Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Hay, Hay, Hay

 Hay has become a rare commodity in my neck of the woods. At least the square bales have. After a long summer of drought, we have been scrambling to find it. And when we do, we are paying out the wazoo for it. Here is our current stockpile:

There are 8 bales of hay in that little shed. Since we are back to having only 2 goats, that much hay should last us about 2 months (based on bale size and my feeding schedule.) 

**My feeding schedule**
Inside those black barrels are the alfalfa pellets that we supplement with-1 pound daily per goat. So one 40 pound bag of pellets lasts 20 days and 1 bale of hay (free fed) lasts about a week. Later in her pregnancy, after Archie has been rehomed to his own pen, Ronnie will also be fed Goat Chow, starting at 1/4 pound a day and gradually building up to 1 pound a day, to help with kid growth and lactation. I'd like to start her on it now but Archie is aggressive about food and wouldn't let her have it. And the last thing I need to do is to pour expensive grain in a buck's belly!

 All of the above works out fine and dandy in "normal" circumstances. But things this year aren't "normal." Along with a drought, and a fencing fiasco, I'm now dealing with a broken hay feeder. You might remember the tongue-in-cheek story of how the hay feeder came to be. But seriously, a lot of time was put into planning it. We spent hours combing the internet for plans and pictures. DH (a fabulous metal worker, NOT a carpenter) took a whole day to put together a feeder that would meet all of my requirements.

              **My hay feeder requirements**
1. Goats must be able to eat up-not down. --Since goats are browsers(not grazers,) in their natural habitat they would be eating scrub and trees that aren't close to the ground first. I didn't want my goats eating off the ground. This is why I try to remove all the wasted hay as soon as possible and keep the hay feeder as full as I can at all times-on the ground is where the worms are! Even their simple water buckets are hung UP.  I firmly believe this is why we haven't ever had to worm our goats.

2. The openings on the feeder must be close together, just big enough to get the mouth in. I didn't want to hang a goat by the horns (it's our personal choice to not dehorn) and I wanted to prevent as much wasted hay as I could. Not only is it expensive but after a goat has stood on it for even a short time it gets VERY heavy with pee and poop-good for the garden, bad for my back. 

3. There had to be a small roof to keep the goats dry while they ate. (Because goats melt in the rain don't ya know?? At least that's what mine keep telling me.)

So that is how the hay feeder came to be. 
And this is what it looks like today:

Yes, half the slats have broken out. And yes, my food aggressive goat has pulled all the hay out-doesn't it look great all over the ground? Which is why I am running outside several times a day to give the goats a LITTLE hay at a time, trying to stretch it until DH gets home to fix the hay feeder.  
Side note- I was assured last night that my repaired hay feeder will have stainless steel parts (i.e. GOAT PROOF! Woo Hoo!!) Can't wait til that happens!!

And more good news: It's raining!!
 (Praying for no hay shortages in the coming year!)
2 Chronicles 7:13  If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; 
  14  If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 



  1. It's amazing how the price of hay has skyrocketed, but then it makes sense with the drought. Gosh, I hope that next year isn't like this. We still have decent prices here on hay from a guy at church but who knows what the prices will be next time we buy. We just put another 250 bales in our hayshed and we are hoping that will get us through to next spring. (We have four goats and two horses.) - Love the way you made your hay feeder!

  2. Hoosier girl,

    Keep coming with the goat info. as I am thinking about getting some for my Texas farm. Hope all is well in your world. Love from Texas

    PS Let me know if I did it right

  3. Hello there. I live in Kingman, Az & have 2 horses. Hay here is going for a 110 lb bale for $15.50 before tax!!! Just yesterday I stopped by a Gas-N-Grub, where they also sell hay. I saw a white sign stating $12.00 for probably 60/40 grass-alfalfa mixture square bales. You can darn well bet I ended up buying 12 bales right there on the spot. We haven't seen $12.00 prices around here for probably 2 years. I would have gone back, but we are expecting a storm in on Thursday night, but they have 2 good sized stacks, so I'm not worried about them running out very soon. The only problem I will have is looking my horses in the eye when they look at the hay and go PTOOEY, where is the alfalfa!!!

  4. Wow, Irene. Welcome! Our prices aren't that high yet. We are really struggling with finding it, though. Just keep hoping next year is better!


Tell me what you think, what you know, what you want to know. I love your comments! I read them all and will try to answer any questions.