Farmco Hay Feeder
If you have draft horses.. you probably know what destruction looks like and what it costs. We currently own a Percheron Cross and a Brabant (also have owned Quarter Horse, Shetland pony, Tennessee Walker, and purebred Percheron). No horse has come close to the destruction we've experienced with our Brabant, Donner. Don't get me wrong... Donner is a 2000-lb Golden Retriever.. quite literally the sweetest horse I've ever known. But, when Donner has an itch, nothing will stop him. He has wrecked many things but I digress.. this blog is about hay feeders!
First, meet Donner! Donner is one solid horse.. he rides and drives, and has taught me much about the art of driving (and harnessing). He has a sweet, playful and curious disposition.. you cannot help but love this guy.
But.. Donner had issues with his legs (scratches) when he was purchased. This condition is the main reason why he's been very destructive.. just trying to get some relief (after 3 years of trying different treatments, we believe we've found the answer as he's not had an outbreak for 7+ months.. but that is for another blog entry). However, he has other itchy places too... his neck, face, mane, tail, wherever he feels the need.. things in his path need to take cover, quickly.
Sometimes he just wants to find an easier way to access the hay in the feeder and uses his strength to simply tip over the feeder.
Our Hay Feeder Graveyard
Literally, we have a "hay feeder graveyard". These are all outdoor hay feeders that didn't survive 'The Donner'. Some steel or a heavy metal, one aluminum, all nice.. until Donner has an itch to rub.. or feels like tipping it over or sitting on it (you've now seen the proof).
Ahhh.. You've Arrived! Please enter into our hay feeder graveyard...
We've had some 2-horse and 4-horse hay feeders.. some very heavy, some lighter for easier moving. We've used auger-style anchors and chains to secure them to the ground (which worked for several months one year which only allowed other parts of the feeder to give way).
Here (above) was one of the lighter ones.. aluminum which was nice to move around. A Priefert that we payed a premium for.. it lasted the least amount of time with The Donner (he prefers this one to sit on).
(Above) This larger hay feeder lasted the longest (with other horses), but once Donner came, it's demise was imminent. The feeder could have a new life or be repurposed by a welder, but just was no longer safe to have in the paddock for the horses.
Enter... Farmco Hay Feeders
After a significant amount of soul searching (round bales? feed on ground? sell the horse?) and 'google' searching hayfeeders, we found Farmco Hay Feeders. Now, let me say.. it took a long time to decide on purchasing one of these bad boys because they are not cheap. But, the ole saying "you get what you pay for" is true in this case. These things are BEASTS.
While this feeder is built for up to 6 horses.. it works fantastic with our two big boys and could probably accommodate 3-4 draft horses just fine. The folks at Farmco have thought of every single detail when designing this hay feeder.. have the feeling someone at Farmco also had a 'heavy trickster' like our Donner!
First of all, it's heavy, weighing in over 500 lbs! It is definitely built to withstand what a draft horse can do to it. We've only had the hay feeder for about a week now so if something goes totally amiss, we'll be sure to update this blog. But for now, I cannot imagine 'The Donner' could break it (although he is full of surprises). It was delivered in multiple parts/boxes, so "some assembly is required".. but it was completed with barely two people and a tractor.
One of the cool things about this is the side door opening, making the feeding process very easy and efficient. One of the side doors opens with a latch that is on the inside (so horses don't play with it, break it or hurt themselves), also the latch is protected from freezing rain or ice which Michigan is known to have on occasion. Once the door is open, it feels so big on the inside that you kind of just want to crawl in!
You simply stick your hand through this hole and grab the little ring and pull down. Once you pull down, the spring-loaded pin at the top comes out of the hole and the door opens. I haven't quite figured out how to open this while carrying several flakes of hay yet.. so for now, it's a two-handed operation. But.. it is very easy to open and shut. You can feel the quality in this feeder.
The roof will withstand rain, snow and ice, protecting the hay from the elements. In addition, a horse cannot get his head up to pull out flakes of hay from the top of the feeder (a trick our Percheron Cross performed on a regular basis). Once the door is open, I just "fluff out the hay flakes" so an entire flake cannot be dragged through the side bars.. it's so easy! There are no sharp edges anywhere and even has a welded ring at the bottom for easy dragging with a tractor if you want to relocate it. Four holes are located in the bottom 'catch tray' for water drainage. It's also a great height (our horses range between 16.2 - 17.1 hands for perspective). The construction and design of this hay feeder is superb.. it feels very wide and balanced (not easily tippable by a draft horse, which would be a concern given it's weight). So far, this hay feeder hasn't moved an inch.
We couldn't be more thrilled with our new hay feeder! Thank you Farmco for making high quality products that are safe for our equine family.
For more information on this Farmco Hay Feeder, please visit their website at Farmco.ag.