DIY Hay Feeder

colorado river toadThis DIY hay feeder project actually began last summer as a toad proofing project. Yes, toad proofing is a real thing. We have enormous Colorado River Toads here – and when I say enormous, I mean toads the size of a dinner plate that could swallow a kitten whole. Although I don’t mind the toads, and in fact, would normally welcome these insect-eating critters, they happen to be highly toxic to dogs. So toxic, a dog can die just from licking one of these puppies.

It turns out toads are fabulous toys according to George, so after a very close call involving a baby toad and our bouncing great dane, I needed to find a way to toad proof the backyard. Enter hardware cloth. Our backyard is wrapped up nice and tight from the ground to 24 inches, and so far so good. The toads can live happily in the front yard and pasture, and the dog is safe in the backyard.

I stuffed some hay between the hardware cloth toad-proofing and the pasture fence one day when I was in a hurry and didn’t have time to fuss with the hay net. As it turns out, hardware cloth works really well wired up along a fence to hold your hay up off the ground, keeping it nice and clean, and spread out so there’s plenty of room for everyone to eat.

Here’s a quick tutorial on how you can make your own DIY hay feeder using supplies you probably already have around the house. If you need to purchase the hardware cloth and wire, I picked up a small roll of 24″ hardware cloth and wire for under $15 total. You can also tie it up with zip ties. This 3ft wide hay feeder took about 10 minutes to make!

diy hay feeder | horseshoe farm
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My Homemade Goat Milk Machine

There are a ton of tutorials out there with great instructions on making a homemade goat milking machine. I won’t get into all of the details since all of that is already available, but I’d like to share some photos of my homemade goat milk machine along with some tips on problem-solving the issues I had and what I would do differently.

First things first. I based my milk machine on the one in this very nice video tutorial on youtube.  Thank you, goatfinder. This was super helpful.

The basic idea here is to create low pressure in the jar by sucking air out of it through one tube, forcing the milk to flow into the jar through another tube. The air line side and the milk side are completely separate – the milk never goes through the pump, and never touches the air line side [Unless you’re like me and accidentally fill the jar to the tippy top, causing milk to flow into the airline side creating a huge mess. But I digress…]

My changes to the milk machine in the video include adding dual cups to milk both sides of the udder at once and a battery powered pump. I also used different connectors because I couldn’t find the ones in the video. Here’s a quick sketch of how this thing is put together:

how to make a goat milk machine


I believe my total cost came in at under $75. Here’s a rough list of the materials I used and estimates on my costs… [Read more…]


DIY Misting System

The temperature is supposed to be somewhere around 119 degrees tomorrow, and about the same all weekend. Ugh. [Read more…]


How to tell if your chicken eggs are fertilized

If you’re thinking about hatching some chicks from your backyard hens, you’ll need to make sure your eggs are fertile before popping them into the incubator. So how can you tell if your eggs are fertilized? Take a look at the yolks [Read more…]


How to turn an old pair of jeans into a cute maxi skirt.

maxi skirt
I love maxi skirts. They’re comfortable, you look put together without trying too hard, and best of all, you don’t have to worry about being lady-like while wearing them – you can go about your farm chores (or go bowling…) without flashing anyone. I’ve had a hard time finding a cute casual one, so I decided to turn this pair of jeans into a super cute maxi skirt. My sewing skills are not at all great, so pretty much anyone that can turn on a sewing machine can do it. Here’s the tutorial. [Read more…]


Doggie Doorbell

Both of our previous homes had doggie doors. Really big doggie doors – large enough for our mastiff, great danes and stray elephants to climb through. When we moved to acreage, we decided to forego the doogie door. A pack of wild coyotes visits our property frequently, along with a number of feral cats, and we really didn’t want to come home to find them in our living room. [Read more…]


Homemade Fly / Mosquito Spray

So I went to the store to pick up some spray to keep the flies off the horse. They had a few options, each of which contained some sort of “DO NOT ALLOW CONTACT WITH SKIN…WASH OFF IMMEDIATELY” warning. I opted not to buy any of these. Why would I spray something all over my horse if I have to wash it off immediately if I get it on me?? [Read more…]