We've been asked several times about how to keep the
goats out of the dog food. Our response is that we use self feeders.
This keeps us from being locked into a specific time to feed the dogs. It
also means there is always free choice food available to the dogs so they're
never stacked up at the gate waiting to be fed just as the goats decide to go
back out to forage. We have never had to hold food back from any of our
working dogs because they were eating too much and they seem to stay quite
healthy choosing when and how much to eat without our interference.
the way, if you can find someone who manufactures or assembles the actual
feeders, you may save a good deal of money buying seconds. These feeders
can be classed as seconds for a marred finish on the metal or other similar
inconsequential irregularities. We got these for about half price.
is one of our older feeders made from hog panel. It has been reused and
patched several times and still works great!
We have placed hog panel,
cattle panel and utility panel (but a wooden fence or any barrier too high for
goats would work) around the feeder and cut a hole in the panel about 14 inches
off the ground with the hole being 9 inches to 1' square. The dogs can get
through the hole to get to the feeder and the goats can't. Make sure any
sharp edges or points are smoothed off to protect the dogs when they go through
because it is a tight fit. Variations of this method include making a hole
for the dogs to crawl under or teaching them to jump in over the top. We
don't use these variations because we feel it teaches and encourages the dogs to
use skills helpful in circumventing our fencing.
is Sunshine using a feeder made from cattle panel with 6"
squares. Note how she turns partially onto her side to make it
through. Each picture is from a separate trip because the camera would
only work fast enough to get one shot per trip.
teach the dogs to use the feeders, put them in the 'pen' show them the
food, and lock them in. They can almost always figure out how to get
out. You do need to check though, we've had some rescue dogs that would have
stayed in there forever if they weren't released. You may have to do this
two or three times before they catch on.
This is Daisy and one of her pups. Note
that the opening is actually too low. This has not caused a problem
here, however in the first picture, one of the patches on that panel was for
a hole cut like this one where the goats did crawl in. In this case
the goats wanted in so badly that they kept collapsing the hog panel and
then leaned into eat the dog food. We doubled the panel and this
seemed to stop them.
On occasion, you'll find that a
goat or two will figure out how to get in to a specific feeder. In
that case, you'll have four choices:
1. Reconfigure the
feeder with a different height from ground and a smaller hole.
Sell the goat or otherwise physically remove it from the pen where the
feeder is located.
Feed the dogs individually.
4. Resign yourself to feed that
goat dog food.
We have never found a way to un-train the goat
from getting into the feeder without either making changes in the way it's
built or making it just as unusable for dogs as it becomes for goats.
(i.e. electric fence to keep animals away is just too inclusive!) The goat
will learn easily that it is a "bad thing" to be in the feeder but
that just means they run when they see you coming.
We recently saw this inverted triangle design for a dog self
feeder doorway on
workingLGDs@yahoogroups.com. Jennifer Gale says the the inverted
triangle must be at least 6 inches above floor level and she recommends the the
triangle have three points rather than the cut off like the one in the picture.
Apparently goats cannot figure out how to get their legs pulled in tight enough
to go through the door. This picture shows an opening 19" wide and 19"
tall; when we make ours, we'll try making the hole shorter and even narrower on
top. Right now we're are pretty well covered over so it will be a while
before we get to try this but it looked so good that we asked Jennifer if we
could put up the picture. Big goats can trash the panel feeders we show
above and this is the first really different way we've seen that looked good to
Dan & Paula Lane
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