Today was the first test of the new sheep feeder, designed by me but built mostly by The Boy (I did help a little).
The prototype was built earlier in the summer, as I mentioned here. We did modify things a little: instead of cutting the hog panel in half, we bent it, so that if you look at it from the side it makes sort of an L shape, with the long side of the L coming off at an angle. This way the feeder is deeper and can hold more hay – the smallest squares of wire are along the bottom (and yes, some hay will fall through but they will eat it off the ground under the feeder … if it becomes a problem I can always lay boards in there, as well), and then the larger squares are up on the angled piece where the sheep poke their noses through to get the hay.
I’m hoping that because of the height of the feeder and the way it angles down, they will stop pushing their heads all the way through the wire squares, which is seriously annoying (and not good for either the sheep or the feeder). The feeder looks like it’s taller at one end than the other, and it is, but it’s level in the larger scheme of things … the pasture itself is on a bit of a slant. We went with level as opposed to ‘even height from the ground’ so that one end is closer to the ground than the other, which will make it easier for sheep of different heights to eat comfortably.
There’s still a bit more to do out there – those posts leaning up at the end are going to be needed for fence repair and to get the cow’s feeder built – Sasha is out on a tether munching the long grass in the ditch this afternoon, she’s easy to lead out to other grass, so she will be fed that way for a while longer. The grass is free (hay is not!) and she’s portable, so that just makes good sense. Plus it makes her easier to catch when she knows that “most of the time when the person puts that long leash thing on my halter I get to go out and eat all the grass I want”.
Rolling a couple of bales over (with a lot of help from The Boy, whew those are heavy bales!) and feeding everyone and picking up a few things was all I had energy for today. But, I had energy for that, and I did it, and so yay.
Oh, did you notice the bales are all up by the feeders? We didn’t have to move them! My Hay Farmer was able to drive the truck right up the hill and drop the bales where we needed them. Yippee!
Now I can do some indoor work on the computer, which is tiring to the mind but not the body. Oh, but first I need to call the butcher and arrange for some of those sheep to be turned into lamb meat – anyone want some? :)