Keyhole Hay Feeder

Discussion in 'Barnyard Bananza' started by PACE, Jun 4, 2009.

  1. PACE

    PACE New Member

    404
    Oct 8, 2007
    Mass
    My dad and I built this hay feeder for the goats (we started in November, but only just got it outside, due to a number of reasons... mostly we were just too busy to work on it!) I do not have very specific instructions, as we mostly winged it and changed things as needed while we went along. Hopefully the pictures will speak for themselves and give everyone an idea of how it's made. My aim was to have a sturdy, simple, easy-to-use feeder that would be efficient and reduce wasted hay, while saving space (as I have a small pen). I wanted something that could be loaded from outside the fence and would hold a full bale of hay and keep it dry and clean.

    First we went to Home Depot and bought our supplies: Lots of wood (2x4's, sheets of plywood, pressure treated wood for the legs, etc.)

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    Then we arranged all the tools (skill saw, electric screwdriver/drill, chainsaw) as well as the screws, extension cords, hammer, ruler, tape measure, level, and carpenter's pencil

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    Making the first cut

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    The back frame (with model Ruby Lee)

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    The front and back frame

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    We then cut the bottom out and screwed everything together

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    After that we added the support beams in the top, which will hold up the roof

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    Next we measured and cut out the roof and attached it to the top

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    Then we measured and cut one side wall, then the other

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    Then we attached it

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    You can see an inside view here, with the frame on the inside making it sturdy

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    More coming...
     
  2. PACE

    PACE New Member

    404
    Oct 8, 2007
    Mass
    Once the roof and sides were firmly in place we reinforced the floor

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    Then we cut out a bottom from the plywood, and attached it

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    After that we moved on to the back door (the lens on my camera is super-wide, and sometimes distorts the edges of the image... Ruby is certainly not that fat lol)

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    We then measured and secured a frame on the inside of the door, so it will lock in with the feeder and make a pretty good seal

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    We then added hinges and attached the door

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    My dad insisted on adding one more board under the roof for extra strength

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    More coming...
     

  3. PACE

    PACE New Member

    404
    Oct 8, 2007
    Mass
    Once the walls, floor, roof, and back door were attached, we only needed the most important part: the front, which contains the keyholes. I measured each goat's head and we came up with the correct size hole that will fit all of them. Then we made a cardboard stencil which we traced onto the plywood

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    After that we drilled holes in the corners so the skill saw could be used to cut out the keyholes

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    And finally, the front was done

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    Next we screwed the front on to the rest of the feeder, and it was just about finished!

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    The last thing we did before I painted it was to add little blocks so the latches were level with the door (but we didn't attach the latches until after the painting was done)

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  4. PACE

    PACE New Member

    404
    Oct 8, 2007
    Mass
    Finally we got it painted and since it's so heavy, we used the tractor to get it into the field.

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    Positioning it

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    We put in another post so there is one directly on either side of it to make it very secure. We hammered in a few staples into the face of it as well, as an extra precaution. However, it is so solid there is almost no chance of it being pushed aside or falling over. We cut away the fence around the keyholes and were very careful to make sure there are no sharp edges where they can cut themselves. The door is on the back, making it possible to load in a bale of hay (which fits in like a glove) and then cut the baling twine and pull that out. No mess!

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    We also put in a little (though very heavy!) stepping stone so Pace with his little legs can reach far back into the feeder

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    Melino, however, has no trouble reaching!

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    Far away shot

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    So there it is, the hay feeder that took months to build! So far I am very happy with it, but I'll post any problems I have, to let people know issues that might arise if they decide to build something similar.

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  5. bheila

    bheila New Member

    644
    Jan 9, 2009
    Kent, Wa
    Very nice :thumb: I wanted to build one like that but I knew my goats would beat the heck out of each other when their heads were in the feeder and especially since my goats have horns.
     
  6. greatcashmeres

    greatcashmeres New Member

    Jul 13, 2008
    Maine
    Very sharp feeder and super sharp painted. Thanks for detailed pics, very helpful. :thumb:
     
  7. toth boer goats

    toth boer goats Moderator

    Jul 20, 2008
    corning california
    Oh I like that...... :thumbup: .....what a beautiful job...........you should be very proud.......I see your cute little dog ...was helping to size up the holes....LOL :wink: :greengrin:
     
  8. Thanatos

    Thanatos New Member

    937
    Mar 16, 2009
    Lake Ariel, Pa
    I like it. I think I shall build one similar to it after we get setteled in Pa.
     
  9. sweetgoats

    sweetgoats Moderator

    Oct 18, 2007
    Peyton CO.
    That is great. I sure wish I could use a keyhole feeder. Mina all have horns, so it is a no go.

    It looks GREAT. Tell you dad he did a great job. :thumbup: :hi5:
     
  10. liz

    liz New Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Shelocta PA
    GREAT JOB!

    It looks to serve it's purpose well....and yes please post if any thing comes up with it's use, I too have horned goaties so the keyhole concept is a no-go but yours makes me jealous! I'm sure that Pace and Melino are very appreciative to all you and your dad's hard work, great paint job too.
     
  11. PACE

    PACE New Member

    404
    Oct 8, 2007
    Mass
    Thanks everyone :) I know that keyhole feeders are not right for everyone, but with my two guys, it works great. I am lucky because even though Pace and Melino play fight a lot (boys will be boys lol) they are very gentle with each other and there is just about no competition for food, water, etc. If anything, Pace is the one in charge and usually starts head-butting matches. He only comes up to Melino's chest so can ram him with all his might and hardly be noticed. Melino knows Pace is more fragile and is very gentle with him. I can tell when he butts him, he holds himself carefully and just gives a little push instead of hitting against him, which could do a lot of damage, I'm sure.

    The feeder does nicely fit one bale of hay, so I can slide an entire bale in, then cut the baling twine after it's inside the feeder so there is no mess while loading. When the goats eat they pull a small amount out, but they have been working on the same bale for four days with a fair amount to go (I used to go through one bale every two days when using wire feeders... there was so much waste!)

    Also, it rained a bit today and the hay is still dry! :cool:
     
  12. liz

    liz New Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Shelocta PA
    Thats great that you now know it is water proof!
    And I know what a big lug Melino is....a gentle giant for sure and a great guy to know that Pace is just a little fellow :love:
     
  13. Hey Pace,

    So many familiar peps here. :cool:

    I love what you have done. It won't be tomorrow but I wouldn't mind trying something like this myself. Genius!
     
  14. RowdyKidz

    RowdyKidz Senior Member

    Apr 2, 2009
    NW Ohio
    That is really cool!! :thumb:

    Nice job!!! :greengrin:
     
  15. toth boer goats

    toth boer goats Moderator

    Jul 20, 2008
    corning california
    your welcome.... :) .....great job.....and definitely had to make you feel good .....that it stayed dry from the rain.......... :wink: :greengrin:
     
  16. Cinder

    Cinder New Member

    736
    Mar 2, 2008
    You and your dad did an excellent job... congrats on a beautiful and functional feeder! :)

    I'm still trying to figure out a good feeding system that won't waste so much hay. I can't use a keyhole because my girls get 'vicious' with each other at the feeders sometimes.

    I do think it's sad that you are feeding little dogs to your goats.... :ROFL: