Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Hay Feeders

There has been a lot of talk about various hay feeding systems on the lists lately. I thought I would post a photo of the "Red Green" hayfeeders I unvented last year. I'm sure other people have also come up with this in the past, but it was new to me. I know they're not the prettiest addition to the barnyard, especially the end with the lid as shown in these photos, but they do come in handy and they are cheap and easy to make.
After my hubby came home from the auction with two 55 gallon barrels, I started thinking about the best way to use them for sheep feeders. We've cut them in half width-wise before, turned them over and added openings for great little duck and goose houses. Plastic barrels are versatile, waterproof, cheap and almost indestructible. But you MUST make sure they weren't used for poisonous liquids in the past! Ours were from fruit juice concentrates...
Anyway, having a covered hay feeder was important to me as well as keeping the hay off the ground in my overstocked paddocks. After a little ruminating on the subject (bad pun- sorry!), I had the hubby cut the barrels in half lengthwise and screw on two sturdy boards for legs on each end. The key is to use wide sturdy boards for legs and not allow too much space between the halves, or the sheep will be able to get in and so will the rain and snow. For my Shetlands, low legs were important, the bottom half is just barely off the ground. You can see in the snow photo from a few days ago, our BFL ram lamb is a little too big for this feeder, but he prefers it over the other feeders anyway.
We used sandpaper to smooth down the rough cut edges of the barrel.
Anyway, I do like these feeders. They are easy to move and they accomodate 6 sheep easily. They keep most of the snow and rain out. We added three drain holes in the bottom of each feeder just in case.
The adult sheep don't get in, but lambs can. This actually came in handy when we had two bottle lambs in with our flock last spring. They would cuddle up together inside the feeder and stay warm and dry at night. It worked out very well since we don't use these feeders much when the sheep are on grass.


  1. How do you put the bale in? Are the tops on hinges of some sort or you just wedge it in from the middle? I think they look great.

  2. I just slip flakes of hay in through the sides. I really like your hinge idea though. I'm going to have think on the easiest way to do that.

  3. http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanh/sets/72157594471205215/

    That's what we ended up with. The top sits between the posts, so can lift right off.

    Thanks very much for the idea! The girls love it. I will add some pictures of the Shelties as well, but they refuse to stand prettily around it when I show up with the camera.

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


Another way to Felt locks

I belong to a group on Facebook called Vegetarian Sheepskin, which is a strange name for felt pelts, but there are lots of variations on wha...