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I'm not sure this is the right section for this post, but I've had my all time worst ever goat experience and want to pass along a warning so nobody else repeats it.

We've had a Billy Goat Gruff hay feeder from Tractor Supply for several years and been perfectly happy with it. It consists of a heavy plastic bunk on a metal frame like this: http://www.tractorsupply.com/livestock/ ... nk-2170306

with this rack mounted over it to hold the hay: http://www.tractorsupply.com/livestock/ ... ft-2173304

Recently we rearranged things and moved the feeder to a location where it gets full sun for much of the day. And we've had broiling high temperatures lately. And several of our younger goats got in the habit of climbing into the bunk below the hay rack. And it turns out that is a deadly combination.

The edge of the plastic bunk wraps around the metal frame but is only fastened by screws at the short ends and a single screw at the center of the long sides. Apparently when the plastic is relatively soft from the heat, and there are goats in the feeder and activity going on around it, the bunk flexes and gaps open along the long edges of the bunk where the plastic wraps around the frame.

One of my bucklings apparently got a leg caught in a gap. I can't imagine what he went through trying to free himself. The edge of the plastic where it wraps over the frame is sharp.

I came home after a long day, heard a goat sobbing in distress and headed outside to find a nightmare. He was trying to drag himself toward me on three legs. He had torn his hind leg off at the knee, along with a huge flap of skin and muscle from his hip to his belly. His femur was completely bare. I don't know why he hadn't bled to death when the femoral artery had torn.

There was nothing I could do but shoot him.

While I was dealing with the buckling our shepherd puppy helpfully found the rest of the leg under the feeder. Not nice.

I took a drill and added four more screws to hold the bunk in place on the frame to prevent a repeat. I'm also thinking of putting a piece of hardware cloth or fence panel across the bunk to keep the kids from nesting in it.

If you've got a similar feeder, please go make sure it won't flex and open a gap.
 
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