The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Livestock => Sheep => Topic started by: Womble on October 18, 2014, 10:04:03 am

Title: Sheep Troughs and hay feeders?
Post by: Womble on October 18, 2014, 10:04:03 am

Folks - I need your help!  :thumbsup:

We inherited a rickety old sheep trough when we bought this place. It had nails sticking out all over, and was generally in a bad way, so I repaired it and have been using it thus far:


However, two things are apparent:

1) It's not long enough for the Manxs to get a proper look in, despite their horns!
2) The right angle at the bottom is too sharp, and they spend ages chasing bits into the corners before giving up in disgust! It also collects rainwater and is pretty difficult to clean out.

So I bought some decking planks to make a new one, but then had a nasty thought about the fact the wood is tanalised. I know the use of arsenic has now been banned as a wood preservative, but I found out that it has been replaced by various copper compounds - i.e. not something I want the sheep licking on a regular basis!!

I just wondered what everybody else uses, and what works well? In particular, what can I make myself easily / cheaply?  (the same goes for hay feeders, as I need to make a couple of them for the winter too).

Thanks folks!  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Sheep Troughs and hay feeders?
Post by: Fleecewife on October 18, 2014, 11:34:17 am

Wooden sheep troughs are very cheap to buy.  They have drainage holes at each end, which can be cleared with a prod if they block up.  I don't know if they're tantalised or not - perhaps some are and some aren't.   We tried making troughs but they were never tough enough and didn't stand up to being smacked and shoved by the sheep.  The only bought ones I've seen have the bottom angle at 90 deg.  Our hens polish off anything that's left.
We use several in a long row for in-lamb ewes to give them plenty of space.
For untreated wood, don't leave them out all year, and turn them upside down between feeds.

The only time we built a hay heck, that too was not robust enough.  We bought a couple of the long metal ones very reasonably at a farm sale, then bought two smaller ones which costa bomba.  They all have wheels so can be towed about to resite.
Title: Re: Sheep Troughs and hay feeders?
Post by: shep53 on October 18, 2014, 01:10:54 pm
 If you look on ebay you will see metal  and plastic troughs  , seen large drainage pipes cut in half being used ,  also wooden troughs with a flat base just a long box with legs ,  maybe give you some ideas . :raining:
Title: Re: Sheep Troughs and hay feeders?
Post by: shygirl on October 18, 2014, 02:25:47 pm
we inherited sheep trough like yours, but invested in some short and long plastic trough. they are in excellent condition after 10 yrs, even after being outside in all weathers. very strong and very easy to clean. we use them for feed but also for water as they can hold a good amount of water. wev used them for all species from sheep to cattle to pigs.
Title: Re: Sheep Troughs and hay feeders?
Post by: Rosemary on October 18, 2014, 04:48:02 pm
We have black plastic ones, about 6ft long. Like these (

We've had ours for five years or more and they look no different now than they did new. Easy to move and clean.

For hay we use these ( Not cheap, but we use them for cattle, sheep and ponies. Again, easy to move, keep the hay dry. One drawback is that the mesh is quite big and the sheep do waste a lot. PLanning to put weld mesh in this year to try and stop that.
Title: Re: Sheep Troughs and hay feeders?
Post by: Bionic on October 18, 2014, 05:20:16 pm
We use the large dranage pipes cut in half. OH has drilled some holes in and put feet on, well a wooden plank near each end, to keep it stable. It works very well for us and the sheep come running when they see me anywhere near it.
Title: Re: Sheep Troughs and hay feeders?
Post by: marka on October 18, 2014, 07:48:08 pm
 We bought a galvanised one but its too heavy really to move around so we ended up using some oblong garden planters.
Other alternatives are the big blue barrels cut in half.
For a hay feeder, we use the frame of an IBC tank - works well, easy enough to move around but also heavy enough with the base that the sheep dont move it too far when theyre being too eager.

Some food for thought.....

Title: Re: Sheep Troughs and hay feeders?
Post by: farmvet on October 18, 2014, 11:41:17 pm
Looking at the grass in that photo I don't think you need to worry about feeding anything!
Weld mesh or rylock tied on the fence makes a cheap hay feeder
Title: Re: Sheep Troughs and hay feeders?
Post by: Bramblecot on October 18, 2014, 11:48:51 pm
For just a few sheep we use several black rubber trugs - 4 or 5 sheep can feed at a time, they wash out easily, hold water, and will stand being stomped on.  A bonus is the lambs like to lie in them in Spring ;D :hugsheep: .  And they fit in the car foot well, and stack easily...
And  (look away if you have a sensitive nature) if a sheep does get a horrid mucky bum , you can sit her in a trug of water with no chance of damage to sheep or trug :thumbsup: