Our first goats, Sparkles and Gravely, just turned 6 months old. We are new to this whole goat thing so it really surprised us just how much they could eat! We were first surprised by how much milk a baby goat could drink. We bottle fed them and they follow us around like puppies! Then we were surprised by how quickly two little dwarf nanny goats could eat ALL the grass in their fence. We used an entire 330 ft roll of fence so I thought that was a pretty large area for two little girls to eat. Our purpose for buying the goats was to help keep the grass cut at our farmhouse so when they ran out of grass in the fence we put them in a kennel in whatever area of grass that needed to be “cut.” They do an excellent job! It looks just like we cut it with the lawn mower when they are finished! BUT It only takes a day for them to clear out a 10 by 20 area. We have had some pretty cold days this winter so getting up every morning and moving a dog kennel by myself got old very quickly! I would go out, move the kennel, carry the goats across the yard to the kennel and Keith would put them back in their fence at night. I’m sure this would have been a sight to see. It lasted until early January and they had eaten all the grass in our backyard.
Alas, Keith saw the farmer next door putting bales of hay in his barn and we bit the bullet and had him deliver a round bale.
Turns out, the goats who eat everything will not eat hay off of the ground! We also needed something to keep the hay dry and hold enough to last a few days. The previous owner of our house left a bunch of large trash cans. I chose one that had a lid that would snap on. It also has handles that came in handy for hanging the feeder on a fence post. If I couldn’t hang it up, our girls WOULD knock it over.
First, I cleaned out the inside really good. Then, I used a razor blade to cut a hole on each side just large enough for the girls to stick their head in. I filled it with hay and hung it on the fence. They started eating right away!
There was a problem though. As they ate, the hay didn’t continue to fall down into the bottom of the feeder. It was too fluffy and needed some weight on top of it to help it move down. I found a disk out by the barn that was heavy and fit perfectly inside the feeder.
It weighs enough and pushes the hay down for the girls to continue to eat until the feeder is empty. When I look into the hole and see the disk, I know its time to refill!
If you don’t have an old disk laying around, anything heavy will do. I just happened to find this one. I also happened to have the trash can. You could probably use any kind of large storage container or tote as well. If you find something else that works, I’d love to hear about it!