Guess what we used as a hay feeder for most of last winter?
An old blue recycling bin.
Super classy, I know. Can you tell it was our first winter with sheep?
Every morning and afternoon we would fill up the bin with fresh hay. If we weren't quick enough the sheep would baaaa at us until we delivered more hay, even if they still had hay left in the bin. They were picky. They knew if they complained we would bring them more. The girls would climb into the bin, knock it over, and spread the hay all around. So much hay was wasted. Our sweet fluffy angels turned into loud picky brats.
Luckily, they are cute and easy to forgive.
We needed to fix the hay waste problem though. We needed a better hay bin.
I started looking online for some hay feeder inspiration. I liked the idea of a metal wall-mounted hay rack but I didn't want to spend forty plus dollars on something I knew we could make ourselves. After playing around in the shop for a bit I came up with a very basic solution. With a leftover section of cattle fence and three pieces of spare wood we made a feeder that works really well.
Here's what we did:
Using three pieces of old fencing, I made a 'U' shape. The feeder can be any size you want. This one turned out about three feet wide and two feet tall.
Then I laid the fencing over the 'U' shape to get an idea of where the horizontal wires would fall. You want the fencing to be slightly wider than your base. This way the fence will bubble out from the wall and will provide space for the hay.
I drilled holes slightly larger than the diameter of the wire on the fence where each horizontal wire fell. I would then feed the wire into the hole and bend it over in the back. This fencing was stiff enough that just a bend would keep it in place. You might consider using staples in the back if it seems like your fencing could easily be pulled out. I did this for each horizontal piece all of the way down.
Once the fencing was attached on both sides, I attached the bottom of the fence to the base with heavy duty staples. We used the kind of staples that needed to be hammered in.
Make sure the hay feeder doesn't have any sharp edges that could injure your livestock. Then attach the feeder to the wall of your choice. How high you decide to mount the feeder will depend on the size of your animals.
What kind of hay feeder do you use?
P.S. This post may be linked up with the following blog hops: The Art of Homemaking Mondays, The Homestead Blog Hop, Homestead Blog Hop, Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop, From the Farm Hop, Awesome Life Friday, Simply Natural Saturdays.