Goat hay feeders are important, because despite what you might have heard about goats, they do not eat everything they see. Actually, they're downright picky when it comes to their food.
That includes hay that lands on the ground, and especially hay that gets trampled on. Usually, goats won't touch it. Which is really a good thing. You wouldn't want goats to eat trampled-hay. If they did, you'd see an increase of intestinal parasites - a real detriment to your goat's health and happiness.
That's why providing hay for our goats, especially our small nigerian
dwarfs used to be a problem until my husband built this new manger.
We got the idea from Storey's Guide to Raising Dairy Goats by Jerry Belanger. It's an excellent book that gives you all sorts of advice on everything from the right type of hay to birthing and everything in between.
Although in the picture it looks like it is free standing, my husband actually has this one bolted to the fence to keep it from toppling over.
Look at our old hay holder in the photograph to the right.
dwarves used to jump into the feeding trough of that feeder, dirtying
the hay and keeping our nubians from eating.
But now, even the nubians still stand on the base. So even with your larger goats this type of manger can be a problem. Also, because our nubians are standing on the base, our fence is starting to get bent.
Our first feeder - the type available at most feed supply stores - encouraged too much waste. Our nigerian dwarfs could - and often did - stand on the platform and kept the other goats from getting hay. Even our larger nubians stand on it. The hay in the manger gets tramped down, and the goats won't eat it.
This feeder has a narrow platform our nigerians can't stand on.
The bars in feeders like this one hold the hay in place.
They are just wide enough for our goats to get their heads in and eat the hay, but too narrow for them to get in themselves.
We drop hay into the top of the manger. It holds quite a bit, which means I only have to fill it once a day. Chores are a lot simpler with goat hay feeders like this one. Plus, Rick plans to add a cover to the top to protect the hay from rain. Now we have happy goats and even happier humans!