Monday, June 13, 2011

Keyhole Feeder

It's always frustrating to try to feed hay to goats. If they can (and they are so agile) they will step on, drag out, lay in and otherwise ruin perfectly good hay. I know I was feeding a bale every other day to these small goats when they were still on milk but most of it I would have to drag out of the stall ruined at the next feeding time because they kept dragging it out and getting into the feeder and soiling the hay.

We found a wonderful cheap solution on You-tube (hay feeder here). A key-hole feeder made from an industrial food barrel. There are a lot of barrels here from the maple industry so it was no problem to find a source. The keyhole is supposed to be 7 inches round with a four inch slot but since my goats are young we used a six inch keyhole with a three inch slot knowing we could make it bigger later. I used a desert plate as a guide when drawing the hole. Then we used a jigsaw to cut the holes. You have to drill a hole big enough to allow the jigsaw blade to get started. But it's a very simple design to make.

We thought we could just set it into the stall but they promptly knocked it over and we also thought we wouldn't need a lid but Julius jumped inside it so it needs to be fastened to the wall (we used screws through a piece of wood so the barrel plastic wouldn't tear). The lid is just the barrel piece we cut off turned upside down. It fits perfectly.

The results? No more hay waste! I add about a slice a day to the top and mix it all around every day and they go through only what they can eat. There is virtually no hay on the ground! When they go to pull out they have to think about it a little and raise and turn their heads to not hit their ears so they don't just drag it out and let half of it fall to the ground. Truly an ingenious idea.

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