Since Sunny and Stella moved to our backyard, we’ve noticed them wasting a vast amount of hay. They love to stick their noses way into the middle of the round bale, pull the hay out, and then let it drop to the ground. Then they poop on it.
After researching dozens of different types of hay feeders, including everything from slow-feed nets to Bale Buddys, my handy husband decided he would just go ahead and build one himself. I, for one, am glad he did.
Here’s how he did it:
Four six-foot long pressure treated 4X4s are beveled on each end to create skids.
At each end, and two feet on center along one skid, notches are cut to half the thickness of the 4X4 and the width of a 4X4 to receive the vertical posts.
The bottom of the vertical posts, which are not pressure treated, are notched to fit into the pressure treated 4X4 skid.
The 32″ long vertical posts are set into the skid that forms the back wall of the feeder.
Holes are drilled and 4″ galvanized carriage bolts are inserted through the skid and the post.
The nut and washer are on the inside of the feeder beneath the floor so there is no chance a horse could scratch its nose on it!
The remaining three skids are notched only on the ends, to receive the vertical posts.
1X8 rough pine boards are nailed to the posts of the back wall with 3 1/2 inch galvanized nails. We wanted the space between the boards a little narrower than you typically see on hay feeders, so there would be no chance of my accident-prone horse somehow getting a hoof through.
The floor is assembled with two full-length 1X8 boards on the sides, and eight 25″ boards on the back and the front portions of the floor. This leaves an almost two-foot wide gap in the middle of the floor for the round bale to settle into, so it centers itself in the feeder.
Up to this point, all construction was done indoors, with boards cut to measure, but not yet assembled, except for the back wall. At this point, we moved the entire project out to Sunny & Stella’s paddock. Stella was extremely interested in the construction project, to the point that we had to pause until the hay became of even more interest. Now work could resume.
Once all the pieces were assembled, the gate (which was pre-built in our basement) was attached using 8″ galvanized tee hinges. A 6″ barrel bolt secures the gate.
After watching Sunny almost poke her eye out on the corner of the post (did I mention she’s accident-prone?), we decided to bevel the posts for safety.
This would have been easier to do with a compound mitre saw in the basement before the boards were added to the posts, rather than a hand-held reciprocating saw out in the middle of the paddock, but we think they turned out just fine.
The finished product, with a (partially eaten) round bale rolled in place.
Sunny and Stella approve.