Thursday, September 28

Hay Bunk


I'm getting much better at being handy with the tools. Last weekend Jennifer and I were cleaning and straightening around the farm when she asked me if I thought I could build a hay bunk. I thought about and decided we could probably get it done in a day. She said, "how about today?" and away we went. I didn't have to Google to look at other hay bunks and I didn't even sketch it out on paper or in 3-d software. "I'd just eye-ball it" our farmer neighbor told me once, so that's what we did.

We had previously sectioned-off part of the hay barn so the horses can use some of it for shelter. This section is also where we feed the two Percheron horses. There's a large feed bucket tied to each corner. One problem that we've been seeing is the older of the two, Des, pushes the younger filly, Eve, out of the way and generally shoves her around. During the last rain storm Eve stood out in the rain because Des wouldn't let her in the barn.

So we decided the hay bunk could help solve this problem. I built the bunk to span between two posts in the barn (including the new post I recently installed) which created two stalls separated by a self-feeding hay bunk. Now Eve can eat and take shelter without Des running her off and we have the added benefit of less wasted hay. Before we were simply tossing flakes of hay over the fence (grain was in the feed buckets).

I built it using wood just lying around. I sandwiched two 2x8 boards the length of the span between the two barn posts to use as a beam. I mounted this to each post a couple feet off the ground. I somehow managed to get it unlevel despite my use of a line-level. By the time I noticed I had already built most of the structure and decided the horses won't care plus the slight fall will drain any water that collects in the trough area (see how nicely I rationalized my mistake).

I mounted a 2x10 flat on top of the beam and added 2x8's to each side to make the trough. Up another 3 feet or so along each post I placed a horizontal 2x8 about 3 feet long on each post to form a "T" shape with the post. The ends of the "T" on each posts I connected with 2x8's the entire length of the stall. Along this span I put several short 2x8's connecting the ends of the "T" to the 2x10 attached to the beam. I left 8 inches or so between each rib of the now "V" shaped structure for the horses to pull hay through.

The following day the horses made short work of my proud hay bunk, knocking loose several of the ribs. While the nail gun made building the structure extremely quick nails were probably not the correct fastener to use in this case. I went back later and firmed the structured up with 3" screws. I've learned that any time the horse can put outward pressure on a fastener I better use screws.

I'll probably come back and edit this post with a picture as soon as I take one.

[picture added on 10/3/2006]

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8 comments:

Hal at Ranch Ramblins said...

I'm continually amazed at how much destruction a horse can wreak around the farm. We had a visiting young filly's halter get caught up on a 2-foot bury freeze-proof hydrant. Before we could run over to calm her, she had torn the hydrant, along with several feet of pipe, out of the ground.

Get used to it - it's part of the fun of owning horses!

pablo said...

I'm eager to see your pix. I'm not sure I can adequately visualize what you've built (not being a horsey person)

meghann said...

that's funny that you mention how horses can destroy things. We built 5 stalls in our paddock and then when the horses would pick a stall to eat at, I would dump the grain in a wooden tray/box at the front. After all the horses were eating, I would go behind and put in a metal bar behind them. This kept the older mares from running away the babies to get their grain, and then when my mom would get up she would let them out and handle each horse. I had forgotten about that until I read your post, weird.

Ed Abbey said...

When my grandpa had horses, the only thing that I can remember is that they ate any readily available wood. They ate the fences and they ate the siding on the barn until both were replaced with metal.

I rode a horse once for about five seconds before somehow I ended up flat on my back staring up at a horse that looked very much like it was laughing at me. That was the last time I ever rode a horse.

Duane Keys said...

Hal, I laughed out loud at the image of a horse destroying the plumbing! It doesn't surprise me one bit though!

Duane Keys said...

Pablo, I hope you've got a better visual now! :)

Ed, what you're describing is "cribbing." Some horses are worse than others, but it happens when they're bored I've learned. So far so good on that front for us.

Ed Abbey said...

One picture is worth a thousand words!

tbirdonawire said...

Great job! I had a horse for awhile, but ended up selling it. We boarded my sister-in-law's horse for awhile too, but she was in the field with the cows and it wasn't working out too well. She was bullying the cows, imagine that! She once kicked a pregnant cow and my dear hubby said, that's enough of that and requested that she find somewhere else. Haven't had one since and that's been about 8 years. Sometimes I miss having a horse...