How do you keep your goats from WASTING so much HAY? : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Is there some way to build a waste-proof hay trough? Please post your tried and true methods here.

-- gita (, December 29, 2001


This was many years ago, but worked pretty good! My dad cut the top and bottom out of a 20-30 gallon barrel. made a tire/w plywood bottom connected by 4 chains. Hung it from the rafter high enough so the goats could still get at the hay, but it was harder to yank out. On the other hand sometimes having hay on the barn stall floor isn't so bad in winter if your raising a bred doe. My brain is a little froggy on this, but it's best if there's one high dry spot I believe so they have a place to rest that is dry.

-- Katie (, December 29, 2001.

try placing the hay in a old shopping cart with a lid on top then they only get what they root out thru the grill

-- paul (, December 29, 2001.

You asked for tried and true and I haven't tried this, but from what I've read you need keyhole feeders (which don't work with horned goats). Somewhere I've seen pictures on the internet; don't know where right now, but the openings need to be such that the goat has to step up to put its head through the circular opening, then must lower the head and its neck goes in a narrow slot. The goat grabs a mouthful of hay and can't step back and drop half of it on the ground unless it first lifts its head completely out of the slot, pulls it out of the round opening, and steps back down onto the ground. Not a very good description and if you already knew what a keyhole feeder was, I'm sorry! I dream of building one of these for my goats. In fact, I'm going to see if I can find my bookmarked picture somewhere!


-- Elizabeth in E TX (, December 29, 2001.

I did a search on keyhole feeders and Google sent me...back to the Countryside Forum!! There's a thread called "Goat Stall Maintenance" under the heading "Goats(General)." One of the posters describes a waste free hay feeder that she says works better than the keyhole type. Hope this helps.

-- Elizabeth in E TX (, December 29, 2001.

I made keyhole feeders for my goats with the feeder low about 6" off the floor. I used 2x12's, nice and solid. They still pull some hay out but like Elizabeth said, it saves on alot.

-- Dee (, December 30, 2001.

I just read the entire thread I mentioned above and in it Vicki describes a "coffin feeder" that sounds easier to build than the keyhole one I had in mind. And it's covered. Plus, if Vicki's doing it, it's gotta be good:)

-- Elizabeth in E TX (, December 30, 2001.

Rather than send you around the world, I'll tell you about the hayfeeder I have.

It's a topless box the size of a bale of hay with extensions at the corners to support a lid that's hinged on one side. I put the whole bale or portion as needed into the box and leave the strings on to keep the bale compacted and reduce waste. To keep the goats from pulling hay off the top and out, I have a grate the size of the interior of the box made with a framework of 2 x 4's with 2 lengths of rebar across each dimension to form smaller rectangles, 9 all told, that sits down on top of the bale. The goats reach under the lid, through the rectangles, and get one mouthful of hay at a time. You wouldn't believe how little waste there is. To see a commercial stainless steel version of my feeder, check out

I don't like the keyhole feeders because kids can still climb inside and soil hay and adults can pull a lot out. A goat with its head in a keyhole is a sitting duck to an agressive goat--the goat can neither see nor escape the attacking goat. I had a friend lose a goat with a broken neck when this happened. With the system I'm using now, only the eater's muzzle is in the feeder, not her entire head.

-- marilyn (, December 30, 2001.

Never ever leave the strings or wires on bales of hay. I did this once when I first started out. A doeling of mine got her head in the feeder to eat the hay, when she pulled her head out the string was around her head, she struggled to get herself out of the sting, which then twisted around her throat. I came out to see her strangled and bloated, dead from a stupid string on the hay bale. It would have eaisly busted had she not paniced so. This and goats chewing on electric wires, goats loosing their infants by kidding in stall with water buckets, and barbed wire on the top of 4 foot fences, that goats can eaisly jump, hang a foot and...........and horns! Are all things better left to listen to and not to have to learn on your own! Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh TX (, December 30, 2001.

I have a 16 foot long hog panel attached to a wall in the goat barn with fence staples along the bottom. The top of the hog panel is attached to the wall by ropes and carabiners and stands out from the wall about a foot. The whole thing is about 2 feet off the ground. The goats waste very little, and the fence staples along the bottom act as hinges which allow me to unhook the panel from the top and lay it open to clean out the real stemmy stuff which is used for their bedding. I fill the feeder by dropping leaves of hay over the wall into the top of the panel. It can be adjusted to hold more hay by lengethening the ropes at the top of the panel. The whole thing cost less than $15 dollars.

Re: keeping string and wires on bales, I almost lost a goat who got a wire wrapped around her head and neck when she stuck her head through a hole in the hay shed and ate at a bale in there.Her head was stuck inside the hole and wrapped up with the bale. Please be very, very careful.

-- Julie (, December 30, 2001.


You don't mention if you get Countryside magazine or not. We built a modified version of the goat feeder in (I think Nov/Dec 2000) issue. It uses the parallel plastic pipe. We built a big box that sits about 2 feet off the ground on legs. The long sides of the rectangle have the parallel plastic pipe and the ends are just borded over. It sits out in the open in our goat shed and the goats have access from either side. It has spaces for 16 goats to eat at a time. We had to build the sides above the pipe quite high to keep some wiley goats out but it still isn't hard to get the bales of hay in. It will hold up to 4 bales at a time. We have found the waste to be resonable and a great improvement over our previous methods. We do have to clean out the stems and little bits, but it is not too bad and we just dump it on the floor for bedding and then clean the bedding out to the compost pile. We also feed grain in the same feeder. It gets dumped on top of the hay and they have to go hunting for some of it but it keeps them busy! All our goats are hornless, don't know how well it would work for goats with horns. All the best! Darlene

-- Darlene in W Wa (, December 30, 2001.

Thanks Vicki. When I read your post I went into the kitchen got some scissors, went to the goat barn and cut the ropes off the new bail of hay I had just given them. I couldn't get the rope off so decided to leave it and let them eat some of the hay first. Glad you warned us about getting their heads caught. Thanks again!

-- george (, December 31, 2001.

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