How to Make a Wooden Hay Feeder for Horses: A Complete Step-by-Step Guide

Horses are majestic creatures that require proper nutrition and care. One essential aspect of their well-being is ensuring they have access to high-quality hay throughout the day.

Wooden hay feeders are an excellent solution to keep the hay clean, reduce wastage, and provide a convenient feeding experience for your equine friends.

By crafting DIY wooden hay feeders, you not only save money but also have the opportunity to personalize them to suit your horse’s specific needs. To embark on this fulfilling diy project, you will need some essential materials. These include:

  • Sturdy wood planks
  • Screws or hay nets
  • Measuring tape
  • Saw
  • Sandpaper
  • Wood preservatives or paint
  • Safety goggles
  • Gloves
  • Round bale, plastic trough, open feeder, barn
  • Clamps and Corner brackets (optional)

Selecting the Right Design and Size

Choosing the right design and size for your wooden hay feeder is crucial to ensure its effectiveness and suitability for your horses. Consider the following factors: How to Make a Wooden Hay Feeder for Horses A Complete Step-by-Step Guide

Horse-specific design

Different horses have different feeding habits and preferences. For example, if you have a larger horse, a taller feeder design might be necessary to accommodate their height. Most horses are slow feeders.

Number of horse feeders and feeding habits

Take into account the number of horses that will be utilizing the hay feeder. If you have multiple horses, a larger feeder with multiple access points might be needed to prevent any potential disputes during feeding time, and the same for a slow feeder.

Optimal dimensions

The dimensions of the diy hay feeder will depend on the size and needs of your horses. Measure the average height and width of your horse’s stall to determine the appropriate size. Generally, a feeder that is around 4 feet in height and 2-3 feet in width tends to work well for most slow feeders.

Gathering the Necessary Tools

Before diving into the diy projects process, ensure you have all the necessary tools like diy kits on hand. This horse feeder is used for feeding hay, wasted hay, small bales, and round bales. The essential tools you will need include:

Measuring tape: For Accurate measurement

Saw: To cut the wooden pieces.

Screws or nails: To assemble the feeder securely.

Sandpaper and pallet wood: To smooth any rough edges.

Wood preservative or paint: To increase its durability and resistance to weathering.

Power drill: For quick and effortless screw insertion.

Safety should always be a top priority. Remember to wear safety goggles and gloves at all times while working with wood. In that area, you also have a hay net, hay bags, feed hay, hay bag, and horse owners beside you as motivation.

Choosing Suitable Wood Materials

Choosing the right wood for your hay feeder is critical to its longevity and safety. Here are some popular wood options along with their pros and cons:

Pinewood: Pine is affordable, readily available, and less durable and may require more frequent maintenance.

Cedar wood: Cedar is known for its natural resistance to decay and insects, making it an excellent choice for outdoor structures. It has an attractive scent, lightweight and expensive.

Oak wood: Oak is a sturdy, expensive, and durable hardwood that is known for its strength and longevity. It can withstand harsh weather conditions.

Regardless of the wood type you choose, ensure it does not contain any toxic chemicals, as horses may ingest small amounts while feeding.

Preparing the Materials for Hay feeders

Now that you have gathered the necessary materials and chosen the type of wood, it’s time to prepare them for construction. Follow these steps to ensure your materials are ready:

Measuring and cutting: Use a measuring tape to accurately measure the dimensions. Mark the measurements on the wooden pieces and use a saw to cut them accordingly.

Sanding and smoothing: After cutting the wooden pieces, use sandpaper to smooth any rough edges or surfaces

Applying preservatives or paint: To enhance the durability of the wood and protect it from weathering, consider applying a wood preservative or paint and let it dry.

Assembling the Horse Hay Feeder Frame

Congratulations! You’ve reached the exciting construction phase of your wooden hay feeders. Follow these steps to assemble the frame:

Use the cut wooden pieces to construct the base of the hay feeder. Ensure that it is sturdy and level, as this will provide a solid foundation for the entire structure. Now attach the vertical supports to the base securely using screws or hay nets.

Consider reinforcing the connections with corner brackets for added stability. To ensure the hay feeder is stable and can withstand the weight of the hay, add additional supports or crossbars as needed. Strengthening the frame will prevent any accidents or tipping while the horses feed.

Adding the Hay Rack

Now that you have the sturdy frame in place, it’s time to add the hay rack. Follow these steps:

Use the remaining wooden pieces to design and construct a hay rack that fits securely on top of the frame.

Ensure there is enough space between the rack slats for the horses to easily access the hay net. Now attach the hay rack to the frame securely, using screws or a hay net.

Then Position the hay rack at a height that is comfortable for the slow feeders horses to reach.

Incorporating Safety Features

Safety should always be a priority when constructing a hay feeder for your horses. Consider these steps to ensure the hay feeders is safe for use:

Adding sturdy corner brackets and reinforcements at key connection points can significantly enhance the overall stability of the hay feeder.

Double-check all surfaces, including the base, vertical supports, and hay rack, to ensure there are no rough edges or splinters Before declaring the project complete, thoroughly inspect the hay feeder to ensure it is stable and secure. Apply gentle pressure to different parts of the structure to test its sturdiness.

In case you found winter, any rain, mud around stalls, chew waste, or any trash, you need to check all the net and tie if any of them is loose before refilling.

Treating the Wood for Durability

To ensure your wooden hay feeder withstands the test of time, it’s important to treat the wood for durability. Consider different treatment options to enhance the wood’s resistance to weather conditions, moisture, and pests.

Pay extra attention to areas that are likely to come into contact with moisture or are susceptible to decay. Allowing sufficient drying time will ensure the treatment is fully absorbed into the wood, providing maximum durability and protection.

Placing and Securing the Hay Nets

Now that your hay feeder is constructed and treated, it’s time to find the perfect spot for it. Consider the following:

Selecting an appropriate location for the hay feeder that is easily accessible to both horses and caretakers to feed hay. Consider anchoring or securing it with heavy-duty straps or ropes to prevent tipping. Must ensure convenient access for both horses and caretakers to feed hay.

Maintaining and Cleaning the Hay Feeder

To ensure the longevity and functionality of your wooden horse feeder, it’s essential to implement regular maintenance and cleaning practices. Follow these steps:

Routinely inspect the hay feeders for any damages, such as loose screws, weakened supports, or signs of wear and tear. Repair any issues promptly to prevent further damage or potential accidents.

Remove hay debris and dust from the feeder regularly to maintain cleanliness. Use a brush or hose to clean the feeder thoroughly, paying attention to hard-to-reach areas.

Develop a maintenance routine that suits your specific hay feeder and horse’s needs. Regularly treat the wood with preservatives or sealants as needed and apply hay nets touch-ups to any damaged areas.

Tips and Tricks for Successful Usage

Now that your wooden hay feeder is in place, here are some useful tips and tricks to make the feeding experience even more successful:

When using the hay feeder for the first time, introduce your horses to it gradually. This will help minimize any potential stress or anxiety associated with the new feeding method.

Keep a close eye on your horses’ hay consumption and adjust the quantities accordingly

Consider additional features like removable hay dividers, adjustable feeding heights, or even a roof for protection from the elements. Tailoring the hay feeder to your horses’ preferences can greatly enhance its functionality and usability.


Crafting a wooden hay feeder for your horses can be a fulfilling and worthwhile endeavor. Not only does it provide numerous benefits, such as reducing hay waste and ensuring a clean feeding environment, but it also allows you to customize the design and size to suit your horses’ specific needs.

In this comprehensive step-by-step guide, we covered various aspects, including selecting the right design and size, gathering the necessary tools, choosing suitable wood materials, and assembling and maintaining the hay feeder.

We encourage you to take on this rewarding project. By crafting a diy hay feeder, you not only save on price but also provide your horses with an efficient and personalized feeding solution.

So grab your tools, select your wood, and embark on this exciting journey of creating a wooden hay feeder that will make mealtime enjoyable for your equine companions.

Also Read: Can Horses Have Honey-A Complete Guide


Can I customize the dimensions of the hay feeder?

Yes, the dimensions can be customized based on the size and needs of your horse feeder. Follow the outlined guidelines and adapt them to suit your specific requirements.

What types of wood are safe for horses?

Safe wood options for horses include untreated pine, cedar, and oak. Ensure the wood does not contain any chemicals or treatments that may be harmful when ingested.

How can I make the hay feeder more weather-resistant?

Applying a wood preservative or sealant can significantly increase the horse feeder’s weather resistance. Regular maintenance, such as reapplying the treatment, can help maintain its durability over time.

Can I build a hay feeder for miniature horses or ponies?

Absolutely! The steps provided in this article can be modified to accommodate the size and needs of miniature horses, ponies, and slow feeders.

How often should I clean the hay feeder?

Regular cleaning is essential to maintain a hygienic feeding environment. Aim for at least once a week, adjusting the frequency based on the level of debris and use.

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