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  • Kendra R. Shatswell

Goat Feeders - Free-Standing Troughs

Over the past few years, I’ve scoured the internet for goat equipment. I’ve scored several wonderful items second-hand, including a few different styles of free-standing goat feeders. No local farm supplies store sells these and ordering them new is pricy. I like them all and think they all work well, but each style has its pros and cons.

These are all made of various types of metal, making them long-lasting. Obviously, some of mine are older than others and need a bit of TLC. I hope to get a few of them sandblasted and re-finished. All of these have nice smooth edges, which is very important to me - I don't need to stitch up any goats!

The sturdiest design is the triangle-shaped troughs. It is an incredibly stable design that makes it very hard for goats to push these over. I accidentally backed my mule tire right up the leg of one of these, and it was so strong it acted as a ramp…I about tipped my mule over but my trough was just fine.

On the downside, these troughs with the deep V design make it a harder for small goats to reach the feed. This style feeders works better for large kids or adults. Note that my animals are typically mid-sized breeds, not standards. Their weight makes them hard to tip, but also makes them more difficult for one person to move around. I like that the ends are covered enough animals cannot get their noggins through the opening. I do recommend covering the ends of those top bars unless you want to fight waspers!

These economy troughs are very lightweight, which makes them easy to move and makes them the most affordable option at under $200 new for a 9 foot long bunk. (I did buy mine used for less but the seller was happy to give me that info.) But they are also the least stable design of the ones I have – very easy to tip these over.

Since I still have the occasional small kid ignore the top bar on the V style troughs , I did not think troughs with no bar would be such a pain. But those bars prevented lazy goats from jumping OVER the trough instead of going around it – without the bars, there are more dirty hooves in the feed. Highly recommend troughs with a top bar!

One definite plus to these economy feeders though is the drainage hole. This design is my favorite – it has yet to stop up with any debris or fine feed dust that mixed with dew. I wish all the others had slightly larger or more elongated drainage holes like the red ones.

I like this style for larger goats only. The flat bottom makes the feed spread out nicely, which I like. But I do not like this large opening at the end. Goats stick their heads through this or small kids try to crawl through it – accidents waiting to happen, especially if you have a hateful goat in the herd waiting to knock something that can’t get away.

I am happy with the troughs I have, though each style works better in certain circumstances. I am always on the lookout for more! Can you ever have too many troughs?


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