Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

for people who love the littlest dairy goats

Does anyone have experience using a mesh hay feeder for their goats?
I'd appreciate feedback on waste reduction, size of holes in feeder, and unintended consequences (goats injured or stuck). Also usability--how annoying is it to load? How durable?

Thanks in advance!

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If a goat's head or hooves can fit through the mesh, it will, and at some point you will wind up with a broken leg or broken neck. It's just what goats do. I've had three kids hang themselves in a horse hay feeder that had V-shaped bars. Luckily I found one the moment it got stuck, but the other two were found hanging from the feeder dead. 

Have you seen pictures or videos of the blue plastic hay feeders we use in our kidding barn? We've had them for probably 7-8 years now with zero fatalities. And I have never even found a kid trapped in one. 

Thank you for your reply, Deborah!
I can't seem to find a photo of the feeder you're referencing. Is it in a book?
Particularly interested in waste reduction, and as one of my driving forces is a desire to reduce consumption of goods as well, I was hoping to macrame a bag out of baling twine. I'm experimenting with 1-2 inch holes in a bag suspended from the ceiling.

Hanging kids doesn't sound great, though.

If you're signed up for the kidding course, you can see them multiple times in the videos because they're in the kidding barn, and I think I talk about them when doing the kidding barn tour early on. Unfortunately I couldn't find any photos on my computer, so I looked at the website where I bought them --

https://sydell.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=38&...

A one-inch hole would be perfect for a goat to get their leg stuck and then break it when they panic after realizing they're stuck, so it's not something I'd risk. The learning curve here is really short. It's all great -- until you have an injured or dead goat. We went years between the first two kids hanging themselves, so I thought we had just been really unlucky with that first one. Then #2 and #3 happened within a couple of months of each other, and that's when I switched out our hay feeders. 

I also have experience with goats getting their legs stuck in things. We lost a newborn because we had put a coat on it because it was not maintaining its body temperature. We walked out one morning, and it was dead and being dragged behind its mother. Somehow she had gotten her hind leg in through the neck of the kid coat and then out through the leg of the kid coat. That seemed like the most unlikely accident, but it happened. And I had a buck break his leg when he tried to jump out of a livestock panel and got his hind leg stuck, causing a spiral break. 

Thank you again for the feedback!

Deborah Niemann-Boehle said:

If you're signed up for the kidding course, you can see them multiple times in the videos because they're in the kidding barn, and I think I talk about them when doing the kidding barn tour early on. Unfortunately I couldn't find any photos on my computer, so I looked at the website where I bought them --

https://sydell.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=38&...

A one-inch hole would be perfect for a goat to get their leg stuck and then break it when they panic after realizing they're stuck, so it's not something I'd risk. The learning curve here is really short. It's all great -- until you have an injured or dead goat. We went years between the first two kids hanging themselves, so I thought we had just been really unlucky with that first one. Then #2 and #3 happened within a couple of months of each other, and that's when I switched out our hay feeders. 

I also have experience with goats getting their legs stuck in things. We lost a newborn because we had put a coat on it because it was not maintaining its body temperature. We walked out one morning, and it was dead and being dragged behind its mother. Somehow she had gotten her hind leg in through the neck of the kid coat and then out through the leg of the kid coat. That seemed like the most unlikely accident, but it happened. And I had a buck break his leg when he tried to jump out of a livestock panel and got his hind leg stuck, causing a spiral break. 

If you are handy building things - my husband built some feeders with the idea from Constidine's book and they work so great.  The slats are on an angle like this and we find the goats keep their heads in the feeder and don't pull back because they feel the slate on them.   No waste at all.   The spacing is just the width of their heads.    One picture it is built along a wall and one of them is free standing = we did a hinged lid on it as the girls jump up that high if they feel like it.   Also has a board on the bottom going from front to back so no one can tip it over.    Ours are a good size as we have too many goats (22) but could be any size needed.   We have 2 wall feeders and one free standing.        I wouldn't trust netting at all - my little ones would be strangled in no time.  I don't like anything with wire squares either for the same reason.   

I also agree about the coats.    We have some great heat lamps we go at Premier Sheep supply.    They are very safe and if you use their bulbs it doesn't get really hot .   I use them in the birthing stalls - New borns just seem to go right under where they hang so they feel that warmth.  

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Love those hay feeders! They look great! 

Winding River Farm (Bev) said:

If you are handy building things - my husband built some feeders with the idea from Constidine's book and they work so great.  The slats are on an angle like this and we find the goats keep their heads in the feeder and don't pull back because they feel the slate on them.   No waste at all.   The spacing is just the width of their heads.    One picture it is built along a wall and one of them is free standing = we did a hinged lid on it as the girls jump up that high if they feel like it.   Also has a board on the bottom going from front to back so no one can tip it over.    Ours are a good size as we have too many goats (22) but could be any size needed.   We have 2 wall feeders and one free standing.        I wouldn't trust netting at all - my little ones would be strangled in no time.  I don't like anything with wire squares either for the same reason.   

I also agree about the coats.    We have some great heat lamps we go at Premier Sheep supply.    They are very safe and if you use their bulbs it doesn't get really hot .   I use them in the birthing stalls - New borns just seem to go right under where they hang so they feel that warmth.  

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