After finishing the mosaic table that goes on the patio out back I was still in the mood for construction. Earlier I figured a milking stand would be nice for when that time comes around again, rather than milking on my knees in the stall.
I got some free plans from a great web site my sister and I both refer to (she for the cheese, me for the husbandry and the stand plans). I had started building the milking stand and was in fact, almost finished when I got another idea. The milking stand could be put on hold for a while, since the sheep will not be ready to be milked at least until the end of December (if all goes well). I thought I was in need of a sheep feeder.
It would be something I could throw the flakes of hay into with the idea that there would be less wasted material on the ground. Also, if they were not eating the hay off the ground, then presumably they would be less likely to pick up something they shouldn't, like worms or wires, or whatever.
I had attempted to make something resembling a feeder several months ago. I used scrap wood and screws that we already had. The problem was I didn't really have a plan. That feeder lasted about two days before the sheep totally tore it apart. Admittedly, it was a bit flimsy. The only thing it ended up feeding was the chimenea.
A couple weeks ago I sent my shearing blades to get sharpened by Premier 1 Sheep Supplies in Idaho. As usual, when they returned the sharpened blades they included their latest catalogue. In it they had wire panels you could buy to install in a sheep feeder you build using local materials. They also had plans you could download for free for various sized feeders.
So naturally I looked at the photos and decided I could make my own feeder and I could find my own wire panels to insert.
I actually did download one of the plans, but it was just a little confusing to me so I ended up not using it at all. I made my own plans by looking at the pictures in the catalogue and came up with my own dimensions.
Everything went really well. I only had to unscrew some boards once to put the plywood underneath them instead of on top. (It was for the bottom piece of plywood, where the hay falls into.) The lumber and screws cost about $60.
Next I had to find the wire panels that make the "V" that hold the hay. I thought the 2"X4" horse fence was too small, and the 6"X6" cattle panels were too big. I went to the local Tractor Supply Company and they had 4"X4" utility panels. That was exactly what I was looking for. The only problem with that was they cost $31.48 each. Good thing I only needed one.
Well, the thing is done and built at a relatively inexpensive cost. It's been in the sheep pen for a week now and doesn't seem to be falling apart (at least not yet). I think it's doing what it's supposed to be doing.
If I were to do it again, I might make it a little wider next time. Also I don't need the "walk through" aspect of it (there is a six inch board on the bottom above the plywood that you can walk on) so I would change that too.
My Honey Bunny asked if I was going to paint it. I said "No, what for?" His response was that it would burn better in the chimenea!