HOW TO BUILD A HAY FEEDER
You wll need 4 Boards (2 - 2”x8”x8’ long and 2 - 2”x6”x8’ long and 3” drywall screws and a cordless screw driver/drill.
For a paddock feeder, we cut 2 feet off of each board leaving them into six foot sections. For a pasture feeder, we cut the boards in half leaving them 4 feet long.
Taking the 8” wide boards, screw one 2’ section to each 6’ section at a 90 degree angle. Do the same for the 6: wide boards. When finished you will have four “L” shaped sections. (Note: for the pasture feeder use all 4’ boards.)
How to Build The Hay Feeder Container:
Unlike building the box, the hay feeder container must fit tightly enough inside the box so that the alpacas cannot pull hay out of it. To determine this, you will need to measure the inside dimensions (length and width) of your feeder box and subtract ½” from them.
The hay container is composed to two parts: the frame and the moveable tubes. The frame holds everything together. I used plain old 1”x2” furring strips for this. You will need four 8’ long pieces.
The tubes are what prevents the alpacas from pulling more than a mouthful of hay out of the feeder at one time. They are made of ½” PVC pipe material and you will need 32 total feet for one hay container.
Construction of the Frame:
Cut the furring strips to the longer size. Cut the needed furring strips and lay the cut pieces together to form the finished frame on a flat surface with the longer pieces overlapping the shorter ones (sketch B) and screw it together at the corners using 1 1/2" drywall screws.
Test your frame to insure that it will fit snuggly inside the box. Make any adjustments that are necessary.
Now you are ready to construct the inner frame. Lay the outer frame, still loosely assembled, on a flat surface. Measure the inside of the outer frame and cut 4 furring strips (two long and two short) which will fit tightly in this space. When you are done, one frame will fit inside of the other.
Take the longer furring strips of the inner frame and lay them side-by-side on a flat surface. Starting at one end, mark 4” intervals along the strips; this will be the location of your pipes.
Once you have your final spacing on one strip, copy these marks to the other long strip.
Drill holes in the center of both furring strips at each mark. These holes should go all the way through the strip. You now have two lengths of wood with about 16 holes drilled along their lengths at about 4” intervals.
Now measure the inside of the shorter leg of the outer frame. Subtract ¼” from this number and this will be the length of your pipes.
Take the ½” PVC pipe and cut off the same number of pieces as you drilled holes in the above mentioned step. Clean any burrs off these cut pipes.
Now, you are ready to assemble everything. Start with the outer frame laying on a flat surface. Next lay one of the furring strips with the drilled holes inside the bottom of the outer frame. Now insert the cut pipes into the holes in this strip.
Now comes the finessing part. Taking the other furring strip with the holes, begin fitting the other ends of the pipes into it. You will have to work your way down the length of the strip until you
have all the pipes in place. Once this is done, fit this piece of wood inside the outer frame and against the top of the frame.
Finally, take the two shorter lengths of the inner frame and fit them inside the outer frame at each edge. When you are done, your assembly should look like sketch A. Test the pipes by twisting them by hand. They should all turn freely.
Now you have to tie everything together. For this you will need to go back to Lowe’s and purchase four 2” corner brackets with pre-drilled holes. These are metal “L” shaped brackets which will add strength to the corners of your frame. See sketch B.
With the assembly still lying on a flat surface, place one of the corner brackets in each corner and screw them into place. Use screws which are long enough to penetrate through the inner frame and into the outer frame, but do not stick out the other side.
Finally, install other screws at random locations along all sides of the frame to securely tie the inner and outer frames together. See sketch B.
Your frame assembly should now be fairly rigid. Place it inside of your feeder box for a final fit.
It should fit well and be able to be removed easily.