|There are as many different kinds of hay feeders as there are goats. There is really no limit to the
imagination. Here are some of the kinds that I've used. Some I threw up because I needed a
separate hay feeder NOW. Some were thought out and built. As you will see, I like portable hay
feeders. My barn is not conducive to the various seasonal goat needs; it's nice to be able to change
things up as needed.
Just let your imagination run to come up with the best hay feeders for you and your goats. I hope that
you can get some good ideas from the variety of feeders I've used through out the years. Here are
some tips that I've learned along the way:
*They need to be strong!
*The holes need to be big enough or small enough so goats don't get their heads stuck.
*Keyhole feeders work great, but the goats can't see herd queen coming to give them a good head
butt! Keep them as open as you can and big enough for the goat to make a quick escape.
*Keep the feeders at wither height, the goats should not have to reach up to get the hay. The dust
and chaff could cause nasal and lung trouble.
*One keyhole per goat (maybe a couple extra) and a minimum of 2 feet linear space per goat. I have
one goat that can keep a 6 foot bubble around her, so variety helps in that type of situation.
|Homemade Portable Hay Feeder
This is the first hay feeder I ever built. I had no idea what I was doing and had
limited experience regarding goats and eating hay. But it actually has stood
the test of time. It is incredibly sturdy, heavy but not so heavy that I can't
move it. It is about 4 feet long and can easily handle 4 goats. I only intended
it for 2 goats, but a couple can eat off the ends too. I set it on a couple bricks
and tie the back to some posts with baler twine.
I like this one because it has a small shelf on the bottom and catches a lot of
chaff and loose hay, there is less waste than a one without a shelf, but there
is still some waste.
|Quickie Pallet Hay Feeder
I needed to get a goat in a stall by herself immediately but didn't have much time to
get things put together for her. I grabbed a couple post brackets and screwed them
into a 2x4, propped a pallet on them, and tied it to some posts. It's ugly, yep. But it
works, so I still have it there. There is a lot of wasted hay with this one (these types
of feeders will lose about a third of the hay you throw in there). I don't mind so
much. This corner is often used as a kidding pen and fresh soft hay helps keep the
area clean and the newborn kids love to lay in it. (around here hay usually costs the
same as straw)
Another easy pallet feeder: I've seen lots of people just stick a pallet in a corner and
|Hinged Cattle Panel Hay Feeder
I couldn't find anything that would work with the bucks. They can destroy just
about anything when they are in rutt (I have not used keyhole feeders with them,
I imagine they are the best). This is simply a piece of cattle panel. I had a
chunk laying around, it's the lower portion so there is no risk of a head getting
stuck. I pounded some very sturdy fencing staples on the bottom wire, but not
all the way in. I used a bit of baler twine to keep it anchored to the wall. Now if a
buck gets to head butting, this type of hay feeder just pushes up against the
wall, the fencing staples work like hinges. This, to me, is a great option until I
build an incredibly sturdy box keyhole feeder.
|Homemade Portable Hay Feeder
I put a lot of thought into this one, and it's my favorite. The legs are scissored
wide enough that they cannot knock it over. If boss lady is coming they can
quickly scoot under the feeder. Kids lay under it while their mommas are
eating. It's great. I like the shelf underneath, there is nearly zero waste with this
one. I used 4 foot sections of cattle panel, the lower part with the smaller
openings, I've never had a goat get stuck. This will feed 4 goats, six or more if
they aren't too bossy.
|One Flake Portable Hay Feeder
This hay feeder truly is portable. We've even taken it to the fair with us. It is simply a
bottom portion of a cattle panel cut just larger than a typical flake of hay. 2x4s are
nailed together to create the sides and the bottom and a piece of plywood is attached
to the back. The cattle panel is attached to the front with a bunch of sturdy fencing
staples. It's that simple! I've screwed a couple eye-bolts on the sides to hang with a
piece of baler twine. Believe it or not, there is very little waste because of the tight
|Keyhole Hay Feeder
This is the only keyhole feeder I've made. It was simply a box made out of plywood
with some triangles cut out of the front. I removed one of the 2x4s along the side of a
stall and permanently screwed it to the outside of the stall.
What I would do different: As you can see there is quite a bit of waste with this
feeder. The absolute best keyholes are the ones where the hay is lower than the
keyhole. This way the goats put their heads all the way in and down to eat. To build
it the box would be taller and the keyholes would be towards the top, and only going
about half way down.
|My "Someday" Dream Feeders
I love the idea of a goat having to put it's head through an opening to a feeder on the outside of the stall, preferably
lower than the opening so there is no waste. I've seen permanent set-ups where the stall boards ran horizontally, with
vertical boards every few feet. There would be some kind of box on the other side of the stall, lower than the opening.
The goats would all just line right up and eat to their heart's content. Because of the open design they could always
know when bossy momma was coming around. Because it's on the outside of the stall it's super easy to fill. I've seen
similar set-ups for grain feeding also. Our barn is simply a series of small stalls and additions, there is no where to put in
a set-up like that. But if we ever have to build a new barn, one big open pen with these types of hay and grain feeders
on the side will be in the plans!
|Keyhole Hay Feeder
A friend of mine asked me if I wanted an old nest box for my hens, and this
is what she gave me. I decided it was far too big for my chicken coop, and
it works perfect for a couple goats. There is a little bit less waste with this
one because the goats like to bury their heads in the hay while they eat.
Very little of it gets pulled back out. This is much closer to the design I'd
like to have someday.
|Cattle Panel Hay Feeder
This was another one of my quick-fix jobs. It's simply a bottom half of
an 8 foot cattle panel. I used fencing stables along the bottom and the
sides were stabled to the posts. Yep, this one's messy. But it works
great. Six or more does eat just fine, that is until miss boss lady comes