Steve's goat barn project: Stop wasting all that expensive hay Make your goats a hay manger.
-- Mrs. Laster, Taylor, AR
Goats are notorious for wasting hay. They'll grab a mouthful from a manger, drop half of it on the ground, and refuse to touch it again. Since hay can be pretty expensive bedding, a hay-saving manger is a good investment.
Many solutions have been tried. The best involve some form of stanchion -- two vertical bars that secure the animal in front of a feed trough or manger. But most of these have shortcomings.
For our two goats, I had been using a 55-gallon plastic drum, cut in half lengthwise, for a feed trough. Some old snow fence I had on hand was placed around this, and screwed to the wall. Then one slat of the fence was removed for each goat. Quick, simple, and cheap.
It worked pretty good, as the goats had to reach through the fence, and down into the half barrel, to reach the hay. Then if they tried to back out with a mouthful of hay, the strand of fence wire above their heads usually was enough of an obstacle to discourage them.
Always looking for a way to make something better and nicer looking, I found an article by Harvey Considine in Dairy Goat Journal about the manger design he uses. The main feature is that instead of vertical bars for the stanchion, they are placed at an angle of 66 degrees. In addition, his design forces the goats to step up in order to get their heads through the slots (goats love to climb up to eat anyway) and then reach down to get the feed. All of this discourages grabbing a mouthful and backing off to chew, and the associated waste.
He used metal for the bars. (Goats would chew on wood, he said.) I didn't have any scrap of the right size on hand, but I did have some 1-3/4 inch pvc pipe. (This has been working fine.)
I started with the two 2x6x39-inch side posts. Then I attached two 2x6x41-inch cross pieces to these--one on the very top of each post and the other I2 inches lower.
I predrilled and screwed five 1-3/4 inch pvc pipes (23 inches long), 7 inches apart, at the 66 [degrees] angle, to the crosspieces.
The stand is a 2x6x41 and a 2x8x41 so they have to step up to eat.
The box, or feed trough, is made of 1/2-inch plywood, 19 inches deep and 30 inches high. This was mounted to a solid barn wall with two lx4x30-inch boards to secure it.
Ideally, this feeder should be mounted on a fence rather than a wall, especially with a larger number of goats. It would be easier to fill, and clean, if you didn't have to walk into the pen, among the animals. Feeding and cleaning could be done from the aisle. In that case you would have to make a back side, and add legs.
The main thing to remember is the 66 [degrees] angle, and that you want the goats to reach over and down to get to the food. Harvey Considine also advised making the goats step up to get their heads through the slats, and cautioned against making the feed box too deep so they can't reach the back of it. Nineteen inches should be about right.
Bleach in udder wash?
I have just read an article on dairy goat udder wash and the like. This person has suggested that using one ounce of bleach, one quart of water, and a drop of dish detergent was a good udder wash and teat dip. My question is this, wouldn't the goat have a buildup of bleach in the system of the goat which could be harmful to it? I always used vinegar, water and a drop of dish soap. Now what? Would one or the other be safer?
Thanks for any help in this department. Love the mag. -- Chris
No, there wouldn't be any problem with bleach "build up." However, bleach would be very irritating to the skin. Soap and water are just fine.
STEVE BELANGER TECHNICAL EDITOR