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?