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  1. #1
    Platinum Member
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    Jinma 354, purchased 2007

    Default A Hay Corral

    The recent thread about building traditional haystacks -- and especially the talk about a hay sweep -- has got me thinking. The background: I own an old dairy farm with about ten acres still in hayfields. It's been hayed forever, but lately it's been getting harder and harder to find someone to come and take the hay, and with just ten acres I can't see buying haying equipment myself. Last summer I never did find anyone to hay it and I ended up just mowing and leaving the hay in the field. I had goats in the past and would like to have them again. When I had goats I would feed them hay over the winter, and I built a feeder out of cattle panel that worked well.

    So here's the idea: build a square pen out of 16' cattle panels. If I make it two panels high it would be 8', which I would just be able to clear with a hay sweep on my loader. Mow the fields, rake and sweep the hay into the pen, fill to heaping and cover it with a tarp. Then I would let the goats just feed through the walls of the pen all winter. I would probably put some sort of wooden floor on the pen to keep the hay off the ground, maybe just a bunch of pallets. I'm also thinking that a movable roof -- like a carport -- might work better than a tarp.

    The appeal of the idea is that it really minimizes the handling of hay, I just sweep it and never handle it again. Goats like to feed at about their own head level, so for the most part as they feed they would be pulling out of the middle of the pile and more would keep falling down. Eventually they would get all they could reach and there would be a pile in the middle of stuff they couldn't reach, but I think I could go into the pen and push that against the edges with minimal work. I'm thinking an eventual refinement is to have one wall made so that it slides inward, and as the hay gets used up the goats will lean on the wall and push it inward and get access to the middle. Goats will work for food, and love pushing on fences, and it keeps them out of trouble to make them work for their hay.

    A pen that is 16x16 and 8' high is 2048 cubic feet. Baled hay is about 10 lbs per cubic feet, and if I figure loose hay is half as dense that means I can store 10,000 lbs of hay in one pen. It takes me about 1,000 lbs of hay to get one goat through the winter, so that would feed ten goats. In the past I did one cutting per year and I get about 1.5 tons per acre, so I get about 30,000 lbs per cutting. So I'd need three pens to keep it all.

    I'm thinking that I could build three pens for far less than even the cheapest baler, and it takes care of hay storage and feeding. From the Youtube video sweeping the field looks less time-consuming than baling, picking up the bales, putting them away and then putting them out when you need them.

    So what do you think? Would this work? Is there something I'm not thinking about?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Elite Member DT86's Avatar
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    Default

    The only thing I can think of is the mud that goes along with continually feeding in the same spot. Goats don't like to have their feet wet. Mud breeds health problems too.

  3. #3
    Elite Member
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    ONTARIO
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    MASSEY, CASE , FARMALL

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DT86
    The only thing I can think of is the mud that goes along with continually feeding in the same spot. Goats don't like to have their feet wet. Mud breeds health problems too.
    I agree. Look around in cattle fields near the feaders. Its all mud.

    Why not build the rack so it tapers in at the bottom. Like the cattle silage feaders.

  4. #4
    Super Star Member Egon's Avatar
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    Nova Scotia, Canada

    Default Re: A Hay Corral

    Go for it. Inexpensive, low labour input and it will work.

    Or get a old square baler and sweat buckets handling the "grrrr" things.
    Egon
    50 years behind the times
    Livin in a
    Worn out skin bag filled with rattlin bones

  5. #5
    Silver Member
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    Default Re: A Hay Corral

    As long as your goats are polled and you could keep the hay fairly dry it should work.

    We feed sheep with 4x4 round bales with a cattle panel around it and a simple lift off roof.

    I would think there would be enough wasted hay outside the wire that mud would not be a issue.

    Good luck-- J

  6. #6
    Platinum Member
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    Jinma 354, purchased 2007

    Default Re: A Hay Corral

    Quote Originally Posted by DT86 View Post
    The only thing I can think of is the mud that goes along with continually feeding in the same spot. Goats don't like to have their feet wet. Mud breeds health problems too.
    That's a valid concern. The thing I've noticed about goats though, which is very different from cows, is that since they don't like wet feet they won't make muddy spots if they can avoid it. They don't form trails the way cows do. They'll use stepping stones, and they don't have to be big ones. I put a 12' 2x6 between two pieces of 4x4 along the south side of their shed, and in the winter on sunny days they would spend all day standing or lying on that board where they could soak up some sun and get off the ground.

    So if mud became a problem I think I could solve it with something for the goats to stand on. The ideal thing would probably be to have a "veranda" around the outside that's under roof, but I think that a few stones or boards would probably do the job. The point here isn't to build the Taj Majal.

  7. #7
    Member haywire cattle co's Avatar
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    western ny
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    ford 5000/kubota m4800su

    Default Re: A Hay Corral

    I dont see why it wouldnt work.I have thought of a similar idea of making wood frames out of rough lumber that narrowed at the bottom to feed beef cows like you want to do with goats.building out of cattle panels would be faster and easier than my idea.The only thing i am not sure about is your calculations i dont think loose hay would be even half dense as baled hay but i could be wrong.I guess you would just have to try it and see how much a stack would hold.if you use a tarp remember the hay is going to settle a lot so make sure it doesnt make a pond on top of your stack.

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