The New Hay Feeder

Hay Feeder http://wildflowerfarm.org

The chickens are pretty well set for the winter, we have been working to get the heat to humidity ratio figured out for the coop, but otherwise the girls are doing well. Egg production has slowly been picking up. The cows on the other hand have still needed a little work. By most standards they are ready for winter, but of course I feel they need that extra little bit. This keeps my husband and dad busy, not that they don’t have plenty of their own stuff to work on.

The milking station that I mentioned previously should be the simplest task and the last for the season.

A few Sunday’s ago, the project was building a hay feeder for in the barn. I found some plans here: http://uglydogsfarm.blogspot.com/2011/01/sheep-feeder-design.html and gave them to my husband. He’s so handy. He made a materials list and went to town. They made a couple adjustments to the plans height and some board spacing. It turned out really well.

In my own defense, I will say, I didn’t just hand him the plans and say “Get to work”, while I sat in the house and drank coffee. While they were busy building, I was busy in the barn. I cleaned out all the hay that the ladies had been using for bedding, which was more than I realized. I knew they were wasting hay, but my goodness. Ugh. I clean the barn every morning as it is, but this was a “Mom is coming to visit” kind of clean. I didn’t get water hauled before church, so I got that done as well. Then I was off to the chicken coop. That needed it’s weekly cleaning, remove the old shavings, put in the new, clean the laying boxes, clean the waterer really well, and so on.

Once the new feeder was in place and filled with that day’s hay, I put down fresh straw for bedding. It looked so nice! Two mornings later, I went out to do morning chores and the feeder was tipped over. Twice this happened. That lovely feeder is heavy to tip up and move back into place by yourself.

We figured out that the vertical boards are spaced just far enough apart to allow the cows to put their whole head through. This would be fine, but it they get startled their horns keep them stuck in there. I assume this is what has tipped the feeder.

With a little adjusting of the boards, they are now able to eat without getting their horns caught and everyone is happy.  I also ratchet strapped it to the fence, just in case.

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