DIY Winter Hay Feeder

As I wrote earlier, Tristan is going to get some different turnout options this winter to hopefully encourage him to move around more. One of those options may be to turn out in the jump ring. It’s not electrified, but he’s pretty good with fences.

If that does come to pass, I want to work on a hay feeder solution for him so we’re not scattering hay in the jump ring.

So: I’m doing some investigating and experimenting, and would appreciate any suggestions anyone has.

Here’s what I am looking for:

  • something DIY; I’m hoping for something I can build and then tweak myself
  • will pull down a grate/bag/net as the hay is eaten down (so it’s never loose)
  • small-ish; I don’t need a full giant thing, just something to hold 2-3 flakes at a time
  • needs to be able to live outside during a Vermont winter

Any ideas or pointing me toward tutorials are welcome!

9 thoughts on “DIY Winter Hay Feeder

  1. Not sure I have a photo of it, but my barnmate DIY’d a feeder for her old man that worked out quite well. She took a small plastic stock tank (like a foot tall and maybe 3 feet long, you’d use it for like goats and sheep probably) and drilled holes around the top lip and then used extra rope to tie a Haychix net to the holes so that he couldn’t pull the net out, but it was still easy to fill. She also drilled a couple holes in the bottom to allow rainwater to drain, although she tried to flip it over to prevent water collecting in it at all. YMMV if Tristan is more rambunctious than her horse, but she used it all last winter with no issues.


  2. I know Kristen from Stampy and the Brain posted a few times about outdoor hay feeders, and we brainstormed a few ideas. The one Jen mentioned above is pretty solid!


  3. I have seen people use the rolling trash bins. Coverage is a concern down here as most winders are very very wet. They cut holes in the bottom front of the plastic, some add a hay bag, some just leave open slats. Then you put a whole square bale in and roll it up the fence where you want it.


    1. Hi y‘all! No one knows me here, I’m usually just lurking from Germany (I swear I’m not a real creeper, just amazed by your little space of internet friendships), but to this I’d like to add: if you don’t use a hay net inside, you can add a wooden panel on the bottom of the bin and place it in a 45 degree angle from the whole in the front to the back of the bin. That way the hay slides in front of the whole and doesn’t get stuck in the back corner. Reduces the risk of stuck noses or hoofs and flipped over bins… 🙂


  4. I have been down this path. My current set up works very well. What I learned the hard way:
    1. don’t use metal grates- it’s hard on the teeth and freezes in the winter
    2. anything at ground level would get snow build up around it and make it lower. which made it a worry for the winter.
    3. a pole with a hay net seemed like a great idea but they broke it. Often.

    My current set up works really well: it’s a raised feeder that my husband made out of wood. I thought I did a post about it but I can’t find it. Anyway it’s made out of hemlock- which is durable outside (and not the poison that Socrates drank). I put two rings in it and then attach a large derby hay net (one with webbing) in it. I don’t have a roof over it because it might blow over with some of the gale force winds. I do bring in the net and refill every day but that’s okay. If you interested I can send you some photos and dimensions. In the meantime I’ll look for that post.


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