We just finished mucking out the stalls today for the bucks and does, and came to the conclusion that feeding inside is not a good idea. Around the feeder, the spilled hay was about a foot deep, and we only started feeding inside a couple months ago.
I was scratching my head trying to figure out what type of feeder to build, when I came in for a break and saw a post at a blog I follow about a pallet sheep feeder. Since we just brought home 38 -- yes, 38!! -- free pallets for another project, I decided to give making a pallet goat feeder a try. Ours had to have some type of roof though so we can feed a bale at a time and not worry about it getting ruined with rain.
Since we already had some cut up cattle panels -- every farm needs these cattle panels -- I decided to modify the pallet idea a little, and I'm really pleased with how it worked out:
We attached the sides to the bottom with 3" deck screws, and the top to the sides with 2" screws at an angle.
The cattle panel in the back is nailed on with horseshoe nails, while the one in the front is loosely nailed on one side to make it easy to swing, and attached with a carabiner on the other side. That allows it to swing all the way open so we can insert an entire bale. This pallet goat feeder will hold 4 bales if you stack them on top of one another, which could be helpful for a short vacation or something.
Cattle panels are the perfect size to fit goat heads through without the hay coming too. They come in 16 foot lengths and are 4 feet tall, so you can cut them to fit just about any project, and at $20 each, it's well worth it for the many uses they have. In the picture, you can see one of our rabbit tractors on the left side. Still loving those, a year later.
While the pallet goat feeder doesn't look Beverly Hills, it definitely does the job. Since we already had leftover cattle panels, this cost us nothing to build. I threw an old piece of plywood on the top, but we will eventually get around to putting some scrap tin we salvaged on there to keep things nice and dry. I am considering extending the pallets out on either side and roofing over it so the goats can eat without getting rained on, but that will make it difficult to get the hay in.
If you wanted to make this with just pallets, I think you could pull the slats off of one side of the pallets and put pallets in place of the cattle panels. You might have to take all the slats off and put them back on with appropriate spacing, but it could easily be done and would be completely free, except for the screws to put it together. You could probably get away with baling twine instead of screws too - totally free!
All three kids were lined up together, so I rushed to take a photo and one dashed away right when I clicked, so now there are two: