January 19, 2005
What kind of hay feeder should you use?
I have found that there are quite a variety of options when it comes to choosing a hay feeder for your donkeys or mules. I tried several different kinds before I found one that I liked.
When we got our first donkey, she was able to eat her hay out of a large bucket with our two pet sheep. Often they would dump the hay out on the ground, but the bucket worked pretty good until we bought more donkeys. Then there got to be too many heads and too much hay for just one bucket.
So we started feeding our donkeys and sheep out of a modified wooden calf hay feed bin. It was big enough to hold their hay, but it was so shallow that they would end up tossing about half of the hay out on the ground after only a few minutes at the bin. And also since the bin was made of wood, it eventually got chewed up quite a bit and we threw it out.
After we got into mammoth donkeys, we moved the sheep to their own pen, and I decided it was time to buy a bigger and better hay feeder. I went down to my local horse supply store, and found a great looking metal feed rack. it was made out of rebar and 55 gallon drum halves welded together to make a sturdy feeder with troughs about waist high and the hay rack above.
You can sort of see the metal hay feeder standing behind my donkeys in this picture.
That feeder worked okay for the adult donkeys, but it was too high for foals to reach very easily. So after a few months I decided to go shopping again for a different kind of feeder. I also didn't like the way the donkeys always ended up with grass, leaves, and hay particles all over in the fur on their faces when they ate out of the metal feed rack.
So I started shopping. I wanted a feeder that was low to the ground so the donkeys' faces would be above the hay instead of below the hay. I also needed a feeder that was big enough for several donkeys to share, and that wouldn't get eaten like a wooden bin.
I found a great solution to my problem. At my local feed store I found a heavy polyethylene trough that perfectly suited my needs. It is made by a company call Tuff Stuff. It looks just like this one that can be ordered through Aubuchon Hardware.
This trough is big enough that my 5 donkeys can all eat out of the same bin. The hay is fed at ground level, but the sides are high enough that usually very little hay gets tossed out. But the sides are still low enough that my mammoth jackstock foals can reach the feed easily. The polyethylene is very durable, and handles the beating it gets very well. Cold weather doesn't seem to effect its strength either.
While we are talking about feeders, here is a good article I found on EquiSearch.com about the advantages of feeding your equines at floor level. It looks like a very good article to read, and can give you some more pointers in choosing your mule or donkey's feeder.
Have an idea you'd like to see discussed in a future article?
Send an e-mail to us by clicking here and let us know what's on your mind.
Posted by Kristie Jorgensen at January 19, 2005 09:26 PM