How to Build a Hay Feeder for Smaller Livestock

Build a hay feeder in 17 simple steps, and for under $100!

| September/October 2013

  • Hay feeder for goats and other small livestock.
    Photo By Karen Keb
  • Steps 5 through 7 of the hayrack.
    Photo By Suzanne Cox
  • Notched 3-foot-6-inch boards will be end supports.
    Photo By Suzanne Cox
  • Finishing the frame of the hayrack.
    Photo By Suzanne Cox
  • This hayrack is custom-designed for small livestock.
    Photo By Suzanne Cox
  • Drill a hole in each corner of the feeder for drainage.
    Photo By Suzanne Cox
  • Use a framing square to notch the beams just right.
    Photo By Suzanne Cox
  • Notch boards with repetitive circular saw cuts.
    Photo By Suzanne Cox
  • Using a miter saw helps achieve perfect angle cuts.
    Photo By Suzanne Cox
  • Use a framing square to notch the beams just right.
    Photo By Suzanne Cox
  • Angles on the bottom running boards will help mobility.
    Photo By Suzanne Cox
  • A solid, sturdy feeder that’d make any goat proud!
    Photo By Suzanne Cox

Goats, sheep and other small livestock often require special consideration when it comes to hay feeders. Cattle rings and standard bunk feeders are too large and cumbersome to be practical for the small-livestock farmer. Special hayracks and bunk feeders designed for such creatures are often hard to find — and very expensive. Using these simple instructions, you can build a 4-foot hayrack with bunk-type feeder for less than $80 with all new material. Dig through your scrap pile and repurpose materials for even larger savings. This hayrack will accommodate up to 1 1/2 square hay bales, and is designed for easy accessibility for both lambs and adult sheep. It’s also the perfect size for goats, ponies and minis.

We will break down this hay feeder into three main sections, detailing the individual steps along the way. First you will construct the top hayrack, then the bunk feeder, and finally the foundation — with runners for easy moving.

Tool List

1/2” drill with No. 2 bit
3/4” drill bit
Speed square
Reciprocating saw
Tape measure
Bolt cutters
2” nails
1 1/2” and 3” Phillips head wood screws
1 1/2” staples (1” will do, barbed or none)
Miter saw (optional, circular saw will work)

Materials List

(6) 8-foot-long 2-by-4 boards cut as follows:
(3) 4’
(2) 2’
(2) 17”
(2) 3’6”
(2) 4’1 1/2”
(2) 4’3”

8/14/2019 5:42:50 PM

We're in the PNW. with a roof it would be p-e-r-f-e-c-t.

3/27/2018 10:56:56 AM

This is a great post but the pictures you provided in the article are unable to be viewed

2/25/2018 6:11:17 PM

We made this for our goats this weekend and it is perfect! Thank you for such detailed instructions, it made this project so much easier for us. We are going to try to put a roof over it, to keep the hay dry on rainy days. Have you done this? Any suggestions?

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