Goat Feeder and Hay Rack
I got tired of feeding the goats from wall mounted hay racks. There are a couple of reasons for this: 1) They require
daily refilling and 2) The goats waste alot of hay by throwing it on the ground. So I decided to build a big, free standing
hay rack. Raw materials for this project are as follows:
18 8' 2x4s (kiln dried)
3 8' 2x4s (PT)
2 12' 2x4s (PT)
3 8' 2x10s (kiln dried)
2 4x8 sheets of 7/16" OSB
2 Galvanized hinges
Big bunch of 3" galvanized screws (for the frame)
Big bunch of 1 5/8" galvanized screws (to attach the sheeting)
The basic foot print of this hay rack is four feet wide, 8 foot long, and 6 feet tall. I decided on this to both be big enough
to hold alot of hay and also to minimize cutting (because I am lazy). So first step is frame it up, working with the PT
lumber, I cut the two 12 footers in half to give me four six foot lengths and then stabilized these with the three 8 footers
(one cut in half) along the bottom. I then put a similiar arrangement of kiln dried 2x4s 18" off the ground. I used 3"
screws for all of this. Obviously the PT is to prevent rot. I used lumber preserved with copper azole, which is relatively
safe, but I didn't want to make the hole thing out of this (knowing the goats might nibble on the wood). So, most of the
"food contact" surfaces will be plain kiln dried lumber.
Next the "roof" was framed in a similar manner.
I framed in two supports for both the roof and the main "deck."
I put the first OSB sheet on the roof. Thanks to the 4x8 size... no cutting! This was secured with the 1 5/8" screws.
Here we have both the roof and the deck secured. The deck required notches on the four corners (to fit around the
supports) but otherwise very little cutting here. Also, the first 2x10 is up to act as a "lip" to hold the hay in.
Now in an effort to keep the goats from jumping in the hay rack, I cut a number of the 2x4s into 4' lengths and secured
them around the edges at about 18" on center.
Here we have the hay rack pretty much complete!
Here we have the hay rack painted a nice green. Unfortunately, we had a little "design flaw" in that the goats can easily
hop into the hay rack. This is a big problem, because they sleep, poop, and basically ruin the hay. So I had to put an
additional "railing" to try and keep them out. As you can see, just one railing didn't seem to do the trick (it is amazing
how goats can squeeze into little areas).
The "double railing" was the next innovation. This seems to keep the full sized goats out, but the kids can still get in
(and the occasional chicken lays and egg or two). However, if I make the openings any smaller, I don't know if my
horned goat (our Buck) will get his head stuck. I guess I need to live with the kids getting in. At this point, so far so
good. This holds three or four square bales of hay and I don't need to refill it as often as the wall mounted racks. Hay
waste is also much reduced.
The next project was a little simpler. Now, when I feed the goats grain.. it is really tough to do from inside the goat barn
as they will instantly mob you, stomp on your feed and basically knock you over. So, I wanted to devise a way to feed
them from through the fence. So, since the fence posts are 10' apart, it way easiest to buy four 10' sections of 2x4 and
simply screw these into the fence to allow an 18' opening. A few 2x4 cut into 2' pieces spaced about 18" on center makes
A few short pieces of 2X4, boxed in the "door" and
I simply cut out the wire and stapled it to the fram
of the door. A couple of hinges and a handle and
we were all set. Once again (as with the hay rack) I
chose to use rope as my open and closure method
and eye bolt at both the top and the bottom allows
the door to stay closed and also holds it open. The
bottom 2x4 makes a handy rack for my "Little
Giant" brand plastic feeders. These things are
pretty tough and won't crack in freezing weather (at
least not yet!).
Now as with the hay rack... the goats could jump through the openings! So once again I put a railing that keeps them in
the fence. So far so good with this contraption, and it is far easier to give the goats their daily grain ration.