We have two horses here on our homestead that love to eat. We would like to purchase a cow or two in the future, as well. Currently we buy our hay in 1000 lb rolls and just place them “strategically” around the pasture. Unfortunately, we have been increasingly disappointed over the amount of wasted hay left of the ground. That hay gets stepped on, pooped on, rained on, and ends up inedible. We can estimate the wasted hay is about 15-25% of each roll, which equals wasted money.
With the cost of hay and feeding our animals we want to make sure they get to eat most of what we provide. So, Kelli and I looked into other methods for feeding hay rolls. This included the large hay rings for horses. However, we were still not happy with the fact that the roll still has contact with the ground and is exposed. This means the rolls still get rained on frequently and will end up with mold. There is also the possible safety issues with the usage of a ring.
We had a thought…. we have been keeping an old unused chicken “mansion” frame around for quite some time, from the last property. We have not used it lately due to some much needed maintenance. So, we figured why not build it into a good solid elevated hay feeder?
The frame appears to be in decent shape structurally. It is already on skids which will allow us to move it around the pasture fairly easily with our tractor. The floor has a couple broken boards, but is still intact. It’s lined with 1/2″ galvanized wire mesh on the bottom. The mesh will work great to allow any sand in the roll and fine hay pieces to fall through. Plus, it also will allow any rain water (that may get blown in from the sides), to drain straight through, alleviating the mold issue. We can replace all rotted boards with fresh coral panel boards. Both sides will be open to allow multiple horses to feed easily on the sides. This will also allow them to eat hay evenly from both sides. One end will have a hinged door and latch, so we can back the truck up and roll the hay easily into the feeder. We will recycle some metal roofing material (left over from from an on-going porch remodel on the mobile home), to cover the feeder and keep the hay as dry as possible and out of the hot sun.
As a bonus, when we used this as a hay feeder at our previous property, we noticed a great side benefit. The fine hay pieces that fell through the mesh bottom onto the ground. Wherever the feeder was the previous month we would see new grass sprouts.
I will be posting photos of the remodel of the newly remodeled movable hay feeder, dubbed “The Frankenfeeder.” The photos will include the materials we used and some step by step instructions to help you make your own. Please don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter for updates on this project.
And as always, thank you so much for visiting our blog.
Gerald, Kelli and Sawyer