Last month, I lost almost an entire round bale to summer heat and a heavy down pour.
It was awful and many tears were shed. In all my years of feeding rounds, I’ve rarely ever lost much hay. Yes, I’ve been incredibly lucky. But, my horses are pigs. But the heat and humidity combined with the massive rain we had this summer were just too much for this bale to take. Moisture from the top, moisture from below. Good bye hay.
So for the first time ever, 75% of a bale molded through. Goodbye $55 worth of hay (or 75% of $55).
So, after pricing out hay feeders, searching craigslist for hay huts, trying to win the lottery so that I could buy a hay hut, realizing that there was NO WAY I was spending $800 on a hay hut, I decided we were building a hay feeder.
And then I got stung by a wasp and instead served as project manager while my husband and father-in-law built my hay feeder.
I found plans online for this feeder and made some modifications to make it work for our situation. Mostly, I did NOT want the back open to the fence line as we’ll be loading it from the paddock. So, ours is 4 sided and we have a hinge and latch on the front so we can load the hay. We were originally going to have a shingled roof (I have shingles leftover from our run-in shed), but “we” decided that the plywood was a pain to cut with the circular saw and the shingles would have taken forever so we just bought some cheap metal roofing panels.
We ended up building the pieces on our driveway and assembling the feeder down in the paddock. At the time of assembly, the paddock was super muddy. Usually by August, I can walk out there in flip flops, instead, I was wearing my muck boots if that gives you an idea as to how bad it was.
And Jiminy was around the entire time, watching. Stalker.
All in all, the project took a couple of ours and keeps our hay super dry (and fits a pallet nicely inside to keep the hay off the ground as well).
Jiminy thought we built him a house of his own (he could walk in under the top boards and spent the first night before the roof was added inside the shed hanging out. I think he was annoyed that we stuck hay inside). We are going to added an extra row of boards just to keep more hay inside since SOMEONE (Batts) is a pig, but if I start using my round bale net again, that would probably also solve some of the issue. I’ll probably just add another board about 18 inches above the bottom board.
Overall, the horses LOVE IT. It keeps the hay dry, and we’re on our 3rd bale since installation with little to no waste. We’re also getting the smaller bales which help (the $40-45 bales), but they’re cleaning up almost everything and the first bale survived some serious rain so success?
Still, we might need to build a second at some point. Then Jiminy could have his own house?
Total project cost ~$200-250?
Very clever – looks fantastic too! And you can always lay down stone dust or small sized gravel if the mud around it gets too deep, too. Not bad at all!
Hey so i fail and can’t find your email (I know I have it but…. #fail) but send me an email at fraidycat.eventing at gmail if you wanna trail ride at fair hill this Saturday!!
Looks good. I always hate seeing hay strewn all about in the mud.
great job (and great job getting stung with wasp so you could walk the work going on instead of having to do it HA.)
I fed round bales in Texas and hated the metal ones due to the manes being rubbed off….. Only Jiminy will be in danger of that with this one. And pallets are cheap to swap out if need be (i always see them for free around town) so if the mud and muck kills the pallet at the bottom just replace). Great idea….and so much nicer than wasted hay!!
And think how nice it will be in the winter too keeping the snow and ice off it a bit. You guys are brilliant(And i have seen those hay huts and think they are overrated for the cost!!
Love a plan when it comes together. And JIminy might need his own house…just saying! 🙂
Yup, this is on my game plan for fall too! I don’t mind the hay that we make on the farm getting wasted since it was “free,” but I’d prefer my nicer hay not go to waste.
What was it you mentioned about putting around the edges to decrease the muddiness? I can’t find it now in your article. It wasn’t lime
Honestly? I never quite figured anything out. I really need to get my paddock scraped out and get stone dust/screenings/gravel dumped and see if that works (unfortunately, money). We’re not using it this winter due to mud unfortunately as they’re avoiding the paddock completely.
What did you use for a roof to keep rain and snow off hay?
We used corrugated metal roofing panels. We bought them from a big box store (lowes/Home Depot) and they were relatively inexpensive.