A feeder is a device used for the controlled feeding of animals. It provides effective feeding, prevents the process of spoilage of feed materials that can fall on the ground or floor in the utility room. The feeder can also be used to feed liquid feed without wasting it unnecessarily.
The goat is a domesticated animal belonging to the artiodactyl species from the family of small ruminants. It is an animal showing a specific attitude to the feeding process. Goats show signs of being fastidious about certain types of food, as well as the ways in which this food is offered to them. To ensure the best results in feeding these animals, it is worth resorting to arranging a specialized feeder that meets all the needs of these animals.
When producing a goat feeder, you should pay attention to the list of the main nuances that determine its suitability.
The design of the device should ensure that it can be easily cleaned of old feed and protect against loss of feed materials. During the feeding process, goats may unconsciously scatter their food. That part of it that falls to the floor, they will no longer eat. This means that if the design of the feeder allows for the loss of feed from it, then it is ineffective, which leads to the emergence of unjustified costs aimed at feeding. To avoid the problem described above, it is worth excluding the presence of holes, slots, low sides and other similar features of the feeder so that the goats do not scatter hay.
An important criterion for determining a feeder as suitable is its safety. Structural parts must not have sharp, protruding parts on which animals could be injured.
Security measures include the availability of a sufficient amount of free space . If the farm has several heads, then it is necessary to provide a separate feeder for each animal or equip a segmented structure that will allow them to feed from one place without harming each other.
The importance of safety in this regard is due to the fact that goats are actively competitive animals. In the process of feeding, situations may arise that lead to mutual traumatism of individuals.
The location of the feeder is a criterion included in the list of the main parameters of this device. Domestic goats originate from wild artiodactyl rocks. At the genetic level, they are adapted to climb hills, marked by steep slopes. A feeder installed in a barn or on the territory of a farm should not encourage goats to awaken the instinct of mountain animals. They should not have the opportunity to jump onto the device, which could lead to injury to individual individuals, damage to the food unit and the food in it.
In addition, the height at which the trough is installed can determine its suitability for feeding. If it is too high, it can cause the animals to injure the throat or refuse to use this device. If it is set too low, it will reduce the desire of animals to feed from such a feeder, since it will create significant inconveniences for them due to the difference between their height and the height of its location.
It is important to consider the distinctive characteristics of each animal. The access to the feeder is arranged in such a way that goats can freely enter it and not get stuck in it. This is especially true if the herd contains individuals with pronounced bony processes in the upper part of the head - horns.
Taking into account the factor of congenital finickyness of goats to keeping conditions, it will be useful to provide a special covering for the material from which the feeder is made. It is worth using clean, non-toxic coatings that do not have a strong odor. For these purposes, a clear water-based varnish is suitable. Its use will protect the wood used to assemble the feeder from pests and decay.
Correct trough configuration assumes no internal protrusions. Sometimes goats nibble on such protrusions, which can lead to injury and damage to the integrity of the device body.
Types of structures
Goat feeders differ in purpose, which is determined by the name of the feed material placed in them. Among the main types of structures, one can note those that are used for distribution:
- loose or liquid feed;
- edible material of plant origin;
- combined food.
In its capacity, such mixtures as compound feed, bran, grain combinations and others can be supplied. These types of feed are used to activate the processes of intensive growth of fat and muscle mass of the animal. In this case, the trough should be equipped in such a way that the feed is eaten completely, which will ensure the best feeding result.
May include dry food ingredients diluted with water to a liquid or semi-liquid state. Also used are mixtures containing silage impurities or the so-called vinasse, which is a waste product of various types of food production.
Edible plant material
It can be hay, straw, dry corn trunks. In addition, fresh vegetation is used as this food, suitable for consumption by goats. Some farmers use fodder beets, apples, potatoes and other vegetables and fruits as vegetable feed.
When developing the design of a future goat feeder, it is worth considering the nature of the feed, which will mainly be fed to the animals. It is important to calculate in advance the purpose, shape, size and location of the feed dispenser: whether it will be a nursery, street or French feeder.
Design drawings, materials and tools used for manufacturing depend on these factors.
Required materials and tools
Natural wood is considered the best material for making goat feeders. It is non-toxic and better accepted by animals. Since goats are picky animals, the use of artificial materials such as plastic, metal, film, and others can push them away and cause them to stop using this dispenser for feeding.
From wooden materials you will need:
- boards - dimensional parameters depend on the characteristics of the future device;
- slats and bars.
- self-tapping screws;
- fastening devices (plates, corners);
- a hacksaw for wood or a jigsaw equipped with a saw blade for sawing wood;
- drill, screwdriver;
- measuring instruments (ruler or tape measure);
- marking devices (marker, pencil);
- related tools.
How to make
The most advantageous option for a goat feeder is its combined type, adapted for use in combination with different types of feed. To meet the individual needs of animals and take into account the special conditions of detention, you can use other original ideas for assembling feeders. For example, when setting up a feed dispenser for little kids.
It is a trapezoidal wooden box. The manufacturing process can be divided into three stages:
- assembly of walls;
- bottom device;
The walls of such a catering unit are wooden shields fastened together. The far wall (back) - opposite to the side from which the animals will approach, has a higher height parameter than the front one.
To make it, it is necessary to saw off from the boards, prepared in advance, several segments equal to the width of the feeder. The combined width of these boards must match the height of the back wall.
With the help of strips, these segments are fastened in such a way that a wooden shield is obtained. Each board must be attached to the rail using at least two screws or nails.
If you use one self-tapping screw at each point of their contact, then you can get the effect of diagonal displacement of structural elements, which will reduce the strength of the product and lead to the formation of a diamond-shaped walls.
The front wall is assembled in a similar way. Its height should be equal to half of this parameter of the back wall. To ensure the best proportions in the ratio of the sizes of these walls, the back one should be made according to the average values.
The trapezoidal shape is achieved after the walls are attached to the bottom. Its length should be equal to the length of the sides, and its width should be at least half the distance between the upper edges of the front and rear walls. This form allows the animals to eat the maximum amount of food, without any residue.
The side panels are installed last. In their capacity, you can use small shields assembled from the same boards as the rest of the structure. It is not necessary to make them in the form of a trapezoid, repeating the side profile of the feeder. The side boards of a rectangular shape will protrude beyond the perimeter of the trough, which will provide additional supports and eliminate the factor of structure instability.
If you plan to fill the feeder with liquid feed, it is necessary to seal the joints between the boards that make up the device. To achieve this goal, additional boards or slats can be nailed from the outside, which will pass along the joints.
It is important that the sharp parts of self-tapping screws or nails do not protrude beyond the perimeter of the structure. If nails were used, they should be folded on the other side. If you use self-tapping screws, it is worth calculating their length in such a way that it is enough to firmly fasten the parts, but no more.
To increase the strength of the structure, it is worth strengthening the abutment of all parts to each other. Metal perforated corners work well for this purpose.
After assembly, the feeder is installed on a raised platform or attached to the wall above the floor. Taking into account the innate craving of goats for the hills, you can arrange the feeding place as follows: install a suitable "table" on which the animal will climb. Make the feeder at a sufficient height, taking into account the fact that the goat, at the time of feeding, will be on the table. This approach, among other things, makes it easier to milk milk. A person does not need to bend down to the level of a goat's udder.
Do-it-yourself goat feeder assembly is not a complicated process, but it requires attention to detail at all stages of design. The indisputable advantage of this project is its low cost and simplicity of technology.
For how to make do-it-yourself goat feeders, see the next video.