I love to make things. I’m not much good at it usually, but it’s always so very satisfying because no matter how lopsided, fragile, catywompus or even useless the product of my efforts, it always looks like a masterpiece to me, which is really all that matters.
Today I made a sturdy stand for the goats’s hay rack in about two hours, with an optional attached bucket for their loose minerals. It’s catywompus and rather rough around the edges, but it does work, so obviously it’s pure genius. And it will probably not take you as long because chances are you’re much handier than I am. And you have instructions. You’re welcome.
- Two same-sized wooden pallets in good condition
- Inexpensive hanging metal hay rack like this
- Cheap plastic bucket (optional) like you can get at the dollar store
- Two square brackets
- Some screws
- A power drill with a drill bit (slightly smaller than the diameter of your screws) and a screwdriver bit
One: Start by holding the metal rack against your pallets to figure out where it will hang best. Keep in mind the best height for your goats (or ponies or whatever) as well as where the boards are for screwing the rack in place.
Two: If you’re like me, the next thing you will do is to put the pallets together in such a manner that you cannot attach the hay rack in the carefully measured location you had intended. I do not recommend this. Instead, mark the spot with marker or a hole from the drill, and then lay that side of the pallet on the ground.
Two and a half: Place the other pallet perpendicular to the first, all the way at the end. This will be the top of the stand, so make sure you’ve taken into account where you will be hanging the rack before attaching it. Use the square brackets to fasten it in place, so that it is sticking straight up in the air. You may notice that if you press too hard, the brackets will bend. Don’t do that. And don’t worry. Once the stand is in place, the direction of pressure will act to hold it together rather than bend it out of shape. Assuming you haven’t already bent it out of shape. I’m speaking from experience.
Three: Turn your stand upright, being careful not to bend the brackets. Don’t fuss too much if they bend some–it will still be okay. Place it firmly so that it forms a triangle with the ground and climb on it a bit. If you’re having fun and it doesn’t break, then you’re almost done. If, on the other hand, you fall and hurt yourself then you screwed up and I’m sorry. If you prefer, you may enlist nearby children in this task and thereby avoid the possibility of injuring yourself.
Four: Pick up your metal rack and fasten it in place. This will be simple if you followed step two. If not, you will have to either take it apart and start over, or find a different place to attach the hay rack which won’t be aesthetically pleasing, but will still work just fine. I chose the latter.
Five (optional): Drill two holes in a vertical line through one side of your bucket. Choose a good low (but not too low–you don’t want them pooping in it–ew) location for it and screw it in place. This is now an excellent location for the loose minerals that goats need for optimal health (their tongues, unlike deer and cows, are not rough enough to get good nutrition out of traditional salt blocks, and loose minerals are strongly recommended).
Six: Carry rack to where you want to use it and fill with hay and/or minerals.
The stand met immediate approval from my quality control and testing group (aka Quincy and Avery). The bucket is on the opposite side of the rack.
It’s a little heavy and awkward to move around, especially when maneuvering around trees and play equipment, but definitely manageable. For me, the major benefit is that they no longer jump up on the thin metal sides of their shed in order to pull on the rack. The wooden stand is sturdier and even if they do damage it, at least they won’t bring down the entire shelter on their heads. I also expect it will double as play equipment when they are not eating.
A further benefit for me is that in bitter winter weeks I can stack hay bales around the stand and the interior will serve as a warm inner sanctuary for them.
(No children or goats were harmed in the making of this stand. Some trees, however, suffered irreparable injury in the making of the pallets. I had nothing to do with that and consider the use of their carcasses a form of honoring their spirits by ensuring their sacrifice does not go to waste. Several fingers did endure minor scrapes and one back is slightly sore from bending over during construction. If you’d like to make a donation to compensate for their pain and suffering you can’t because I’m not a wimp. Stop reading now.)