Homemade DIY Hay Feeder for Goats [17 Designs and Plans!]

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Check out these excellent designs for a DIY hay feeder for goats! Because goats love hay. But they go at a hay feeder like frat boys at a buffet! And they drop a healthy proportion of the fodder on the ground, left to rot and waste away.

To get the most out of every goat hay bale you buy, you need a clever, cost-effective DIY hay feeder for goats. One that doesn’t waste hay like there’s no tomorrow!

We’ve compiled a set of goat hay feeder plans and ideas that address the key issues that define an effective goat hay feeder – reducing your hay costs and labor time while promoting your goat’s health, safety, and productivity.

Adorable goats snacking on hay from the feeder.

Sound good?

Then let’s get ready to dive head first.

Into hay!

17 DIY Goat Hay Feeder Plans and Ideas

goats pigs and sheep around the homemade hay feeder
We searched everywhere to find the best homemade hay feeder for goats – and we want to share our 17 favorites! But first – here’s a neat bale feeder design from old wood pieces and scrap wood. It works perfectly as a hands-off DIY feeding station. The only problem is that everyone showed up. Not just the goat herd! Pigs and sheep too! That’s okay. We’re more than happy to share with our farmyard friends!

The best DIY goat hay feeders use low-cost materials to minimize hay wastage while facilitating easy feeding for goats of various ages and sizes. The best goat hay feeders also manage goat-feeding behaviors, safely optimizing each mouthful of hay while limiting hay spoilage.

To the untrained eye, a goat hay feeder may look simple, but the best goat feeders must address several important issues, including the following.

  • A well-designed modern goat hay feeder must balance farm economics, farmer ergonomics, and goat well-being.
  • Goats can waste as much as 50% of the hay in the feeder by dropping it on the ground (most goats will not eat hay feed that gets dropped and stomped)
  • Wet hay will form mold, a threat to goat health. Hay feeders with ground clearance and a roof prevent rain and ground moisture from rotting the hay.
  • Goats can climb into a hay feeder and spoil much of the hay by excreting on it.
  • Goats can get their horns stuck in hay feeders with wider feeding apertures.
  • The debris (hay chaff) from baled hay can be collected on a hay feeder tray, adding nutritional value to the bale.
  • Goat hay feeders should afford young goats a fair degree of peripheral vision to help them avoid injury by bully goats approaching the hay feeder.
  • A small store-bought goat hay feeder costs around $400.
  • You can make a DIY goat hay feeder for under $50.

Keep these pointers in mind. And let’s investigate 17 DIY goat hay feeders, plans, and ideas that save time, labor, money, and munch!

Sound good?

Then let us roll!

Read More – Ultrasounds and Udder Signs – How To Tell If A Goat Is Pregnant

1. No Trapped Horns IBC Tote Goat Hay Feeder Idea

IBC hay feeder - No waste goat feeder
Examine this excellent design if you’re sick of wasting hay! Norwegian Hillbilly teaches how to make a goat hay feeder using an IBC tote. We love that the large tub design helps prevent spilled hay. The cost of feeding goats isn’t getting any cheaper. This design is thrifty – and helps prevent waste. Count us in!

An IBC tote provides an excellent DIY alternative to a commercial goat hay feeder. A thick tube steel framework and a rugged plastic tank provide the essential materials for the frame, hay basket, base tray, and roof.

For an ingenious reworking of the typical IBC tote DIY goat hay feeder idea, watch how Norwegian Hillbilly ensures his goats enjoy hay meals without getting their horns stuck in the IBC’s steel framework.

  • IBC totes are lightweight, portable, and weatherproof.

Get the idea here.

Used IBC (intermediate bulk container) totes can be sourced cheaply from industrial suppliers and online sellers (check your online classified ad sites).

  • Avoid IBC totes that may carry harmful chemicals.

2. Low-Waste Roofed DIY Horned Goat Hay Feeder Plans

Why the Marc Warnke Horned Goat Feeder Design Works
Here’s another clever hay feeder design for goats that helps prevent waste. Marc Warnke from Pack Goats tested various goat-feeder ideas. And they swear this one is the best! We love how the design prevents goats from quickly pulling their head out of the homemade feeder and spilling hay all over the ground. (It also offers each goat plenty of lateral feeder space – so there’s less squabbling and head-butting.)

Marc Warnke is a pioneering pack goat breeder and adventurer. He also breeds dairy goats. And apart from using his herd of Alpine male goats as pack animals on his hiking and hunting expeditions into the backcountry, Marc also designs efficient goat hay feeders like this on his website, packgoats.com.

The plans show how to build a hay feeder for horned goats that virtually eliminate hay waste by getting the goats to commit to a position at the feeder by creating a framework of wooden apertures.

  • No hay falls on the ground when the goat’s head remains in the feeder during the feeding process. In other words – practically zero wasted hay!

The materials include 4 x 4 and 2 x 4 timber lengths, plywood boards, and a metal roof to keep the rain off the hay.

  • The plans cost $19.50. But if you’re a seasoned carpenter, you’ll have the idea waxed by watching this video.

Get the plans here.

3. Budget Indoor Wire Rack Goat Hay Feeder Ideas

Easy Cheap DIY Goat livestock Hay Feeder
Do you have leftover wire panel pieces and some scrap pieces of wood or two-by-fours? Then here’s the hay feeder goat design we love the most. It’s not as elegant or luxurious as other DIY goat feeders. But it looks nice, can get assembled nearly anywhere in a few simple steps, and you only need some wire!

A wall-mounted rack hay feeder is a surefire way of preventing goats from climbing into the feeder and spoiling the grub with pee and poop. You can DIY a goat hay feeder from a wire rack like this one from potagergirl.

You’ll need a 6’ x 2’ panel of welded 2” x 4” livestock fencing. Plus, a pair of long-handle wire cutters and pliers (to bend the cut wire).

  • This DIY project requires a lot of cutting and bending of wire. And that’s it – the job was easier than expected!

This goat hay feeder idea is so cost-effective that you can make a dozen rack feeders for several feeding pens (outdoors, too) for under $65!

Another cool thing is that anyone can easily make these hay slip rack feeders. And they make excellent gifts for other goat owners in the tribe!

Get the idea here.

4. Small Goat DIY Hayrack and Bunk Feeder Plans

lovely homemade hay feeder for goats
This beautiful DIY goat feeder design by Suzanne Cox via grit.com features a sturdy wooden hayrack and a reliable-looking hay catcher. It’s charming! We admit the plans for this homemade hay feeder are more complicated than other goat feeder plans on our list. But we bet your goats – and other farmyard companions – will thank you for the effort!

For the project-hungry DIYer, this classic 4’ goat hay feeder plan from grit.com will get your power tools earning their keep and your goats applauding your craftsmanship!

Ideal for small goat breeds and young goats, this hay feeder plan uses 2” x 4” and 4” x 4” lumber, plywood board, a cattle panel, woodscrews, and ‘U’ nails (aka fencing staples).

A circular saw, reciprocating saw or handsaw also helps build sturdy legs and a base for the hayrack and feed bunker or tray.

  • Use bolt cutters or an angle grinder to cut the cattle panel easily.

The feed bunker/tray serves two purposes – a trough for goat feed pellets and a ‘drip tray’ to catch falling hay and chaff from the hayrack.

The design incorporates a pair of skids to help move the feeder without fuss. Neat!

Get the plans here.

5. All-Wood ‘X’-Frame Goat Hay Feeder Idea

Building a goat feeder that actually works?!
Harper Valley Farm noticed that their goats wasted too much hay! As soon as the hay feed hits the ground – their goats lose interest. So they built this oversized hay feeder! We think the results look promising so far. (Notice the lengthy hay catcher to help snag any lost hay before it hits the ground. Perfect.)

A goat hay feeder with a large catch tray made entirely from timber (plus screws) not only looks great but is also lightweight for easy moving around the pasture, and can get made using repurposed lumber, like this idea from Harper Valley Farm.

The builder in this video uses a table saw with a miter saw to cut lengths of timber board to various sizes and thicknesses to create angled timber joints for an old-world hay basket supported by ‘X’-frame legs.

  • Two 4’ x 2” x 2” base skids provide ample stability for the hayrack without adding undue weight to the feeder.

A large plywood catch tray framed with 2” x 2” and 2” x 4” lumber lengths provides a large surface area beneath the hay basket preventing hay from falling to the ground.

Get the idea here.

6. Timber Goat Hay Feeder Plans With Roof and Trough

custom diy hay feeder for goats
We love My Simple Country Living’s thrifty hay feeder made from scrap lumber! This one got made using culled lumber from a local hardware store. Perfect. Notice the overhead roof to help protect from bad weather. And it’s sturdy enough to handle several adult sheep! (Credit goes to My Simple Country Living for a genius goat feeder idea.)

Preventing goats from tipping over the hay feeder is crucial to avoid hay wastage. This set of plans from My Simple Country Living can get made with salvaged lumber of various dimensions and a couple of sheets of roofing material.

  • A traditional ‘V’-shaped wooden hayrack sits beneath a steel roof supported by solid 2” x 6” timber posts.

The feed trough acts like a catch tray made from plywood. And it gets framed with bulky 2” x 6” lumber.

The foundation legs use 6” x 6” timber studs, providing a super-sturdy footing for the lofty hay feeder.

Get the sketch planhere.

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7. Easy DIY Square Bale Goat Hay Feeder Plans

small custom diy hay feeder for goats
Here’s a classic hay goat feeder from Gary Pfalzbot, founder of GoatWorld. In contrast to many other DIY hay feeders, this specimen is shockingly square. And small! We also love the detailed instructions to help construct the fun project without fuss – and without spending too much cash on fancy goat feeder parts. (This hay feeder does not include a cover – however, the instructions share tips for adding one, should you wish.)

Cut down on goat feeding labor time with a wood-frame hay feeder proportioned to accommodate a two-string square hay bale. Drop the bale in the feeder, remove the string, and fluff up the hay for easy nibbling!

This set of plans from goatworld.com includes a comprehensive bill of materials and tools list. The cut lengths for standard 2” x 4” timber studs also get covered in the plans.

The hay feeder is an easy and low-cost DIY project, requiring a circular saw, a drill, a hammer, nails, and bolts.

The finished project is ideal for small goatherds and can easily accommodate a roof (as shown in the plans).

Get the plans here.

8. Roofed Goat Hay Feeder on Wheels Plans

custom barnyard hay feeder for hungry goats
Wow. We’re not sure what we love more. This vintage-looking yet new hay feeder from Lucky Penny Acres, or the cool-looking goat! We think the hay feeder has a classic farmyard style and seems to house heaping loads of yummy hay. But their goats are adorable! (Also, notice the two goat feeder wheels for added mobility. Nice.)

Moving your goat hay feeder singlehandedly (even when it’s full of hay) will bring valuable versatility to your feeding routine – a food truck for goats! This set of plans comes from luckypennyacres.org – a funky and fun DIY build!

The roofed hay feeder can get made using repurposed timber, steel mesh, roofing material, hinges, screws, and old wheels from a wheelbarrow or similar farm implement.

  • If you don’t have a pair of trolley wheels lying around, you can buy a new set here.

This design is rustic and easy to build. It also has two critical design features to optimize hay consumption – a hinged roof and a catch tray.

Best of all, this hay feeder is mobile!

Get the plans here.

9. Budget-Friendly DIY Pallet Goat Hay Feeder Idea

How To Build The 3 Pallet Hay Feeder
Nobody needs to tell us about the high cost of feeding cattle. We know! So when we saw this borderline-genius DIY goat hay feeder made from leftover pallets, we were psyched – and wanted to share it with you! SSLFamilyDad shows us how. It’s one of the most creative ideas we’ve seen for a homemade hay feeder. And all you need are a few leftover pallets, a cordless drill, and thirty minutes of spare time. Easy work!

Repurposing shipping pallets can be a royal pain, but with the right tools and a bright idea for a goat hay feeder, you can stretch every hay bale to the max, as SSLFamilyDad has done with this budget-savvy pallet manger.

  • Safely remove a few slats from two matching pallets using a pallet buster to spare your limbs and the timber!
  • Cross the two pallets to form an ‘X’-shaped cradle and screw them together.
  • Use the removed slats to brace the sides of the ‘X’ pallets.
  • Break a third pallet and use two thick pallet stringers (the timber beams in the center of the pallet) as base stabilizers for the hay feeder.
  • Saw off excess wood from the sides of the hay feeder.

Important – only use untreated (non-toxic) pallets!

Here’s what makes this hay feeder idea so cool. You can sometimes get pallets for free from your local hardware or feed store. Ask around!

Get the idea here.

Read More – Can Goats Eat Cucumbers?

10. Nigerian Dwarf Goat Hay Feeder Plans With Roof

Nigerian Dwarf Goat No Waste Hay Feeder
We already have a few massive and oversized homemade hay feeders on our list. So we wanted to include this lovely miniature variety from Johnson Family Farmstead! It’s perfect for feeding miniature goats – or any micro cattle who need easy access to dinner!

Here’s a neat little hay feeder for a herd of Nigerian Dwarf goats that goes the extra mile to ensure the hay stays dry and healthy while strategically limiting hay wastage. Using store-bought standard timber and hardware, Johnson Family Farmstead demonstrates how to assemble this funky little manger.

The video shows you what the goat hay feeder looks like and includes (in the video description) a materials list and cut lengths, plus handy tips to ensure an economical and durable DIY build.

The key hay-saving features include:

  • A cattle panel
  • A tin roof
  • A plywood tray
  • Long wooden stabilizers

This goat hay feeder looks beautiful! It’ll also cut your hay bill and prevent goat illness!

Get the plans here.

11. Low-Cost Pallet Goat Hay Feeder Idea

Rocky Hollow Homestead shows how to make one of the niftiest homemade goat hay feeders using only one pallet! We admit it’s not the most elegant design on our list. But it’s arguably the cheapest and easiest homemade goat feeder we’ve seen all year. Put your old pallets to good use!

Do you have a nail gun? Great! You can make a low-waste goat hay feeder for free using your old nails and screws and free pallet wood, as did Rocky Hollow Homestead.

  • The idea is rustic and rugged. And it serves well for kids and small goat breeds.

You may want to add a cordless nail gun to your toolshed. Along with a pallet buster.

You won’t save 100% of the hay you toss in this pallet cradle, but you will save on the build costs!

Get the idea here.

12. DIY Recycled Barrel Goat Hay Feeder Idea

DIY 55 Gallon Plastic Barrel Hay Feeder
Here’s another creative homemade hay feeder for goats that we’ve never seen before from Whitehouse Farm. It’s a unique style feeder that attaches to the cattle fence. Neat! We love the massive surface area that goats get when feeding from the hay feeder. It creates a feeding frenzy for hungry goats! (We bet other animals would love this too.)

A budget-friendly homestead project is always a hit! And this DIY goat hay feeder can get made using your existing goat pen fencing and a recycled plastic 55-gallon drum. Reduce hay wastage and keep the hay dry for next to nothing, as Whitehouse Farm demonstrates.

Get your hands on a used food-grade 55-gallon plastic drum and cut it in half lengthwise (lid to base).

  • reciprocating saw cuts plastic best.
  • You can also cut plastic with a circular saw by reversing the blade.

Cut the lid off the drum. Aim so it refits as a hinged roof. Drill holes in the drum and attach it to your goat fence exterior using UV-resistant zip ties.

Refit the lid to the fence-mounted half-drum. Attach to the fence using zip ties.

Lift the lid and drop in the hay. Voila!

If you repurpose one of your food-grade barrels and have the right saw, you can make this DIY goat hay feeder for less than $10.

This idea rocks because it’s super low-cost, the half-barrel is durable and rainproof, and it keeps the hay off the ground. Boxes checked!

Get the idea here.

Read More – 10 DIY Goat Shelter Plans + Tips For Building The Best Goat Shelter

13. Neat-Hinged Goat Hay Fence-Feeder with Roof Idea

DIY Hay Feeder For Goats and Other Livestock
Homesteadonomics created another homemade hay feeder for goats that attaches perfectly to the goat fence for easy feeding. This fence-style feeder offers plenty of space for your hungry goats to pull as much hay as they need without fuss. And without getting their heads stuck in the hay feeder!

Are you getting bruised at feeding time getting your goat? Check this idea for a low-waste goat hay feeder from Homesteadonomics – a pitched roof keeps the hay dry, a catch tray keeps the dropped goat hay off the ground, and a hinged hay basket rocks in a cattle panel which forms part of the goat yard fencing – brilliant!

A cattle panel forming part of the goat enclosure gets a part of it cut out. A timber frame is positioned in the space, while the cut-out acts like a feeder net for the hinged hay basket.

The V-shaped hay basket gets made from board and sheet metal. It hinges on the timber frame.

A steel roof mounts to the top of the timber frame.

  • This design is ideal for goat keepers who risk injury from boisterous goats.

Solution – Fill the hay feeder from outside the goat yard!

Get the idea here.

14. Funky Little Goat Hay Feeder Idea on Skids With a Roof

NO WASTE Goat Hay Feeder
Nigerian Dwarf Goats eat a surprising amount of hay! But many homemade goat feeder styles can’t accommodate their boxy frames. That’s why we’re taking a second look at this clever homemade hay feeder for goats by Bumpy Road Farm, NC. The feeder offers a similar feeding surface to the fence-feeder designs but offers much more flexibility and easier access. (There’s no cattle fence required! – And the feeder size easily accommodates shorter cattle or farm animals.)

Fancy a small goat hay feeder that saves hay and moves around the homestead? Here’s an efficient design from Bumpy Road Farm, NC. It includes a cabin-like superstructure with a red roof, solid sides, and a pair of skids for efficient mobility.

The idea uses standard 2” x 4”, 4” x 4”, and plywood for most of the hay feeder. A tin roof on hinges and a catch feed tray house a V-shaped wire basket.

We love this design because it’s pretty, effective at reducing hay waste, and it can relocate using a small tractor!

Get the idea here.

15. Easy DIY Round Bale Goat Hay Feeder Idea

Feeding Round Hay Bales to Sheep and Goats
Laid-back farmers, behold! Rolling ”O” Farm discovered the fastest and easiest way to turn a massive hay bale into a DIY homemade hay feeder for goats. Without too much work or needing pesky hardware tools! (They used a 16-foot welded wire cattle fence to hold the massive hay bale in place. It’s perfect, low-cost, and has no fuss. We love their style!)

Leaving a round hay bale outdoors on the ground and unprotected from the rain is a surefire way to lose money and risk infecting your goats with the deadly listeriosis bacteria which propagates in moldy hay.

To get the best out of your round hay bales, watch how Rolling “O” Farm keeps hay dry and tight in a cheap (and easy) bulk hay feeder for goats.

  • Drop a pallet in the meadow.
  • Push the round hay bale onto the pallet.
  • Cut the wire off the bale and wrap a 16’ cattle panel around the elevated hay bale.
  • Secure the cattle panel by linking the ends with carabiner clips.
  • Place a tarp or tin sheet on top of the round hay bale.
  • Lash the tarp or tin to the cattle panel with ropes.

This idea is cheap and easy to DIY. It’s goat-friendly and easy to manage too.

As the hay gets depleted, draw the cattle panel into a smaller circle and (with the roof/tarp off) push down on the goat hay and reattach the roof. Presto!

Get the idea here.

16. Step-Up Indoor DIY Low-Waste Goat Hay Feeder

No Hay Waste Goat Feeder
Hike Yakima Washington created an excellent and vintage-looking DIY homemade hay feeder for goats. We love this style of design for wooden indoor barn interiors. The DIY goat feeder uses a four-foot by eight-foot wooden frame and some two-by-fours.

A cunning way to prevent goats from dropping hay on the ground is to get them to commit to their place at the hay feeder. A step-up design gets excellent results, as demonstrated by Hike Yakima Washington with an indoor hay feeder for hornless goats.

A timber frame for a plywood step attached to a plywood feeding bin gets the goats to step up to the feeding bin, effectively preventing them from dragging hay away from the feeder.

Slanted wooden slats serve as feeding bays for smaller goat breeds.

This concept can also work outdoors – add a roof and ask your goats to step up to the plate. (So to speak!)

Get the idea here.

Read More – Can Goats Eat Oats? Whole Rolled, Steel-Cut, Or Quick Oats?

17. Kid-Safe Single or Double-Sided Goat Hay Feeder Plans

single sided feeder for large sheep and rams
We saved one of our favorites for last! Here’s a homemade hay feeder for goats with detailed instructions from Premier 1 Supplies. It’s one of the most comprehensive and accurate hay bale feeder blueprints we could find. However, it’s also more complex than other projects. Serious carpenters and DIY enthusiasts only! (Download the DIY goat feeder plans here in PDF format.)

It’s often a good idea to have separate feeding pens for goats of different ages and sizes (and temperaments). This set of DIY hay feeder plans from Premiere1Supplies includes:

  • double-sided goat hay feeder. It’s perfect for a dual-pen feeding setup and peaceful mealtimes.
  • single-sided goat hay feeder! It allows humans to fill the feeder without entering the feeding pen (safer for kids and novice goat tenders).

The popular design uses 2” x 4” timber, plywood boards, steel mesh, barbed staples, and woodscrews.

Premier1Supplies sells a steel mesh feeder insert that serves as the basket for the hay, but a standard cattle panel will do the trick just as well (for several dollars less!).

Get the plans here.

For a pictorial of how the single-sided goat hay feeder works at feeding time, check how homesteader-blogger ChallengedSurvival made the plan come together.

Make Your Hay Feeder the Greatest of All Time!

Let’s conduct a quick recap then of the vital specs to help you DIY the Greatest-Of-All-Time goat hay feeder:

  • Roof the hay feeder.
  • Ensure the feeder openings are small to allow for conservative mouthfuls only.
  • Add a catch tray.
  • Build a step-up platform.
  • Enclose the sides of the feeder to prevent kid goats from jumping in.

Stick to these guidelines and get inspiration from these plans and ideas. You’ll be saving money and enjoying healthy goats in no time whatsoever!

Hay Feeder for Goats – FAQs

Raising goats is a ton of work! Raising goats is even trickier if you don’t have a reliable hay feeder.

So – we amassed the following FAQ section for any homesteader who needs help with their goat hay feeder.

We hope they help you. And your hungry goats!

How Do You Make a Hay Feeder for Goats?

Here’s how to make an efficient goat hay feeder. Use wooden boards to create a framework for a wire mesh hay basket and a tin roof. Use plywood to make a hay catch tray. Build a plywood step for the goat’s front legs.

How Do You Make a No-Waste Hay Feeder?

The best way to build a no-waste goat hay feeder is to create individual feeding slots for the goats to access the hay. Vertical or diagonal wooden slats create separate feeding stalls at the feeding bin or trough. A step in front of the feeder raises the goat’s front legs, making them commit to their position at the hay feeder.

How Do You Make a Hay Feeder Out of Pallets?

You can use pallets to make a goat hay feeder in several ways. Start By breaking apart the pallet. You can use individual pallet boards to build a traditional V-shaped hay manger. You can DIY an X-frame for a goat hay feeder by removing unwanted wooden boards from two or three pallets.

How Do You Make a Hay Feeder Out of a Plastic Barrel?

Cut a large plastic barrel in half from the lid to the base. Cut the barrel lid off, then drill holes in the half-barrel and half-lid. Attach the half-barrel to the outside of the feed yard fence with zip ties. Ensure the half-barrel is 12 inches off the ground. Attach the half-lid to the cattle or goat fence with zip ties, allowing it to open to place hay in the half-barrel.

What Can I Use as a Hay Rack?

Square mesh fencing can make a low-cost hay rack for indoor and outdoor mounting on walls and fences. Wooden boards can also work as an indoor slatted hay rack that mounts to a wall.

How Do You Make a Hay Ring?

The best material to make a hay ring is a 16-foot cattle panel, a pallet, a tarp or tin roofing, rope, and four carabiner clips. Lay the pallet flat on the ground and position the round hay bale end-up on the pallet. Pull the cattle panel wire mesh around the hay bale and fasten the ends with carabiner clips. Cover the round hay bale with a tarp or tin sheeting and secure them to the cattle panel using a rope.


Thanks for reading our lofty list of 17 hay feeders for goats!

Which DIY hay feeder do you like the most?

Or – do you have more questions about how to build a decent hay feeder?

Let us know!

Thanks again for reading.

And have a great day!

Hay Feeder Resources, References, and Works Cited:

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