Last winter we spent a lot of time managing goat and cow hay when it got cold. To clarify cold, it’s when I have to change how I manage livestock water. If it’s going to be solid on top through lunchtime, it’s cold. In the barn area we can manage water much easier then out in a pasture.
So, when the weather is right, into the barn they go. Barns do not grow grass well. So we feed hay. Hay on the ground is a waste, hay in a feeder is money well spent.
So we made a feeder that looks like a barrel, if a barrel was made of 4×4 inch mesh panel. Cheap, effective… Annoying because the goats keep smashing it in on itself.
We noticed another problem: the big queen goats kept all the other girls off of ‘her’ hay. The bucks are always welcome to get hay, just none of these other lady goats. With the impression of artificial scarcity, the whole herd suffered.
They make commercial grade feeders and sell them at ag stores, specifically for goats. They bite hard into our profits, so I was reluctant to buy one. But listening to sad lady goats bawling about being cut off from hay convinced me something must be done.
We go to the AG store, braced to pay full price. “What’s that? Oh you don’t have any. “
Off to the next ag store… “What’s that? You don’t have any either?” Hmmm.
“Wait, what’s that? That gnarled and faded piece of gear hanging off your fence back here? Yes, it sure is damaged. Yes it sure would be some work to make it usable. What’s that? You’ll sell it for 80% off? … Yeah I guess we can do that, if you insist.”
So after hammer work on the metal and mounting work on scrap wood (keep it for a reason!) and left over tote lids… We got ourselves a feeder for less then half price.
It works. It works even better then my barrel contraption because they eat the seeds on the tray as well.
Lessons learned are good lessons.