This pen normally has hay net feeder and or a single corner hay feeder.. neither of which worked for the ewe sheep that are using my big back corner stall as the nursery pen at the count down to lambing..
A little extra muscle, a crow bar an hammer and some time with a plan and we put together a nice sheep feeder that holds ten eating at the same time.. Saving costs on re-used wood, and more important, saving on hay by having a proper head space for them to eat into. Make sure if you are reusing wood, that you take out all nails or screws from the wood before working with it.
We put this at the front of the pen, this means that we can haul our hay to the front of the pen and fill this over the top, the whole thing takes 4 full chips of hay, which is right around hundred pounds of hay per fill. As long as its kept topped up, the ewe’s can take their turns at the feeder with ease.
The ewe’s have hit the point that they are getting a bit of grain each day, just a light feeding because some of them are big enough that even with free hay in front them, they are needing the extra calories. I also have a nice salt block right by the rubber water trough, because I know that if they take in more salt, they will drink more water.. win-win.
The ewes range in how close they are to being due and they sigh as I stand and lift tails to see bags on each one.. Its like a game.. Can I see your bag please.. no bag, little bag, getting there.. filled up..
This ewe is just starting to go from no bag, to a tiny wee bag.. We have the jugs ready for when we need to move them, I normally would not have all the girls in lock down, just the ones getting close but they say that we are going to have a big storm coming in so for this week, we will keep the girls in the big nursery loafing pen, moving as needed to the little jug and then moving to the bigger baby pen. I have learned the hard way to keep the girls in safely when we are going to have very bad weather when I have them close to their new date.. After this big storm passes, I will check each ewe and about half of them will go back out to have 24 freedom and the big lean too to coming and out of at will.. The closer ones or any that have their lambs, will be staying in for longer.
I can not imagine lambing in the deep dead of a canadian winter without having the big barn to keep everyone safe.
Farmgal Tip of the Day – For the average size sheep you want your head opening to be 9 inches.
[J] Well Farmgal, this is so timely. I need to find a way to feed hay to our sheep which is more efficient (they waste less!). This is greatly complicated by the fact that this needs to be outdoors and the weather his is not cold, but winters are very windy and wet. The hay either gets soaked, or pulled about and trampled, and once it’s on the floor they won’t look at it. We’d looked at bought-in mobile hay racks, but they were going to cost around £750 to the island, with transport likely to add another £250 – plus VAT at 20% !! We decided to make something ourselves. I’m handy with timber/lumber, and treated off-saw is not expensive to buy or difficult to get here, so your Farmgal post here is incredibly helpful. I’ve realized we don’t need to buy in 50mm/2in square mesh (very expensive to get, the transport costing as much as the mesh), we can do it all with timber. I will need to adapt your design to provide shelter from wind and rain, but some wind through the feeder will help keep it dry. I feel emboldened. Thanks very much!
hi small country, I have something in a book that I think will be just what you are looking for, I will take detailed photos for you and post them up with credit to the book. between what we did and the post, I am very sure, you will get something that will work just great for you, and I look forward to seeing the end result
Pingback: Reuse and Recyle- Sheep Feeder | A Small Country Living in the Outer Hebrides
I love this! I have to see if it can work for us because it’s such a great idea! we have a wood box for now and they eat what’s at the top and “cry” for more to be topped up… I also can’t wait for when I can talk about lambing season 🙂 Congrats and wish you an easy lambing season! PS. Do you, personally, ever milk the sheep?
its worked so well, that we are getting one whole more day feeding out of the same amount of hay feed, now that kind of savings add up and fast o yes, I have hand milk one to three sheep years yearly for nine years now..