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Dairy goat farmers get creative

Brenda Miller

Farmers are an inventive lot. The original recyclers—fixing what they have, repurposing items, and sometimes creating something out of nothing.

Here are four creations made by central Minnesota dairy goat producers. These are just a few simple ways to reuse items you may already have or make without spending much money. Click on any image for a larger view.

plastic barrel mounted horizontally on wooden wall with cutouts on top and front side and hay showing through cutouts

Hay feeder for kids

designed by Marty Olson

Create a hay feeder for kids by repurposing a 15 gallon barrel. Cut a large rectangular hole on the top of the barrel and circled holes on one side. Stabilize the feeder on the outward facing side by screwing a 1x2" board cut to the inside length of the barrel, then screw the feeder to a wall using another 1x2" or 2x4" inside the feeder on the opposite side. You could also attach hooks to the feeder and hang the feeder on a gate.

large bale of hay inside wire fencing holder with goats eating hay from the openings

Square bale feeder

designed by Marty Olson

Repurpose a cattle panel and angle iron to make a big square bale hay feeder. Cut the cattle panel to the dimensions of your square bale and weld on to the angle iron to make the corners. You can move this manually or lift it with a skid loader.

wire rack holds nipples, bottles and a plastic pitcher on rack tines

Bottle and nipple holder

designed by a local Amish producer

Create two bottle and nipple holders from one oven rack. Cut an oven rack in half down the center, bend the tines on each end into a “J” shape, and screw to the wall. Each tine can hold either a bottle or nipple, or another piece of feeding or cleaning equipment.

plastic bucket with nipples attached by gaskets on two sides

Mob feeder for kids

designed by a local Amish producer

Build a mob feeder for kids by repurposing pails and adding nipples. Decide how many kids you want to feed out of one bucket, purchase the corresponding amount of nipples with gaskets, cut holes in the bucket and attach the nipple. Make sure your gasket is snug to make a good seal so milk doesn’t leak out. Replace gaskets and nipples as necessary. Make sure to wash and disinfect the feeder after each feeding. Another way to make a mob milk/grain feeder is to cut a PVC pipe in half, add end caps, and attach hooks to hang it on a fence or gate.

September 2017

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