I finally designed and built a Slow Hay Feeder. I started off with a size that could fit a whole bale, but decided to cut back to a smaller one that could just hold 2-3 flakes. The Interior of the box is about 2’x2′. I’m using pressure treated wood. The sides and wall are actually 5/4″ x 6″ Deck boards which have an actual thickness of 1″.
Below are the dimensions and purchase list to make this 2’x2′ slow feeder. But, this is easily customizable to fit your needs!
Skid Boards (Qty 1) 2″x 6″x 8′ PT Wood
(2) @ 20″
Floor Boards & Walls (Qty 4) 5/4″ x 6″ x 8′ PT Deck Boards
(2) @ 21.5″ (Short Floor Boards)
(6) @ 24.5″ (2 Long Floor Boards + 4 Short Wall Boards)
(4) @ 26″ (Long Wall Boards)
Corner Posts (Qty 1) 2″ x 4″ x 8′ PT Wood
(4) @ 15.5″
Lid (Qty 2) 1″ x 4″ x 8′ PT Wood
I recommend cutting these pieces to exact size at the very end. You will need 2 boards for a project of this size in order to get the frame pieces plus brace pieces.
I labeled my boards as I cut them. SF, LF, SW, LW (Short Floor, Long Floor, Short Wall, Long Wall, respectively)
I’ve cut all my wood and lining up the floor. The Skidboards (the 2×6 boards) form the base. The skidboards plus the spacing between all the boards allow for proper airflow through the Hay Feeder.
Start off by attaching the two Short-Floor boards on to the Skidboards with (2) 3″ Exterior/Deck Screws on each side. I decided to attach the middle Floor Boards later, after the Wall Boards are on.
Next, attach the Corner Posts. I used (4) 2″ Exterior/Deck Screws on each Post. I recommend using a square on your Posts as you attach them.
I flipped the assembly on a Short Side so I could attach the Wall Boards easier. Attach the top Wall Board first, making sure it is square and level with the Corner Posts.
Mark about 1/2″ down from the bottom of the top Board, line up the 2nd Wall Board and Attach.
Clamps are helpful!
I was having a hard time getting screws started so I started pre-drilling my holes.
Note: If you have your hinges with you, I would use this as a guide for how far down from the top on the Long Walls to install Screws. I had an overlapping issue later when I went to install my hinges.
Attach the rest of the Wall Boards and flip your Hay Feeder back on its feet. Honestly, I normally don’t cut all my boards up front and here is a good example of why. From math and sketching (and an assumption that boards will be a consistent thickness), the Long Wall Boards should be 26″. But in real life, boards don’t always have the same thickness and my Long Wall Boards ended up being a little too short. If you want, you could wait until the Short Wall Boards are installed and then take a measurement for perfect-sized Long Wall Boards.
Now attach the middle 2 Floor Boards. I just eyeballed the spacing, but it’s about 1/2-3/4″ between the boards.
Next is making the Lid. I measured the Actual Width of my box and cut my 1″x 4″ to size.
Note: I made a random-sized Brace Piece with no thought about it (see below). My recommendation now would be to make sure the length from the corner is at least 4.5″ (Because I ended up using 4″ Hinges and this is where they go. LUCKILY the length below is about 4.25″. phew!). I didn’t have my hinges picked out at this point, so I didn’t know what size spacing I needed.
I cut the Lid Braces and attached them like this! These pieces are holding the Lid frame pieces together. Plus, they prevent the lattice that will go in the Hay Feeder from popping out of the Feeder.
I used some wood glue to help attach these Brace Pieces. I was bad at eyeballing where the glue had to go, so I ended up marking the Lid with where the Braces will sit. I also used (3) 1 1/4″ Exterior Screws on each Brace Piece.
Clamps are helpful again!
I’m using this Vinyl Lattice but there are quite a few options to try. I’ve seen others that use Hog Panel or Nets too. I’m a little concerned with how well this will hold up long term, but I do think the size of the holes is good and that the material (I think) shouldn’t be hard on my horses teeth/gums (like metal can be). I bought a 2’x8′ piece and cut it to length at 2′. The Corner Posts prevent it from fitting properly, so I took tin snips and trimmed the corners until it fell down.
Next is to install the hinges. These are Commercial Hinges and were the only ones I could find that had the holes far down enough that I could attach it to the Wall.
My first attempt at installing the hinges were horrible. In fact I messed up so bad I had to change Sides! SO if you want to save your sanity, I highly suggest attaching the hinge to the Lid first and use a CENTER PUNCH and PRE-DRILL! My drill kept walking and I would end up with off-centered holes which makes the entire thing wonky.
Use the Center Punch first then Pre-Drill.
Now attach the hinge to the Wall. Again Center Punch and Pre-Drill. By the way, this is what I was talking about earlier….making sure that the screws you use to attach your Wall Board don’t interfere with your hinge.
Hinges are installed and the lid opens! In case you’re wondering why I’m missing a screw on the Right Hinge….well, there was a large knot right in that spot and I thought 8 screws is overkill anyway and I was just about done with hinges. So, moving on…
This thing might be small but it is heavy! (At least for me). I had to get the Dolly to move it out to the stall.
I pulled some hay through the holes to get it started.
I’m thinking of installing a latch to keep the lid on. If a piece of hay is tough to get out, it may potentially pop the lid open a little bit.
I’ll post an update when I know if this thing is working or not!
Thanks for Reading!