Saturday, December 5, 2015

little roundtop

Back in October, I decided to put up a small roundtop shelter for winter hay storage. Not a big building project; a simple kit that comes in a box. Very popular in these parts.

The Little Green Sportswagon as rolling workbench.

Just to give you a frame of reference, here are five good-sized bales. Right now my little herd eats about one of these bales every day; they'll need more in winter. Bales vary in size and weight, depending on the plants, the time of harvest, the weather, and the baler. Lighter bales are easier for me to handle, but then of course more bales are needed. The goats care about the poundage they get to eat, not the number of bales I have to drag around. They are funny that way.

The pallet and a vapor barrier (here, a tastefully-arranged assemblage of overlapping feed bags) are necessary to prevent mold forming on the bottom bales. Mold is the very devil. Moldy/dusty hay becomes a very expensive mudhole-filler.


The roundtop turned into not my simplest project.

First, there was a backorder.
Then, there was a dead birch to be taken down.
Finally, there was the 12x20' frame to assemble and anchor.
The whole process took a lot of patience. And expense.
And most of November,
during which I was very anxious to Get The Hay. 


I'm still not sure it's properly "up."
But it's as "up" as it's likely to be this year.
And I've been working on the interior:

Isn't this a beautiful sight?
There are about 60 bales in there now.
I'll be comfortable with 120 more.

Even though I supplement the goats' feed with a bagged forage product and oats, good hay is an important mainstay of their diet. If I can fill the little roundtop with enough hay for several months, I won't have to scramble to bring home a few more bales every week, all winter long. It will be a load off my mind.

(Was that the most appropriate use of that expression ever?)

I had hoped to buy all I need from my neighbor, but he had a bad year and has already sold me all that he could without cutting off his other customers. My original HayMan, who is a good friend but lives quite a distance from here, was sold out before he had even made his second cutting last summer. I have two back-up suppliers, but the quality is not great...which will mean more waste, right from the get-go.
And as you know...
Goats do not need any help generating wasted hay.

See all that beautiful clean hay on the floor?
It was in the feeder two minutes ago.
Then LeShodu pulled it out, bit by bit.
Now she considers it inedible.
Because It Touched The Floor.

I'll have to get busy this weekend, making calls.
Hay farmers are the most popular people I know.

Flashback from last Winter: Meals on Wheels Boots
One meal for two goats in a separate paddock.
Sometimes a luncheon hamper is easier than dragging a sled.

Happy Saturday, everyone!
May your hay never touch the floor.


  1. Hope your winter is not too hard or long this year, I'm assuming the prices are escalating because of the shortage. Is LeShodu just that picky or all you kiddos that way? I think I would have to have a good talk with them.

    1. Goats in general are very picky about food and water, contrary to their public image. And I don't know of any animal that wastes hay like a goat wastes hay. They reach for a big mouthful, chew up the part that is actually in their mouth, and drop the rest. Or they rifle through the whole flake or pile and pull out the Best Blade Only, scattering the rest. Or they walk through it. I have quite a few experimental feeders going at any given time...some have helped. Some. Any suggestions? I'm all ears :)

  2. Oh, I feel your pain with "wasted hay on the floor". S'funny, must be an animal things, because the alpacas have the same objection...

    Love the round top, btw.

    1. Here's hoping it holds up to snowload.

  3. Guinea pigs are the same way! Occasionally I'll try moving the discarded hay to a different spot to see if it becomes more enticing... but it usually doesn't work. It can be hard to find good hay - good luck with your searching! Your round top looks great, and it will be such a relief to have a supply on hand.

    1. You're right, finding good hay is always a challenge. And then keeping it from rotting. Or spontaneously combusting and setting your barn on fire. Hay is tricky stuff!

  4. My only experience with hay eaters is horses, and the horses I know will eat the Hay that did Touch the Ground. It must be very frustrating for you!

    I hope you find a good hay seller soon! And, btw, I looked at those kinds of shelters to use as a greenhouse last year - I'm still considering it...

    1. Yes, horses are my biggest reference point and a hungry horse will find every escaped wisp and eat it up. A goat might nose through fallen hay and nibble a blade here and there, but for the most part will stand IN the "ruined" hay and lose weight before your very eyes.
      I'll let you know how the roundtop handles snow. A shepherd in VT uses one for a livestock shelter and she advises me to remove any snowfall of more than 4 inches. so it may be like my little goat Bungalows, but on a larger scale.

  5. Oh dear, poor you. You work so hard, looking after all your family of goats. wouldn't it nice if someone came along with a load of hay for you.

    1. Well, my birthday is coming up next week... ;)

  6. Glad your winter work is being made easier.
    Maybe goats are taking the top layer off for the floor because another goat ate there? :)

    1. LOL! You may well be onto something there. You should see the reaction when I offer a goat a carrot penny that has been touched by the nose of another goat!

  7. Well I learned something today (once again). I did not realize that goats were such picky eaters. Of course they are often depicted eating tin cans - which leads the uneducated to believe that they will eat pretty much anything. Good luck with the hay hunt!

    1. Goats are very curious, and they explore mostly with their mouths, so they "taste" lots of things - I wonder if that is how they got that reputation for eating "anything." And some individual goats are "mouthier" than others, and will continue to nibble on things the way baby goats will, even as adults. Tsuga and Campion are both like that...I often fee a tug on my coat when I'm working in the paddocks, and I know most likely one of those two, or one of the kids, is behind me, nibbling at the hem of my coat. In a friendly way.
      Maybe there IS a very occasional crazy goat that really will "eat anything"...but I've never heard of one, and thank goodness I don't own one! :)

  8. I bet your little hay-house smells divine!

  9. I expect you already gave them the starving goats in China speech, when they decline to eat the fallen hay? with the same results that speech always has.

  10. Your roundtop hay shelter looks fantastic compared to mine! But it is convenient.

    My girls are currently on strike. I have homegrown hay full of weeds and lovely things to eat, and I have a purchased round bale of plain old grass. The homegrown is doled out to make it last while I pile on the baled stuff. The do not like the baled hay! They all stand there and stare at me until I bring a bit of the homegrown. They devour this in no time and later nibble away at the other. The boys, on the other hand, don't know any better and simply eat what's put in their hay feeder.

  11. Great solution to storing the hay in the shelter. Your goats are very pampered! Our goats (and horse) had all their hay thrown on the stall floor. We never used feed bins, except for their oats. When they were outside, they foraged for themselves through all seasons and all weathers.

    1. My goats would be VERY happy if they could forage all year round! So would I. And I wouldn't have to feed hay nearly as much. Unfortunately, I don't have enough land for the forage to support the goats. My original plan was to buy a larger property long before now, but circumstances changed.

    2. Forgive me, I forgot you were more in the woods there. I can see now that the only stuff they would find under snow would be leaves.

  12. Wow - I learned something today. Goats seriously won't eat it after it touched the floor? I thought they ate just about everything LOL

  13. I LOVE you and your goats! I also love that roundtop tent thing - somehow I think I need it! ;-) I don't know what for, other than camping, but the open ends would probably not be the wisest...but damn, it's neato! Happy Monday, Quinn! XOXO

  14. Oh my goodness!! What an incredible project!! You are amazing and creative-- this is perfect for your hay storage.. Your goats make me smile-- they have such personality.

    Have the happiest of holidays...

  15. Quinn, I am seriously like the ground barrier...gotta figure out how to get large enough to put under 1100 pound round bales. The other day on fb, someone had half round (bent over) cattle/hog panels with tarps...very similar to your covering. They were using theirs for small animal shelter but it would be fabulous for square hay cover.
    Love the sentiment, may your hay never touch the ground, but let's face it...not happening. Animals, all animals seem to love pulling hay off/out, dropping it on the ground and then saying, "Surely you don't expect me to EAT that?!" BRATS! Every single one...goats, sheep, horses, alpacas, cattle...BRATS! lol


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