Process of Selecting a Feeder for Goats

Raising goats and other livestock can be an extremely rewarding experience, but with that reward comes responsibility. You must feed your goats every single day. That’s where goat feeders help to make the process more efficient.

Selecting a feeder for goats is an opportunity to make sure they get the feed they need throughout the day. Feeders can be filled with enough feed to last the whole day or longer. Feeders come in different shapes and sizes and you must choose one that best suits your needs.

Your goat feeder needs to have all the options that best fit your operation. If you have more than one goat or goats with different diets, you may want to consider a feeder that holds hay as well as pellets and grain.

A good goat feeder should be easy to operate and easy to clean. Some very simple models help you get the job of feeding your goats completed with very little effort.

Goats don’t just feed on the grass on your property, they must also be fed hay and grains to supplement their diet. In winter months there is no grass or shrubs for them to feed on so they must be fed by you, with a routine and schedule.


Why Goat Feeders Help

Not everyone who raises livestock can be home 24 hours a day. We have jobs, school, and other obligations. Goat feeders are a way for us to have the feed they need on the spot throughout the day.

Most goats are high-producing animals, which means they need more energy to produce the milk, and meat that they are raised for. Even if your goats are just pets, they still need to be fed daily.

Goat feeders are an efficient way to improve your livestock operation. Time is money after all, and to save time while still taking care of your responsibilities is a great way to make your operation more profitable.

Tips for Choosing the Right Feeder

With all of the different feeders out there it can be hard to weed out which ones are better to suit your needs. While most feeders will get the job done, some will have more benefits than others.

The most important part of selecting a feeder for goats is that it is accessible to your goats.

Things to consider:

  • A goat feeder may need to hold more than one type of feed
  • You may need a feeder combo
  • The feeder needs to be the right height for your goats
  • If it is made from plastic it should be made from safe materials

Tip – Make sure that you choose a feeder that is easy to clean. A lot of feeders have nooks and crannies that are hard to reach.

Tip – If you need to move your feeder around choose one that is easily accessible and moveable.


Types of Goat Feeders

There are four main types of goat feeders. We have put together this resource for you so that you will have more information when picking out which one is right for your situation.

The four main types:

  1. A hanging feeder
  2. A mounted feeder
  3. Trough feeder
  4. Hook over wall feeder

Each one has it’s own benefits, so let’s take a look at them and find out which one is designed for your particular operation.

Hanging Feeders

Feeders that hang must have a post or beam to hang from. They attach to the ceiling from a hook or beam and hang down with a chain. Hanging feeders need to be adjustable in height so that they can be lowered for smaller goats.

Hanging feeders are great for barns that have a lot of wooden beams or posts for them to hang from. They hold hay and in some cases multiple kinds of feed. A hanging waterer is also an option.

Mounted Feeders

Mounted goat feeders mount onto a wall or a post and hold a supply of hay or grains. These feeders are sturdy and hold up nicely to heavy use. They need a strong surface to attach to.

They limit your ability to move them around, you can remove them from a wall but they must still be put back up on another wall or post.

Trough Feeders

Trough feeders are square, round, or rectangular trough style feeders. They hold a good amount of hay or feed and since they are stand-alone feeders they can be moved easily to different areas. This is perfect for goat operations that move goats to different areas throughout the months.

Some trough feeders must be used indoors only because they have no cover to keep the elements from getting the hay and feed wet. Other trough feeders are covered and are acceptable for outdoor use.

Hook Over Wall Feeders

Hook over wall feeders attach to half walls and stalls. They are very useful for moving around your barn or goat housing. You can hook it over the stall with your goat kids, or move it to another stall for adults.

Most goat operations have kids, nannies, and bucks, so to be able to easily unhook the feeder and move it to the different stalls for each of the goats is a great design.

More Goat Feeder Selection Tips

Here are a few more tips for selecting a goat feeder.

  • If your goat eats its feed too fast, consider selecting a creep feeder for goats. This makes the goat have to pull its feed out of holes in a sack or from feeder with a metal grid.
  • Goats need minerals as well as feed, you may want to find a mineral goat feeder that disperses minerals and vitamins such as salt and other supplements.

Goat Feeder Materials

Goat feeders can be made from different materials and some hold up over time better than others, making this an important consideration when selecting a feeder for goats. Plastic feeders are an inexpensive feeder that gets the job done, just make sure the plastic is BPA free and safe for animals.

Metal feeders hold up much better than plastic. They can be a little bit heavier but the stronger materials make them a higher quality feeder. Some are stainless steel and can be used outdoors.

Another option is sack feeders, these are usually made out of burlap sacks, they hold hay and grains and hang from a hook or beam. These are the cheapest feeders, however, they run the risk of getting chewed up by the goats.

Some feeders are built out of wood, these are usually home-made feeders and are easy to make with supplies from your local hardware store. You must have tools to build these and some construction knowledge.

Goat Feeder Combos

Another option to consider when selecting a feeder for goats is combo feeders. Sometimes goats need supplemental feeding with grains. These feeders have multiple compartments that hold hay in one side and grains and pellets in the other.

There are also feeder and waterer combos that hold both hay and water. These types of feeders are made out of BPA free plastic or stainless steel. Some of them are hanging feeders and others mount to the wall. There also combo options for feeder troughs.


Home-Made Feeders

Home-made options can also come in handy for those who cannot go selecting feeders for goats at the store.With tools, skills in construction and some extra lumber you can build home-made feeders.

This is a great way to use what you have available. They can be built with 2×4 lumber and plywood. You also have the option of using 1×4 lumber and tin for a cover.

Another great option for home-made feeders is using PVC pipes. They have attachments that make it easy to build a square feeder, those plus a few other materials such as zip ties and you will have a lightweight, movable feeder.

Covered Feeders for Outdoors

If you are going to have your feeders outdoors you may want to consider buying a feeder that is covered. Goats do not like to get wet, so you will most likely be feeding them indoors mostly, but there is the option of also having outdoor feeders when the weather is nice.

You can choose from plastic feeders, and stainless steel feeders (to avoid rust) or home-made wooden or PVC feeders. Having different options help make your operation improve and grow larger.


No Waste Feeders

One of the main benefits to feeders is that they are, for the most part, no waste feeders. However, this is not the case for all feeders. Some feeders are built with a grid that allows some of the hay to fall to the ground.

To get the most out of your feeder you should consider one that is closed off on the bottom. The open grid designs make it easy for multiple goats to feed, being able to reach in from multiple angles, but they also lose a lot of feed to the ground.

To be more efficient use feeders that do not allow hay or feed to fall to the ground. No waste hay feeders save your money and keep the feed from getting soiled.

Related Questions

Are there mechanical goat feeders? Some feeders are mechanical, these are usually used on farms that have largescale operations. They allow the feed to be timed and released in different quantities. These types of feeders are considered farming equipment.

Can goat feeders be dangerous? Goat feeders are rarely dangerous. Most of them are designed without sharp edges and are made from safe plastics and materials. Grid feeders may run the risk of goats getting their heads or legs stuck in the grid but they can usually work their way out of them.

Chad Kilpatrick

Chad Kilpatrick is a writer who loves animals and is dedicated to bringing reliable information to people about automatic animal feeders.

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