them from pulling it all out. This will make it so we can feed with the tractor and a bale should last them about 2 weeks. I'm pretty excited I can't wait to see it. But your idea definately is faster.

TJ said...

I hope you post photos on your blog! I would love to see it. Wow! Only putting out hay every 2 weeks would be wonderful!