These big boys came to be part of our clan in August. When we feed them hay outside – just about a bale or more at a time – they tend to stomp all over it. The hay gets stomped into the mud, blows away with the breeze and it seems like we waste more hay than they actually eat.
I kept searching for all sorts of ideas for a hay basket. Actually at the time I didn’t even know there was such a thing that I could buy. Until I saw this…
Well that definitely would have worked but it is hundreds of dollars and owning three horses is already costing us a fortune. There had to be a better way. Guess what? There definitely is. This solution works also for smaller animals like goats etc.. but my guys are large enough to eat right out the top. One of them tends to pull the hay out the sides while our larger horse (Belgian) tends to like eating right out of the top.
The solution is an IBC Container. There are several ways you can do this but the easiest way works great for us because the horses are so large.
These containers are about 46 inches tall, one side is 44 inches wide and the other side is a little less wide. There is a plastic tote inside that is used for a whole host of purposes – chemicals, water, soap and more. The container we picked up had a chemical tote though we don’t know what chemical since all labels were gone. The tote could be used as part of this feeder if it gets cleaned out but this was a very caustic chemical – not worth risking. We didn’t need it anyway. There are two bars across the top that just bolt on holding the tote in. We removed those bars and the tote came right out. Fortunately a friend of ours had a use for the tote so I didn’t need to do anything with it. I am sure I could have found some use if I needed to.
My original plan was to put the bars back on the top to keep the horses from diving in and pulling it all out. I left the bars off the first couple days though for them to get used to the hay feeder and the lack of bars has not been an issue at all – so I will leave it like that. This feeder will most likely hold six bales at a time. I only put one in at a time though and fluff it up.
It is heavy enough that I don’t need to do anything to anchor it. It sill must be around 60 pounds even without the tote. Since I only have my two guys eating out of it – they aren’t bouncing it around. If it was in the fields with the herd they may try to bounce it around and I suppose concrete blocks in the bottom would solve that problem.
You can see just how big this basket is – the horse on the left is a 17 hand Belgian draft horse and the horse on the right is a 16 hand Belgian/Appy Cross draft horse.
Now how much did this cost me? $40! I may have been able to do some wheeling and dealing for a better price but since I was saving hundreds of dollars, this price was sounding pretty darn good.