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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anyone wanna help me brainstorm? We need hay feeder ideas. We fed square bales last winter, but our hay feeders were 2 containers strapped with bungee cords to a piece of goat panel attached to tposts. Needless to say the goats tore down the containers constantly and the feeders were way too tiny for that number of goats. So, we are trying to prepare for this winter. We now have a cow that we got last fall (he was in a corral with his own hay feeder last year but this winter he will be with the goats) so we have to account for him now too. He is not mean and doesn't try to attack the goats, but they don't like him and he thinks it is funny to frolic near them and then when they start running chase them a little ways. Or just walk slowly behind them and watch them trot to get out of his way. He doesn't do this constantly but yeah. So, he will need a hay feeder that the goats cannot get stuck in (because you know they will try to kill themselves any way they can), but that he can eat out of. Then the goats in his pasture (11 goats) will need their own hay feeder (we have an area enclosed with a single wire to keep the cow out). Then the pasture with 9 wethers will need a hay feeder.

So here's the thing. Round bales are wayy cheaper than square so it would be ideal if we could use them. We do not have a tractor but we can drag a bale with our pickup using a pallet contraption/straps. However we cannot lift it in the air. In the past we just laid a round bale in the pasture with the netting on but the following things happened:

The goats ate a huge hole out of the side and then the bale collapsed on a goat. Thankfully she was okay (I think the hole protected her from getting squashed and also we got it off her right after it fell).

Two goats got their horns tangled in the netting and somehow tied their heads together and couldn't move.

Goats almost killed themselves getting tied up in the netting.

They tore up the bale and wasted half of it.

Also it got rained on.

Also we didn't have a cow.

So, here is what I was thinking. Either we find a way to fork out (if that's even possible?) a round bale into the small v shaped feeders (which I guess we would use a tarp as a roof on..)

Or we find a way to feed whole round bales without picking them up.

I've seen the wrap a bale in panel methods but the thing is, could the cow eat through the goat panel? What about covering it? Think the goats would climb that? How are you going to tighten it once they eat it down?

We had the idea of making a square of goat panel using t posts, then bringing in the sides of the square as the goats ate. But then we didn't know how we would get the bale in there.

Anyone have any ideas on round bale feeding that won't kill goats and that a cow can eat from too?

Or, is it possible to break up a round bale and feed parts of it in smaller feeders?

I attached some pictures of what the pasture looks like. That big circle is where a round bale was last year.

Eye Plant Fawn Grass Terrestrial animal
Plant Tree Natural landscape Land lot Grazing
 

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It is a pain but you can pull off hay from a round bale. Cow panels have bigger holes than pig panels. I guess re-wrap the panels and overlap panels as they eat it.
 

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I feed all rounds, but have a tractor with the hay spear. I set the bale on end and unwrap it then peel the layers off with a pitchfork. I feed 150+ does this way 2x a day. But, they are fed inside and no one has access to the actual bale. (Because of the suffocation risk and wasting of the hay.)
 

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I feed all rounds, but have a tractor with the hay spear. I set the bale on end and unwrap it then peel the layers off with a pitchfork. I feed 150+ does this way 2x a day. But, they are fed inside and no one has access to the actual bale. (Because of the suffocation risk and wasting of the hay.)
How could they suffocate eating hay out of a round bale?
 

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Hoy, here we got a piece of a head scratcher! :ponder:

The goats will certainly try to get stuck, and then that cow - cute!!! :inlove: - will no doubt "play" with them, with horrible results ... :ponder:

I get as many as three (3) feeders. Those two for goats only are simple: 5 cm between vertical bars, no V-formed openings. But the one for the cow, that must keep goats out ... He is not so much bigger than they, and he is not at all as keen on jumping and climbing as they are, being a heavy grassland species, not a light, mountain climbing, one. A fence that keeps the goats out, will hinder him, too. An opening big enough for his nose will certainly allow a goat to get in trouble.

My first thought was the usual feeders for round bales, and then you add the head scratcher of not being able to lift them. This really turns out to be a CrossWord For Trolls! Is there maybe room enough to make a ramp, and roll the bale upwards with the help of the pickup? Unload the bale on top of at least two ropes or straps, fasten the lower one to the feeder, and pull the upper one with the pickup. Could that be an option? Then the bale will of course fall down into the feeder on its side, but the goats will have access to some of the hay. (Unless you get very skilled, making the bale tip over in the last moment!)

I agree, that net is a death trap, in many ways! Just imagine what it might do if eaten!

Yes, a tarp on top of something steady, like wooden boards, is a method I used for years. Tie the boards together with strings, and open to shove aside when refilling.

Hmmm.... How do we solve the problem of not letting the goats walk on the ramp to get onto the tarp?

The hay should be falling down onto the inside of the bars when the animals eat. This has never been a problem here. Sometimes I have had to climb into the feeder with a hay fork to adjust it. Commercial round bale feeders even have a cone in the middle, to avoid the hay/silage from staying in the middle. If the feeder is high enough, the goats will not be able to jump upon the tarp, and this should be arranged in a slope, so that both snow and occasional goats do slide off. If possible, calculate with some space outside the feeder, were at least smaller animals can feed under a tarp roof, out of the heaviest rain.

I say, this riddle would be much easier to solve with a hay spear and without that cuuute cow! :bighug:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for the replies everyone!

@Goats Rock are you able to unpeel the entire bale with a pitchfork? So far I have not been able to think of a feasible way to feed the entire bale.
Does anyone have experience with using a fork to chip off parts of a round bale and feed it in smaller feeders? Is there a certain way to do it where it is not like trying to mine for gold? Or does it depend on the bale how easy it is to remove flakes of hay?
 

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My only experience says LOOOOTS of work! Especially if the hay-silage is frozen ... :p In my opinion, much better to let the goats do this work; they need some therapy anyway! ;)

But, of course, if this is the only possibility ... What one must do, one must do!

And I was hoping for a nice new construction, for us all to learn from! :p

(That cow, what breed?)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Anyone have any square bale feeder (for outdoors) ideas?

We were planning on making this:



With plywood on the ends and plywood under the rack. And strap the legs to tposts to secure it.

The problem is a cover. I was thinking a tarp with bungee cords, but they would probably chew that up....

Anyone who wants to put on their "how can they get hurt on this" thinking cap feel free lol
 

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For square bales, I would prefer a 90° angle at the bottom.

As for my "how can they get hurt on this" thinking cap, I would definitely replace the net squares with vertical bars, roughly 5 cm apart. (Measure on your goats to find the best space. A nose shall go in nicely, but a newborn's head not.)

And of course I wonder how to get the strings out, once the weight of a big bale is on top of them...
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I should have clarified, the feeder plan is for the small square bales, that you can easily take apart to fill the feeder.
 

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We have the same quandary with the round bales ... sans the above near-death events as we considered the netting a Total Death Trap at first sight and took it off even for cows.

Gosh your experience quite justifies my effort! I think everyone that's got capricious friends has had entanglements of some nature or other but that's a nasty string of events.

I've had some success with round bales and sharp long knives and slicing across the grain every 18" or so around the edge. Of course both a good knife-sharpening relative and a lot of elbow grease is required and I only ever got one good full-width biscuit off in a single session.

Remove as biscuits, proceed as for square bales with your feeder.

Replace your square mesh panels (Think, "If I'm a goat, can I break a leg in this?" Then add some bossy older goat who wants your food.)

Convenient "Grill size" ... old Oven Racks! The size varies, some are not wide enough gaps. Ideally you get wires 1.5" or so apart, long slots the size of an oven, they seem ideal for your feeder design above (you'll probably need at least 2 per side).

I don't know what direct recycling options are available to you in the US or wherever you are but in NZ we generally browse the local rubbish collection bins and ask the guard to keep an eye out for some in old ovens.

If they're not the right grill size for you, make some garden cloches, or use them as smoker hanging shelves ...
 

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We do currently use the square bales by strong preference for handling ... fortunately we found a grower/harvester with decent quality mixed pasture square bales and one of the lower market prices just 8km down the road
 

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Back when I was using round bales, we’d set it up on end on top of a pallet. Then I’d take 40” cattle panel sections and clip them together around the bale. As they start eating it down I shove some of the hay around, and remove a panel. Continue doing this until the bale is gone (with 7-10 days). If it is rainy I tarp it.

I built some fantastic feeders using the 4x4 panels and it has been wonderful. Similar build to the feeder pictured. I’ll post pics when I’m able.
 
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