Ideas for a Feeder to hold hay for pasture horse..... under $100 ?
I am looking to make/buy something for my mare to eat her hay out of for the winter. She is in a pasture (with a shelter of course) and i need to keep the hay off the ground and also allow the feeder to drain so it doesn't get all gunky from rain.
Small hole hay nets are pretty cheap and some hold up to a whole small sq bale.. Buy an 8 ft 4x4 and sink it in the ground 3 ft. Rig it with a heavy eyebolt at the top and a rope/snap to aid pulling the filled bag up.
I feed mine out of 50 gallon water troughs, they cost about 40 bucks. My gelding eats his hay nicely out of the trough, my mare likes to throw everything around and out of it Of course, he WON'T eat hay off the ground, and she eats everything!
The nice thing about them is that you can move them around in the field so you don't end up with one yucky muddy spot where they eat. And it helps save hay, even if you end up putting hay back in each day because less of it gets squished into the ground/pooped on...and they are lightweight enough that I can carry them to the hay to fill up if I want.
Old tractor tires are FREE. You can pick them up at your local John Deere or other tractor place, put them on the ground . . . instant hay feeder. I cut one sidewall off mine to make it more "floppy" and less likely for a horse to get body parts stuck in one, a nod to the 2-3 internet horror stories that float around about foals getting stuck in them. My Shetland stands in the middle of the biggest one picking up stray particles.
If you didn't want the hay on the ground (I actually prefer to feed off the ground) you can bolt the tire to a cheap rubber mat.
I do have to keep them tied to posts or my big Irish mare picks them up in her teeth and flings them around (they weigh 100 pounds, too) looking for a bit of hay that might be hiding underneath.
Mine are six years old, cost me NOTHING, and are completely trouble-free and perfect. The only thing they won't stand up to as they are is a dedicated hay-flinger. If I had one of those I would probably bolt two tires together.
We keep our hay feeders in the run in shed so we don't have to worry about the rain and drainage, and set them right on the ground. What I did was very cheap, but has been working great for years. We have foals as well as our "regular" horses all in the herd, so I wanted nothing the foals could (easily) put their feet under, or their necks through. I went to Lowes, got a sheet of plywood cut into 4 (so each piece is 4'x2'), got a 2x4 cut into 2' lengths, 16 screw eyes, 8 heavy duty carabiner clips (although double ended snaps would be OK probably). A 2x4 piece got nailed/screwed to each 2' side of the plywood pieces. A screw eye screwed into the top and bottom of each 2x4 piece, then a carabiner clip connected the screw eyes to form a box. That works great for round bales since you can add additional sides if you have big round bales, or take away sides for small ones. Before we started feeding round bales, I did the same thing, but without the screw eyes and clips--just screwed/nailed the plywood to a single 2x4 piece at each corner into a 4'x4' box. That could fit up to 4 regular sized little square bales pretty easily. You still get a little bit of hay wastage, but it works well for us.
Edited since you posted whileI was typing I would think you could add some kind of bottom to the fixed corner box feeder I described above and then nail it to 4x4s to keepit off the ground but let it drain well. Maybe nail woods slats to the 4x4s then set the box on top to contain the hay. Might have to use screw eyes and carabiners to hook the box to the 4x4s so it doesn't shift around.
Last edited by Chestnut Run; Nov. 8, 2012 at 05:16 PM.
Reason: OP posted additional info while I was typing
I took an empty 55 gallon (plastic) drum and cut it in half lengthwise. Then I turned the round sides together and ran bolts through to hold it together. (I put a metal strip along the middle where the bolts are for strength.) I drilled drainage holes in the upper portion. I put it over a couple of cinder blocks to keep it from moving too much... and instant hay feeder for the pasture. The lower portion covers the cinder blocks for safety. The upper portion is easy to fill as it is all open, drains well and is light enough to move where ever you want it.
ETA: cost of drum $10at my feed store, nuts and bolts(stainless) so maybe $15 total cost.
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