Horses need access to horse feed, specifically hay and grass, 24 hours a day as they are natural grazers. There isn’t so much grass available in the winter so hay should be used instead. It needs to kept off the ground to minimise waste and to stop the hay getting dirty, this is where a horse feeder comes in. Horse feeders can be bought, but they are also very easy to make yourself and save money. This guide outlines how to make your own horse feeder.
Make a horse feeder
There are several basic types of horse feeder: ground, wall mounted, hanging or round bales.
Ground & wall hanging horse feeders
To make a ground horse feeder, you will need a 1 large sheet of 1inch plywood. Cut out three 40”x18” sheets from the plywood to make up the sides and the floor of the horse feeder. Having a floor to the horse feeder prevents the horse feed from getting dirty. It is also important to make sure you use untreated wood.
Cut out two 18”x22” pieces to form the ends of the horse feeder. The next step is to attach all these together. It is best to do the long (front and back) sides first and then move on to the ends. Use nails or screws to attach them. You can then either put an entire hay bale in the horse feeder or stuff handfuls in.
A variation on the ground feeder, this type of horse feeder can be mounted on the wall of a stall and features and opening and along the length of the bottom. The horse pulls the horse feed from the bottom.
Hanging horse feeders
This type of horse feeder is probably the cheapest and simplest to make, they can come in very handy for use in horseboxes or outside when a horse is at a show. A hanging horse feeder also serves as a good back up to a regular horse feeder should one not be available.
You will need some netting for this, nets from football or hockey goals can be very useful for this. They also need to be hung up high enough so that a horse can’t get his hoof caught in the net. The correct height should mean that the horse has to reach up slightly to get to the horse feed.
Take the net and cut a circle with a diameter of roughly 6 feet. Make sure they cuts are fairly tidy and that they won’t fray too much. Take some fairly thin nylon rope and weave it all the way around the edge of the net to construct the horse feeder. Make sure that you leave enough rope at each end, roughly 12” to use as a drawstring. This rope is also what is used to hang the horse feeder so make sure that it is long enough.
This is another simple and temporary horse feeder. They are exceptionally good if you know that you won’t be able to feed your horse for a several days.
These types of horse feeders use a large, hay bale in the middle. They can be very heavy to move so you build the horse feeder around the hay bale.
Place the bale on top of a wooden pallet and use more pallets to place vertically around the side of the bale, forming a circle around it. The pallets need to be placed so that the slats are vertical. Use some wire and run it through the pallets to keep them vertical and tightly in place. The horse accesses the horse feed by reaching over the ‘fence’ and it ensures that the hay stays clean.