I’ve mentioned before that goats may be the most difficult creatures to raise on a farm (they’re also the most fun, which totally makes up for all the hassle… mostly.) In addition to needing more fence, better shelters and having very specific dietary needs, goats are notorious hay wasters. They search through the hay to find that one strand of perfect grass, while tossing all the rest of it on the ground (again, I introduce you to the biggest lie of goat husbandry: goats eat everything. Goats eat nothing! Except, as my midwife pointed out, your expensive plants and flower bushes. That’s their favorite.) Since the goats won’t typically eat anything that has touched the floor (unless, of course, you don’t want them to,) all that hay gets wasted. At one time, we had one of those made-special-for-goats hay feeders that keep them eating (mostly) inside the manger, but as is usually the case when you do something elaborate for goats that is supposed to work, they quickly found a way to ruin it. When the baby goats came, they started climbing (and pooping) inside of it and it wasn’t long before they had it dismantled and remade into a goat playground/sleeping quarters (pinterest has nothing on my goats for re-purposing things.) Commercial hanging feeders are ridiculously expensive, so Jon and I needed to come up with a foolish-goat proof way to keep their hay off the ground and make it more difficult for them to sift through and spill it. So after long hours spent utilizing our vast knowledge of physics and advanced carpentry to build a plan (not really), this is what we came up with:
Pretty elaborate, right?
Here’s what we did: We attached woven wire fencing to the inside of their chain link pen and wrapped it around to make a “basket” where gravity will keep the hay against the woven wire and accessible to the goats. We’re very high tech here on our farm.
The woven wire is too small for the goats to stick their heads through, so they’re forced to eat mouthful’s of whatever hay is closest to the wire (eat your vegetables with your chicken, my dears!)
Here, in a temporary pen, we attached the basket to the outside of the pen, and it works the same way:
Here is Pearl, demonstrating the use of her new food dispenser:
I think they like it!
And that’s what’s working for us! For now.
Click here to see what’s working for everyone else!