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Old 10/26/07, 06:22 AM
stranger than fiction
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Eastern Ontario, Canada
Posts: 3,068
Cutting back on hay waste, tips needed!

Can everyone please give me some tips on how to stop so much wastage of hay? Right now, I just throw flakes from a square bale on the ground (obviously NOT an ideal situation), and naturally the goats eat a small portion of it, and then climb on the rest, peeing and pooping the whole way.

Not sure if there is something "goat proof" that I can use. I've been trying to think of something to build, similar to a hay rack, that would not catch up on anyone's legs or horns (most of my goats are hornless though) and is situated in a way that they could not climb on it. I wasn't sure if some sort of hay net would be very safe, although I could put it up fairly high, but then that would lead to an issue of them having to eat with their nose up, and could lead to them breathing in hay particles...also not good.

So.......what do you do, and if you have pics of your "contraptions", please feel free to share!

"The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese in the trap."
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Old 10/26/07, 07:44 AM
nehimama's Avatar
An Ozark Engineer
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Powhatan, AR
Posts: 9,752
First off, Personal Opinion; NO hay bags. Had a terrible accident with one of those years back, and will never use them again. Just my opinion!

I am currently using three hay rack/feed bunk combinations. (Used for miniature donkeys when DH and I raised them.) I lined the insides of the hay racks with cut-down portions of stock panels. The openings are 4"x4". I also cover the top of the hay rack with a section of 4"x4" to keep the goats from jumping in on top of the hay.

There is still wastage, but much less than before.

I know there are lots of brilliant ideas out there, and surely someone else will chime in with some helpful suggestions for you.

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Old 10/26/07, 07:45 AM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 5,939
LOL - I have jsut sorted this out with my girls.

What I have done (probably won't work for everyone) is to rig a sort of crib against the outside of their pen. They can either stand up and eat straight out of the top. Or they can eat through the bars of their pen lower down.

Hopefully most of what they drop on the floor should land outside their stall and can either be put back in the crib, or given to the pony who isn't quite so fussy

Just one idea to add to the mix


Edited to add - that is just for the two girls in one pen. I don't know how it would work out for more gots in together

Last edited by hoggie; 10/26/07 at 07:48 AM.
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Old 10/26/07, 09:10 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: NY
Posts: 3,830
I built a hay rack out of hog panels. Two of them 16 feet long held together at the bottom so the angle outward. I mounted this on awooden fram and set it on legs. It has a board across the bottom to catch the stuff that falls through. Wish i had a camera.
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Old 10/26/07, 09:41 AM
southerngurl's Avatar
le person
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 6,244
Here is a picture of mine, I just happened to have one uploaded already.

Cutting back on hay waste, tips needed! - Goats

I just used 2x4 welded wire. The smaller holes really help hold the hay in and provide minimal wasting, and they are just big enough for the goats to get their mouths in there to eat it. I would like to have a trough under it to catch what does fall, to give to my horses.

There's some kind of ugly "hay" towards the end of the feeder, I actual have good hay. I think that may have been some left over fescue from last year. And the tarp, it's getting torn down and I'm putting going to put wood across there (where is the embarrassed smiley?).
The 7th Day is still God's Sabbath
Layton Hollow ADGA Nubians
Have a few reservations left for 2016!

Last edited by southerngurl; 10/26/07 at 09:46 AM.
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Old 10/26/07, 11:01 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 1,107
We use the hog panels for their pens. On the outside we use 2 pallets and form a "V" and attach it to the panels. The hay goes into the "V" and the goats sick their heads through the fence and eat. They eat it all with no waste.
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Old 10/26/07, 12:25 PM
Feral Nature's Avatar
why hide it?
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Lexington, Texas near Austin
Posts: 1,586
I still throw flakes of coastal bermuda hay on the ground but not in their sheds where they sleep. Ithrow it in small small quantities in a pile for each goat twice a day, yes work, but that way they eat it all up each feeding as I am very worried about waste because of the huge hay shortage last year here. This year we have a barn full of hay but i am scarred for life after not having hay last year. I make sure the goats do not have more than they can eat at one time so they do not have enough to pee and poop on before it is gone. Now and then, I rake what they do leave up and dispose of it in the garden. The does don't leave much but the doelings do as I feed the doelings more.
Diane Rhodes
Feral Nature Farm
Rhodes Wildlife Habitat
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Old 10/26/07, 12:50 PM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Alaska
Posts: 3,606
One thing to consider - something I learned with horses (because they tend to self-destruct even in a padded room) - any hay racks should NOT have tapered sections such that if they were to rear up and get a leg in, it wouldn't sandwich down on them as they came down with gravity, squeezing the leg. I've never seen such an accident but have heard horror stories AND I know of at least 2 horses locally that recently did something similar with corral panels of all things. *sigh*

I haven't yet found my goats to be quite so suicidal. <knock wood>
Heather Fair
Fair Skies Nigerian Dwarf dairy goats
All I Saw Farm
Wasilla, Alaska
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Old 10/27/07, 05:49 AM
stranger than fiction
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Eastern Ontario, Canada
Posts: 3,068
Guys, sounds good, but I'm having a really hard time picturing some of the contraptions you've made. I have no idea what a hog panel looks like, for example. Does anyone know where I can get some pics of these things?

I had particularly been thinking of something that the goats can't get into or climb onto, but that they can just stick a nose into to eat the hay, or that the hay pokes out of. Something that I don't have to actually go into the pen would be good, where I can just chuck it over the fence into the holder. Otherwise, I have to try to balance hay in one hand and open the gate and hold the goats back with the other. Not an easy task, particularly when you have carpal tunnel in the wrists.

Thanks for all the tips!

"The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese in the trap."
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Old 10/27/07, 08:07 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 1,528
If you google hay feeder plans you'll find a couple of good site with plans - one of them is Canadian too. Lots of good ideas out there but you have to do a little googling for it and then build it of course! We have the very typical cattle panel set up too but I am very frugal with how much hay goes in there and mid -day often clean it out saving the remaining hay for the less fussy crew - like llamas. Even when I fed round bales, I always cleaned up around the bale a couple times the day recycling it to the others. As to what are hog and cattle panels; do some calling around to local farm supply stores - no doubt they'll have an equivalent that you can then look at. Oh, and check out Premier's site for a nice hay/pellet feeder plan too.
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Old 10/27/07, 10:32 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Maryland
Posts: 1,259
I like this design:
Click on the extra pictures to see how to reconfigure it as they eat the hay down.

We're going to try something like this with just regular cattle panels. We'll also rig something to cover the top. But I really like the idea of reconfiguring it (basically to two triangles) after they've eaten the hay down some. It seems like it will cut way down on waste.
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Old 10/27/07, 11:32 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 3,192
I built a covered feeder (roof and sides) out of pallets and tin. In the center is a "V" made from a cattle (type) panel with 2x6 openings. I also built one with 4x4 openings. This way they reach overhead and only pull down a mouthful at aq time. The young ones step up on the pallet and get it that way. Nobody can get their head caught and what little waste there is sits over winter and gets scooped up in the spring to be spread on the garden.
To fill the feeder, I flip up a hinged piece of tin on the top and toss in the bale flakes.
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Old 10/27/07, 12:26 PM
pookshollow's Avatar
Pook's Hollow
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 4,570
I have no idea what a hog panel looks like, for example.
I don't think we have such a thing in Canada - I've never seen them.

Somebody a while ago posted their idea of using cheap garbage pails with lids - cutting holes in them and hanging them. That might work with your little goats.

I don't feed my guys outside and I have various "racks" in the stalls. What I have in one, that might work for you - there are vertical metal bars (like a horse stall) on one stall, and on the outside I have put a piece of orange plastic safety/snow fence. I tuck the hay in between the two. The goats can reach through the bars for the hay. The bars are about 4" apart so no risk of getting legs caught, and they can't get their heads through.

The bucks have a cut-down plastic barrel in their pen - they don't seem to make too much mess with that. Another pen has a "semi" keyhole rack that I built, and the last pen has double walls with the inside wall about 6" from the outside and made of 2x4s - I just stuff hay down between the two and they eat from the top and through the gaps.

Half Caper Farm - breeding Saanens, Boers and Nigerian Dwarfs
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Old 10/27/07, 12:33 PM
Caprice Acres's Avatar
AKA "mygoat"
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: MI
Posts: 12,297
Like this?:

Cutting back on hay waste, tips needed! - Goats

I have these two hayfeeders, 3" long. I do have 3 horned mini goats, and only the young ones can get their heads through on the ends... the horned adults can't get their heads in there. The sides are just wide enough that the hay is easy to get to. I'm constantly surprised at the very TINY amount of waste, as compared to when I used to just throw it on the ground for them. All that hay on the ground is from when I used to throw it on the ground for them.

To keep them out of the feeders, I just took two peices of thicker plywood and put them up top, with spare tires to keep the 'lids' on. I was going to put the tops on hinges, but I don't like that idea anymore because I like being able to completely slide off the top. IN high winds, the hinged tops would fly open and possibly be damaged/hurt a goat. I like this way, better.

We got the main plans offline, though we just kinda built it how we wanted.

Also, NO HAY NETS. I had a doe hang herself in one last fall, and another doe barely escaped the same fate... They are NOT safe unless they are closely supervised.

Dona Barski

"Breed the best, eat the rest"

Caprice Acres

Small herd of French and American Alpines. CAE, Johnes neg yearly. CL abscess free herd. ADGA plus herd (LA, DHIR, DNA)
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Old 10/28/07, 05:39 AM
stranger than fiction
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Eastern Ontario, Canada
Posts: 3,068
mygoat, thanks for the picture! I wonder if I could build that? LOL Dh could but is very busy, so the odds of seeing him do one of those soon is slim. It is similar to what I was hoping for, something perhaps triangular that would allow hay to fall downward as it's eaten. Perhaps if you put a hinged top on it and then a little snap hook? That would keep the lid down. I think I would like that myself, then it would keep the rain off a bit. I didn't want to leave the hay unprotected if I could help it.

Thanks for all the helpful advice, everyone! I will obviously have to do some searches for these hay feeder doohickeys!

"The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese in the trap."
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Old 10/28/07, 09:07 AM
topside1's Avatar
Retired Coastie
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Monterey, Tennessee
Posts: 4,819
Dixy, here is another photo. This type of hay rack costs about 5 dollars to make. Have have them in my kidding stalls. Hope it helps.

Cutting back on hay waste, tips needed! - Goats
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