The Horse Feeder vs. Rodeo: Picture a Ferris Wheel

| 2/5/2010 4:49:40 PM

Tags: Horses, Round bales, Tools,

A photo of Shirley Rodeo VanScoykHorses love playing with their food. I feed our horses round bales of hay – if you are familiar with previous domestic episodes, you know the nature of those. Anyway, the citizens of our barn love unwrapping the hay from the bale – much like playful kittens with a toliet paper roll. Once they get it unrolled, they roll in it, pee in it, poop in it and make it inedible. I’ve been so thrilled at the cost difference between the round and square bales, this hasn’t really bothered me until lately, when the effects of this long hot dry summer have impacted the cost of the bales negatively.

Horse in the barnNow, like all problems, there is a solution to this situation and it involves tools, a trip to the Farm/Tractor Store and lifting something awkward and heavy all by myself. It’s called a round bale feeder and looks (when put together) a lot like an 8-foot Ferris wheel made out of 16 gauge tubular steel (about as thick as your wrist) welded together that slips over the top of the bale. The idea is that the horses will put their heads through the spaces in the feeder (where the seats would be if it were truly a Ferris wheel) and eat, but be unable to stand on the bale and crush it, strew it and mess it up. This saves you money and hay and according to the people who make bale feeders, enough money to pay for the bale feeder in two or three bales. Oh, the other reason I didn’t buy a bale feeder before was because the guy who sells me the hay said I didn’t need one. Of course. 

So, last night, C. and I went to pick up the feeder which comes in three convenient (if you are 5’10” man) sections, each weighting about 80 pounds. These sections fit easily into the back of the truck and in no time we are on our way to Bob Evan’s to get a nice meal. (It makes us feel good to eat there because it’s the reverse of eating at Pizza Hut – instead of being the oldest we are usually the youngest in the restaurant.) To C.’s credit, he did ask if I would need help getting the bale feeder out of the truck when we got home, and I said, “Oh, no! I don’t think so! I’ll just drag it out.”

Actually that was pretty simple. Once I drove the truck into the pasture, I was able to flip those sections right out on to the ground pretty close to where I thought the feeder would end up. 

I’m excited to notice that the feeder actually has the hardware required to put it together – 6 carriage bolts and nuts – already in the holes. All I have to do is undo them, slide the next section into place and do them back up. Easy! 

The first five go fine. They were only finger tightened. The sixth and last bolt has paint spilled on the threads, and the nut is now fouled with the paint. I need a tool. 

rodeo princess
2/9/2010 2:43:28 PM

Lori, It's my turn to laugh! Everybody here has had 'the wet yucky spot' usually the front pocket on a hooded sweatshirt because we had forgotten we put eggs in there! It's gross!

2/9/2010 6:43:32 AM

What a great story! I have a problem with trying to do to many things at once. Back in the fall, I needed to clean off our front porch, and get it ready for winter, (we don't have a roof over our porch). I was walking back from feeding the chickens and gathering the eggs, when I looked at the porch and thought "I'm going to clear that porch off right now"! I walked directly to the porch and went to work. We have a porch swing on a frame, and 4 plastic chairs on the porch. I stacked the chairs on top of each other, and took the swing off of the frame. You know, you wouldn't want to make any unnecessary trips, so I thought "I can take this stuff all at once". I hooked my right arm through the back of the swing, and my left arm through the whole stack of plastic chairs, and away I waddled with my arms full. I'm glad nobody was there to watch. I'm sure my dear hubby would have had a sarcastic comment for me! I finally made it to the basement, and set down my load. It was only then that I remembered I had put all the eggs I collected in my coat pocket. I felt a funny wet spot on my side. Scrambled eggs anyone?

rodeo princess
2/7/2010 6:52:55 PM

You are both so kind to comment! Nebraska, it's always good to see that you read my posts! And Oz Girl, I would rather do almost anything than pitch hay!

nebraska dave
2/6/2010 11:04:22 AM

Rodeo, it truly is amazing how in our mind we think that the five minutes to get the right tool can be eliminated by finding a totally inept tool close at hand. Then to spend many times longer trying to make that tool under designed for the job at hand work is unexplainable. Even though my mind still wants me to do the “let’s find something near to fix this” thing, I have learned to sit down take a deep breath and then go get the right tool. All the while my mind is going through the process of if I get this tool I’m just going to have to put it back again when I’m done. Can’t I just find something close to use. My friend with the Arabian horses has round hay feeders, but when I watch the horses for him, the square bales of hay go into the round feeder for the mares. I guess a square peg can go into a round hole when hay is concerned. Of course I had to cut the strings and break up the hay in chunks. Now the stallions were a different story. Because of being in separate pens, they only got flakes (chunk about 6 inches thick) of hay bales. The biggest issue I see with round feeders is the animals can’t reach the center when eating. Another great story. I hope all your future assembly projects will be sealed with a kiss and not hammered with a high heal.

oz girl
2/6/2010 8:53:10 AM

Oh Shirley, I love your humorous take on the ole round bale feeder! :-D We have one also... it sits unused. We decided to feed square bales this winter, simply because of the amount of hay that gets wasted in a round bale. I think the cost difference works itself out, since we feed them a couple of flakes from the square bales and less gets wasted! (Hubby had me pitchforking hay from the round bales last winter, which we kept in his shop... ugh. I'd rather feed flakes than pitch hay!!!)

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