The fenceline feeder is in place and ready for use.
The Boy requested a change in feeding strategies this year, and since he does most of the feeding chores, it only seems reasonable to listen to his requests for infrastructure changes.
We ordered several ‘hog panels’ this year and boy, are they nice to have. A hog panel is about 3.5’ high and 12’ wide, made of moderately heavy but still flexible metal – you can bend a panel into a curve to make a hoop house, for instance, but you have to cut the bars with bolt cutters (and lots of pressure), so it’s fairly sturdy stuff. The squares are very small at the bottom and larger at the top, with the biggest openings about 6” around.
One section of fence along the edge of the winter pasture has hog panels attached to the posts, and the sheep are able to stick their noses through and get to the hay stacked on the other side. The hay is held in place by wooden back panels that are pushed up tight to the fence post at the bottom but suspended out at the top to make a v-shape when you view the whole arrangement from the side. The hay is loaded in from the top, slides down, and is easily reached by the sheep through the holes in the fence.
I loaded the new feeder with some ‘test hay’ today (an old bale from last year) and indeed, the sheep came to eat it, so I suppose it’ll work! It is easy to fill and it seems like we’ll have a bit less waste. I also attached the back plywood panels with rope so that when the feeder gets filled with waste stems and such, it’ll be easy to unhook the panels and drop them flat, sweep off the waste, and then lift the panels back in place. That should be much easier than trying to reach in with a pitchfork and dig out the stuff the sheep don’t want.
Like everything else around here, we’ll just have to give it a try and see how it works!
It does feel good to have that job done, though. It is one of those ‘gotta be done before winter’ things, and we’ve had winter sneak up on us before … so it’s good to be ready well in advance!