diy goat hay feeder

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Goats love hay and will spend most of the day eating and grazing, munching down happy as can be. But goats are also picky, and because of that, knowing how to DIY a goat hay feeder, can help keep the waste to a minimum.

Knowing the tools you need is a great start on how to raise dairy goats for many years to come.


As homesteaders, we all know how important it is to take good care of our livestock. One of the key factors in keeping our goats healthy and happy is feeding them the right food in the right way. However, goats can be notoriously picky eaters, and they will waste hay continuously as they eat. This is why it is important to have a setup that will hold the hay and cut down on waste as your goats eat it.

Why You Need a Hay Feeder

Firstly, let’s talk about why you need a hay feeder for your goats. Not only does a hay feeder help to prevent wastage, but it also keeps the hay clean and off the ground where it could become wet and moldy. Also, hay feeders can help prevent the spread of parasites and disease by keeping the hay off the floor, which is especially important if you have multiple goats sharing a space.

How to DIY Goat hay Feeders

There are several types of hay feeders available, each with their own advantages. Let’s cover a few of those now.

#1. Tote Feeder

A quick and effective feeder that is great for small spaces is one made out of a plastic storage tote.

How to Make it

  • Cut a hold in the side of a large plastic tote.
  • You can cut additional holes on the other two sides if you have more than one goat.
  • Hang the tote using bolts, washers, and a sheet or plank of wood to keep the tote from cracking.
  • Hang at a height that allows your goats to eat while standing comfortably.

Best for young kids or a single goat in a pen alone.

Pros – Easy to make and very affordable.

Cons – will not hold up well to adult goats that are rough or aggressive eaters.

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#2. Rack Feeder

Another option is the rack hay feeder, which can be hung off the side of a pen or fence. This type of feeder is ideal for larger spaces or for several goats to use at once. This is a great way to use up scraps of sheet fencing and also has little waste, as any dropped pieces tend to fall inside the feeder to be eaten later. This is our favorite type of feeder as it works well with adult goats as well as young kids.

How to Make it:

  • Use a corner for this type of feeder.
  • Take a tall sheet of steel fencing.
  • Use fence nails to attach it to the wall on each side of the corner.
  • Fill with hay.

Best for any number of goats, from a few to many.

Pros: A durable fencing option that will hold up to the wear and tear of goats. Has little hay waste.

Cons: Be sure you have openings that will allow your goat to put her head inside without getting stuck. We find cattle panels work best for this setup.

a doe goat with her young newborn twin kids in a stall

#3. Bag Feeder

The bag hay feeder is another option for someone that is short on space. This feeder can be hung on a wall and filled with hay; then the hay can be pulled through small holes in the front of the bag. You can purchase a bag feeder or make one yourself.

How to Make it:

  • Using a heavy-duty material such as canvas, construct a bag that is long and slender.
  • Cut a hole in the front and reinforce the opening to deter it from fraying or tearing.
  • Use metal rings at the top for hanging from the wall.
  • Add a second ring at the bottom to keep it from twisting.

Best for single goats or to use for a goat that is in a milk stand.

Pros: I love this feeder; it is durable, works great, deters waste, and fits in tight areas.

Cons: A bit more advanced to make; I prefer to purchase ours instead. Also, not good with large herds.

a brown nubian doe eating hay from a canvas hay feeder bag

#4. Troth Feeder

Another type of hay feeder is the troth, a wooden or metal feeding trough ideal for larger groups of goats. This setup has the least hay waste as any dropped pieces fall back into the troth to be eaten later.

How to Make it:

  • You will need one full sheet of metal hog panel fencing. Do not use cattle panels as they are too high.
  • Lie it flat on the ground and measure it into four sections so it will form the shape of a rectangle.
  • With the help of at least one more person, bend at each of the three sections.
  • Using heavy-duty zip ties, attach the open ends together, making a rectangle.
  • Place in a central area of your barn so all goats can access the hay.

Best for open areas and larger herds of goats.

Pros: A great way to feed a large group of goats with little to no hay waste.

Cons: Hard to make on your own, it can be tricky getting the bends in the heavy fencing.

goats eating from a hay bin in a barn

#5. Bucket Feeder

Finally, there’s the bucket hay feeder, which is great for areas where hanging a feeder is not an option.

How to Make it:

  • Find a bucket that is clean and dry.
  • Put it on a platform and weigh it down.
  • Fill with hay.

Best for areas that do not have walls for hanging a feeder option.

Pros: Easy, fast, and cheap.

Cons: Easily tipped over. If using outside, hay can get damp quickly.

A goat eating hay out of a white bucket

Hay feeders are an essential part of raising healthy and happy goats. By creating one yourself, you can save time and money, while also ensuring that your goats have access to fresh hay that’s clean and safe. Whether you opt for a tote hay feeder, a rack hay feeder, a bag hay feeder, a troth hay feeder, or a bucket hay feeder, you’ll be helping to keep your goats healthy and happy for years to come.

More Goat Care Resources:

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