Goats are difficult to feed – they tend to make a mess, spread their hay, and refuse to eat hay that is dirty or fallen. This means that they waste a lot of hay. Finding the best goat feeder for your herd to keep their food off the ground is key to limiting waste and keeping your goat healthy.
In this post we’ll share what we’ve learned after keeping goat for over a decade with suggestions on the best goat feeder. We’ve tried many feeder over the years and will also outline what to consider before buying or building a goat feeder.
You might also like some other information about raising goats:
- Raising Goats: The Ultimate Guide for Beginners
- The Best Goat Waterer for Your Backyard Farm
- A Small DIY Goat Feeder
Why You Need a Goat Feeder
A goat feeder is an important piece of equipment for your goats – here are a few reasons you need a goat feeder:
- Efficient Feeding: A goat feeder ensures efficient feeding, allowing you to control and monitor the quantity of feed provided to each goat. This is crucial for maintaining their health and nutrition, as goats can be prone to overeating if not regulated.
- Waste Reduction: Using a goat feeder helps minimize feed wastage. Goats can be messy eaters, and without a proper feeder, they may scatter or trample on their food, leading to unnecessary wastage. A feeder helps keep the feeding area organized and reduces the chances of feed spoilage.
- Preventing Contamination: Goat feeders protect the feed from contaminants such as dirt, feces, and debris. Keeping the feed clean is essential for the goats’ well-being, as contaminated food can lead to health issues. A feeder creates a designated space for feeding, minimizing the risk of contamination.
- Space Optimization: Goat feeders contribute to efficient use of space in the barn or pasture. By providing a designated feeding area, you can better organize the space and prevent congestion during feeding times. This is especially important in larger herds where maintaining order during feeding is crucial.
What to Consider when Choosing a Goat Feeder
There are many goat feeders available and which one works best for you will depend on a few specifics on your homestead.
Herd Size: The first thing to consider is the size of your herd. If you have just a few goats, you are better off with a smaller goat feeder. This allows you to easily clean the feeder and add more food often – keeping the food fresh.
Location: You will likely need more than 1 goat feeder if your goats spend time in more than one place. The location of your feeder will dictate whether you need a feeder with a roof or whether it needs to be free-standing or can be wall mounted. You will also consider whether the best goat feeder for your herd is permanent or can be move around.
What you’re Feeding: Specifically the size of your hay will impact the best goat feeder for your herd. If you have a large herd and will be feeding round bales you need a much different feeder that if you will be feeding flakes from a rectangular bale of hay.
Types of Goat Feeders
There are several different types of goat feeders you may want to consider.
- Over-the-wall or Pen-style Feeder: This type of feeder is designed to be mounted over a wall or attached to a pen, providing an individual feeding space. It is often used in individual stalls, particularly during kidding, allowing each goat to have a dedicated feeding area to prevent competition and ensure proper nutrition.
- Basket or Cradle Style Feeder: This feeder lifts the bale of hay off the ground, reducing the chances of contamination. The basket or cradle design allows goats to pull hay from above, minimizing waste and keeping the feeding area cleaner.
- Collapsible Panel Feeder: Collapsible panel feeders are versatile and can be easily moved or adjusted. These feeders consist of panels that can be collapsed for convenient storage or transportation. They offer flexibility in feeding arrangements and are suitable for various herd sizes.
- Rack Feeder (V-shaped): This feeder has a V-shaped design, allowing goats to access hay from both sides. It promotes simultaneous feeding and reduces competition among goats. The V-shape also helps prevent goats from standing or climbing on the feeder, keeping the feeding process more controlled.
- Bunk Style Feeder: Bunk style feeders are open troughs where feed is placed for goats to consume. They are suitable for larger herds and allow multiple goats to feed simultaneously. Bunk feeders are easy to access and promote a communal feeding environment.
- Outdoor Feeders with Roofs: These feeders are equipped with roofs to protect the feed from weather elements such as rain or snow. The roofed design helps keep the feed dry and prevents spoilage, ensuring that goats receive high-quality, uncontaminated food even when feeding outdoors.
The Best Goat Feeder
So – with all that information – which is the best goat feeder for your herd. Here are the goat feeders I recommend:
This is a great feeder that will capture hay and feed. It is similar to the wood one we built for our goats. Your goats will try to stand in the tray so make sure it is firmly mounted to the wall.
This is a much larger feeder that is very sturdy and can be moved inside or outside. If you are feeding young goats be aware that they may climb into the inside of the hay feeder.
I’ve included this here because many people use these – I have struggled trying to use a bag feeder with goats and decided it was more trouble than it’s worth. The one time I do use this is when our goats are kidding and I want to be able to quickly move things around.
Larger Goat Feeders – if you are looking for a larger goat feeder, I recommend checking out Lakeland Farm and Ranch Direct.