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Hay Tree Barrel Net Feeder
Jewel and Stella wait for a refill.
|To build this feeder, I used an old vinegar barrel, hockey goal netting, 550 survival cord, an old tire, an 80-lb bag of concrete mix, a garbage bag, broken pieces of a cinder block, a piece of untreated 2x4, and a small oak tree. First, we made the hay tree. Then cut the lid off of the barrel and cut the loading slot with an electric chainsaw. Then drilled holes about an inch and a half from the open edge and filed the edge smooth with an old hoof rasp. We put the barrel over the pole and secured it by drilling holes through the side and through the 2x4 and tying it with survival cord, just enough to keep the barrel from pulling away from the pole. Then tied short lengths of cord around each of the net's edge loops. |
Drawbacks to this design as shown are wobbliness of the barrel on the hay tree and the loading slot being slightly too small for whole flakes. It couldn't be placed any closer to the fence because the horses would shock themselves as they pushed the net into the electric fence. For now, it's being loaded by the handful instead of by the flake, but doesn't hold as much uncompressed hay. We may enlarge that, and add another layer of netting over the bottom to increase the challenge level.
The horses LOVE it and spend lots of time hanging out by this feeder even when it's empty and the hanging SMHN feeders are full.
June 18, 2010
|Thanks to Cheryl and Bearcat for the idea of using a barrel. See more barrel net feeders here.|
Hay Tree Barrel Feeder -- v.1.1 & v.1.2
Version 1.1 with double hockey net under barrel
Unfortunately, the remaining piece of hockey netting I had to use as a second layer was smaller than the netting comprising the first layer. I failed to foresee how the bottom of the first layer would bunch up with the hay inside and prevent them from eating from the lower part of the netting. They could not get to the last flake or so of hay in the feeder, although the double netting along the side (as in this photo) worked fine.
Barrel/net hay tree v.1.1
Here's how it looked when the initial larger hanging hockey net was bunched up into the smaller outer netting. The SMHN no longer reached the hay tree base. That was disappointing because one of the main ideas is to facilitate head-low slow feeding.
We decided to give it a try before disassembling because our horses really are quite talented at eating hay from "challenge feeders."
I should also point out that the loading slot at the top is not convenient. It is too small, and I think that enlarging it would mean Stella putting her head inside to eat! Next version will either open with a hinge, or may even be left open at the top.
Gaping hole in barrel net -- the short survival cord tie strings came undone.
This after a couple days of that last flake's inaccessibility. Probably better to weave a continuous length of cord through the top loops.
|Barrel/Net Hay Tree v.1.2|
I removed the outer layer of hockey net and re-attached it along the top and at only one point at the bottom. The single-layered bottom should encourage them to eat from the bottom of the feeder.
This picture shows Jewel and Stella wreaking havoc with this revision. Jewel eats from the area that wasn't covered with a second layer just under the barrel (material was too short to reach all the way around), and Stella jauntily tugs the single-layer bottom portion of the net into the air.
Later, Jewel ate from the bottom and Stella ate from about halfway down the double-layered netting. *That* was the plan... maybe it will work after all.
But I have some ideas for version 2.0!
June 29, 2010
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, Nov 8 2010, 8:54 PM EST
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