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How to Build a Hay Feeder for Your Goats

If you're new to raising goats, you may not know that goats are terrible hay wasters. Having a hay feeder can help both to reduce that waste and to attain your goal of living a green lifestyle. The simple hay feeder outlined here will feed about 10 goats.

You need at least one commercial box feeder for every four goats. Often, one or two goats drive others away from a feeding area, so you may want to make hay available in at least two locations in each goat area. That way everyone gets to eat.

The simple feeder shown here is easy to make, easy to use, and holds enough hay to feed 8 to 15 goats (depending on their size) for several days. You probably want to use it for only 10 goats or so, however, because they may start fighting when eating in such close proximity.

The only problem with this hay feeder is that the goats sometimes tip it over when it's empty, and every so often three goats (kids, usually) stick their head through the same panel and get stuck when they try to pull back at the same time. You can attach the feeder to a wall or post to prevent goats from tipping it over, but doing so limits the number of goats that can feed from it because they don't have access to the part of the feeder that's against the wall.

This simple hay feeder is easy to make.
This simple hay feeder is easy to make.

You can make a 38-inch-diameter circular hay feeder from a cattle panel. If you want a larger one, use a longer section of cattle panel. Remember that the goats have to get their heads to the hay in the middle, so don't make it too wide.

You need only a few tools and materials for this hay feeder:

  • A 16-foot section of cattle panel

  • Bolt cutters

  • A metal file or a grinder

  • Heavy wire, fasteners, or zip ties

Follow these steps to put together your hay feeder:

  1. Using your bolt cutters, cut a 10-foot length from the cattle panel.

    Make sure to cut at the end of a section so that no metal ends protrude.

  2. File or grind any sharp parts.

  3. With another person helping, roll up the section of panel until the two edges meet.

  4. Secure the ends together with zip ties, strong wire, or metal fasteners.

  5. Place the feeder in the desired area, fill it with hay, and watch your goats go for it!

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