Building a Hay Crib

One of the perks of having a zillion projects going on, is there is always spare lumber lying about. Given the current cost of materials at an arm and half a leg, it’s pretty handy if we can complete a project without making a trip to the hardware store.

While we have much better facilities now for weaning, when it was time to wean the first calf we had born here at Sourwood Hill, our only option was the round pen. Now, the reason that was the only option, was because this so happened to be our convict calf that escaped FREQUENTLY prior to some fencing modifications (https://sourwoodhill.com/2019/09/18/8-days-post-outbreak/). So into the round pen young SirLoin went with a tub of water and a bunch of hay.

It didn’t take long to realize that the hay would be trampled and generally wasted if it wasn’t secured in some fashion, and he was too small to eat an entire round bale during his captivity. So, into the scrap lumber pile I dove.

What I came up with was some old 2x6s from a pool deck demo, and some lovely free recycled 1×4 slats. The only real cost of material were screws and maybe a few nails. Really, if I’m left unsupervised around power tools, I can’t be held accountable for how many screws are used.

First off, Toby and I built a base:

Dimensions were roughly 36×36 if I remember correctly. Note the center beam, it’s important.

Next, came interruptions.

Ok, then it was back to work! Using scrap 1x4s, we made slats for the hay so it wouldn’t pool water but could still hold in the hay. On the outer edges everything was tied in with more 2×6 boards. Told you that center support was important.

This hay crib would be capable of holding at least 2 full square bales in my estimation, though we feed round bales, and you can stuff it full enough to feed a growing calf at least a full day if not two. One thing that is both a blessing and a curse is the weight. It’s about all one person can do to move this about alone, but that also makes it less inviting for a calf to toss about.

Here you can see we also added an overhang to keep rain off the hay. Something even the adult cows don’t get.

All in all, I don’t miss the old set up, much preferring our new round pen. And weaning is easier now with split (hopefully) calf resistant pastures. However, the hay crib is still around and I keep it as insurance again having to confine anyone in a small space that needs hay.

For now, let’s just be grateful haying season is pretty well over and the grass is coming in so well.

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