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The hanging feeders that we use at Bountiful Farm were (and many still are) made from scrap that we had left over from other projects. We have found that the goats can get pretty rough with them so we've upgraded our materials as we replaced or repaired the existing feeders.

The overwhelming benefit from these feeders is that the goats cannot get in them and stay long enough to foul the food with feces and accumulated dirt from their feet; a secondary benefit is that, if the goats try to get rough with each other at the feeder, the feeder takes almost as active a part as the goats do and it tends to discourage them from bashing each other as badly as they do around a stationary feeder.  The down side is that they keep trying to get in them and all that weight and action as they get in and out almost simultaneously tends to break hanging cables, the wire holding the PVC pipe and the wood itself. 

The length of the feeder is dependent upon your situation.  In our main  barn we're using 16 foot long feeders.

 Hanging these feeders still, after two or three years, seems to us as the ultimate way for us to deliver pelleted feed to the goats and still keep it free of dirt and fecal matter.  Fullblood Boers our goats may be but they certainly act like ruffians.  If your goats are genteel, or you only have a few, you may not need them to stand up to the abuse ours take on a regular basis. Our goats have consistently trashed our old feeders in the barn (where most of the goats, including the breeding bucks), eat.  So far we've only done this upgrade in the barn, our smaller areas don't take the same quantity or quality of abuse and we're hopeful that the lighter construction will work. 

Here are where we found our recurring problems:

1)Initially we hung our feeders with 1/16" twisted cable, then we went to 12.5ga high tensile wire.  Both of these broke so often that we now hang the feeders with dog chain.  This has lasted about a year and shows every indication that it will work.

2)We started by nailing the joints, as they pulled apart we repaired the damage with screws, then we used strap hinges screwed at each edge, finally; when the 1x10 boards were unable to stand up to the abuse, we went to 16 foot 2x4 for the sides, nailing each joint from two directions using 2x4 cleats (or scabs) at each joint for nailing blocks.  The size and weight of these materials make the feeders extremely heavy and awkward to work with but once hung, they are working beautifully.  There is also the added advantage the goats have stopped intentionally bashing the feeders to prevent others from eating out of the opposite side because when these things swing back, even a goat know it's been smacked with something serious!

3)The PVC pipe held up well but nothing seemed to keep it in place.  Cable and wire both broke with regularity.  We now run 3/8" rebar through the PVC and placed a small support for it midway in the feeder.

The materials list is updated for the 2x4 construction and we'll get new pictures up soon.

Here's a materials list:

(6) 16'x2"x4"

(2) 2"x10"(or even 12") x 10"-12" (for the ends)

(6)2"x4"x91/2" nailing blocks

(1) 16' length of 11/4"tto 2" PVC pipe (we use 1 1/2")

(1) 17' - 18' length of 3/8" rebar

(2) lengths dog chain or link chain long enough to hang your feeders - they need to be pretty low for kids and about 2' to 2' high for adult Boers.  

Glue is optional but does make for a stronger joint-any white glue like Elmer's is fine as well as glues made especially for wood.  Remember this glue is usually water soluble so don't count on it unless your feeder is under cover.

Tools needed:

hammer and 16 penny nails (we use a nail gun and 12d because that's the largest the gun holds)

small wood saw (you need to cut the nailing blocks and the end pieces)

electric drill with a 3/4" bit for the chain hole and a 1/2" bit for the rebar.  Speedbits (butterfly) are handy, just make sure you don't nail where you're going to drill.

something to bend the rebar.  We have a simple and cheap tool called a "rebar bender" that gives some excellent leverage but a large pipe wrench will work.

Construction steps:

Place one 2"x4" flat on your work surface, stand another on edge next to it and make sure the ends are even.  Nail the joint along the entire length of the boards with a nail about every 12" to 14".  Rotate the work 90 degrees around the longitudinal axis so that the 2"x4" laying flat only has about a 2" width facing up while the board on edge has its full side facing toward you.  Place two more 2"x4"s flat on the surface and butt them to the piece edge-to-edge, making sure the ends are even.  Lay a nailing block flat at the 8' line so that it covers all three boards and nail it.  At each end, come in the width of a 2" board and repeat the process.  

Rotate the work so the completed side is vertical and nail all three boards with nailing blocks the same way you did before.  Turn the feeder so that it forms an upside down vee and nail from the outside into the ends of the nailing blocks.

Set an end piece into one end and nail both from the end piece into the nailing block and from the side into the end piece.  Do the same at the other end.

Drill a 3/4" hole from the inside of the feeder, in line with its longitudinal axis from the inside edge of the end nailing block through the bottom of the feeder. Do the same at the other end.

Run the end of one chain through each hole and using a nail with a washer (so it won't pull through the chain) nail the chain into the nailing block. Continue the chain under the feeder and nail it (again using a washer) into the bottom of the vee at the end.  Nail it once again at the top of the end.  Repeat the process at the other end of the feeder.

Look the feeder over closely and bend over or grind off any sharp points where nails may have gone through the wood.

Now locate the center of the end piece.  The easiest way I've found is to draw a line from one edge of the feeder to the other across the end, then measure the distance and divide by two.  Make a mark at the halfway point and then draw a line from the bottom of the vee through the mark.  Come down from the top about 1 1/2" and drill a half inch hole.  Do the same at the other end.  Cut your PVC to 16' and lay it in the feeder.  Take your rebar and bend one end at right angles so that you have a 4"-6" piece going out at 90 degrees to the main length.  Lay the rebar on the feeder so that the angled piece is up against the outside of the end piece and mark 4"-6" beyond the other end and cut the rebar at your make.  Insert the straight end of the rebar through the 1/2" hole at one end, then into the PVC.  Push it through the hole at the opposite end and use your bending tool to bend it.  If your chain is big enough to run the rebar through it, go ahead and do that as it will make the whole thing stronger.

We run the chain over whatever support we've selected and use an "S" hook to connect the end to the main length of chain.  This gives us flexibility for adjusting the height or to take the feeder down easily.

Good luck.

Dan & Paula Lane
Copyright 2002 [Bountiful Farm]. All rights reserved.

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